Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Developer:
    • Traveller's Tales
  • Publishers:
    • Sony Imagesoft
    • JP Capcom (SNES)
    • JP Sega (Genesis)
    • SCEE (PS1)
  • Released:
    SNES
    • US 10/01/1994
    • JP 03/31/1995
    • UK 04/01/1995
    Genesis
    • US November 1994
    • UK November 1994
    • JP 03/31/1995
    SCD
    • US November 1994
    • UK 1995
    PS1
    • UK 03/01/1996
Score: 75%

This review was published on 04/30/2017.

Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Traveller's Tales for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, and Sony PlayStation. It was released for the SNES in North America on October 1, 1994, Japan on March 31, 1995, and Europe on April 1, 1995. North America and Europe got the Genesis version of the game in November 1994, and Japan got it on March 31, 1995. The Sega CD version came out in North America in November 1994 and Europe in 1995. Later, the PlayStation version was exclusively released in Europe on March 1, 1996, under the title of Mickey's Wild Adventure. Sony Imagesoft published Mickey Mania in most territories, though Japan had the SNES and Mega Drive versions of the game published by Capcom and Sega, respectively. Finally, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe published Mickey's Wild Adventure for the PlayStation. With all that out of the way, it's now time to get the review underway. This game is a visual masterpiece, but its game play pales in comparison to the Disney games created by Capcom and Sega. Read on to find out why.

Image

Disney, the company behind Mickey Mouse, was planning to celebrate Mickey's 65th birthday with the release of Mickey Mania. Unfortunately, the development of the game took longer than expected, so its release had to be postponed to the following year. Despite the delay, the game still celebrates Mickey Mouse's history, and by extension, Disney's history. Basically, the game is a trip down memory lane as Mickey revisits pivotal moments of his past, which all culminates with a confrontation with his arch nemesis, Pete. Along the way, Mickey will meet his past selves, who'll unsurprisingly be quite surprised to see him. Mickey's dog, Pluto, will also occasionally make appearances. Unlike the Kingdom Hearts games that later came out on the PlayStation 2, there's not much of a story to justify any of this. It's just a fun, nostalgic filled romp through Mickey's history. If you're a big fan of Disney's animated works, then there's a lot to like here.

Image

Regardless of what platform you play this game on, it looks fantastic. The backgrounds and foregrounds are extraordinarily detailed, and the lush color palette does a good job of highlighting those details. There are some nifty visual tidbits that give the game personality, too, like how Mickey's health is represented by his hand in the upper left corner of the screen, with each finger being a point of health. Every character sprite is large, highly detailed, and beautifully animated. On that note, by far the most notable thing about the visuals is the extremely fluid animation. Animators from Disney's animation studio in Florida worked together with the game development team to animate these sprites, which certainly explains their outstanding quality. The visual style and smooth animations are reminiscent of Disney's Aladdin on the Genesis, which was developed by Virgin Interactive, and the Earthworm Jim games by Shiny Entertainment. These are some of the best looking graphics that the SNES, Genesis, and Sega CD are capable of outputting. This is especially true of the Genesis version, which is somehow able to stand up to all the other versions in spite of its inferior hardware.

Image

You control Mickey Mouse and only Mickey Mouse for the entirety of this game. The controls for this game are extremely simple, because there's not much Mickey can do. He'll mostly be walking around, ducking, and jumping. Similar to a certain Italian plumber, Mickey primarily dispatches his adversaries in this game by simply bopping them on the head with his feet. Some enemies take a single bop, but others will take multiple bops. Alternatively, Mickey can harm enemies from a distance by throwing marbles at them, which is generally much safer than bopping baddies on the head. Plus, some enemies can only be damaged via marbles. However, Mickey initially starts with no marbles and must collect them throughout the game, gathering as much as he can find. If you don't carefully ration the usage of these useful projectiles, you'll lose your marbles. Anyway, the controls are intuitive and precise, but there is one problem. Holding down the jump button causes you to jump repeatedly, so you may end up jumping when you didn't intend to if you accidentally hold the button for too long. This is annoying, to say the least.

Image

Each stage is a direct reference to a classic Mickey Mouse cartoon, starting with the original "Steamboat Willie" from 1928. Other classic Mickey features that are featured in this game are "The Mad Doctor" from 1933, "Moose Hunters" from 1937, "Lonesome Ghosts" also from 1937, "Mickey and the Beanstalk" from 1947, and "The Prince and the Pauper" from 1990. There's also a hidden bonus stage based on "The Band Concert" feature from 1935. There aren't many stages, but each one is broken up into multiple sections, and some stages are quite lengthy. Every stage attempts to incorporate some elements from the cartoons they're based on into their design. For example, the Steamboat Willie stage begins in black and white like the original cartoon, but progressively fills in with color as you play it. However, aside from the varied visuals, most of the game consists of fairly standard hop and bop action. There's also not a whole lot of depth to the platforming, as you're mostly jumping from platform to platform while avoiding the overabundance of enemies. It's a simple game of survival: avoid touching anything that moves, and a few things that don't move.

Image

To change things up a bit, some stages will change up the action on you. One bit has you riding a wheeled contraption in a segment that scrolls automatically, and you must avoid all kinds of traps like chainsaws along the way. That same stage later has you climbing a rotating tower which further flexes the game's visual muscle. Another stage has a section where Mickey runs away from a wild moose, jumping over rocks and collecting apples to boost his speed. This moose section is presented with a different perspective, featuring Mickey running towards the screen as the moose chases him from behind, and there's a nice visual effect of the ground rolling in a log-like fashion. Some segments even have minor puzzles to solve, like a bit in The Mad Doctor's stage where Mickey has to mix an explosive potion by pushing around a vial and pressing switches to drop liquid chemicals into it. Aside from the occasional puzzles, most of these unique sections are merely excuses to show off more of the game's eye candy, as they don't change up the action by much.

Image

So there are a number of issues with this game, most of which have to do with the poor hit detection. It's really hard to tell where Mickey's hit box begins and ends, especially since it changes quite dramatically during his many animations. If he just so much as grazes most enemies and hazards, he'll sustain damage, and his period of invulnerability after being hurt is rather short. To make matters worse, everything has a massive hit box due to the big sprites, so it often feels like Mickey has no breathing room when traversing his dangerous surroundings. The Mad Doctor's stage accentuates this problem with exploding skeletons whose tiny bones bounce all over the screen, making it almost impossible to get past these guys without taking damage. Strangely, collectibles suffer from the opposite problem, wherein you have to be practically inside of them in order to actually collect them. Bopping enemies on the head can be similarly finicky, as their hit boxes seem more forgiving than your own. All of this and the irritating stage design results in a game that's incredibly frustrating to play.

Image

While the game itself is mostly the same across all platforms, each version does differ on the technical side of things. Oddly enough, the SNES version is the worst one, because while it sports a better color palette than the Genesis and Sega CD versions, it removes a lot of content and special effects from the game. These omissions include the film effect from the beginning of the Steamboat Willie stage, the spiral tower segment from The Mad Doctor stage, all of The Band Concert stage, and various other minor things, like Pluto inside the Lonesome Ghosts stage. The music and sound effects are also lacking when compared to the Genesis version, which is strange, because the SNES is supposed to have a better sound chip. On top of all that, the SNES version even has load times despite being on a cartridge. On the flipside, the SNES version does use the system's Mode-7 feature to make the moose chase segment look better, plus it has actual transparency effects. These benefits aren't enough to make up for all the removed content, though.

Image

For the most part, the Sega CD version of the game is nearly identical to the Genesis one, but it has completely different audio that takes full advantage of the CD format, complete with a unique soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino, a veteran composer for Disney. There are also far more voice clips from Mickey's late voice actor, Wayne Allwine, and they sound much clearer. The redone audio was further enhanced in the PlayStation version, which also entirely recreates all the graphics. Just about every background, foreground, and sprite has been completely redrawn, taking advantage of the PlayStation's superior hardware to give everything additional color and detail. Plenty of special effects were also added or enhanced, resulting in better transparencies and the like. Actual polygons are used to render the moose chase and tower scaling segments, too. The PlayStation version also adds another chase segment where Mickey runs from Willie the Giant. However, despite the CD quality music that the Sega CD and PlayStation are capable of outputting, the Genesis version still has the best soundtrack. Basically, the game looks the best on the PlayStation, but it sounds the best on the Genesis.

Image

Outside of the technologically impressive graphics, pleasant art style, and stellar animations, there's nothing terribly remarkable about Mickey Mania. It's a platformer, but the platforming tends to be shallow, and the stage design is a little on the bland side. Further, the bad hit detection will make you feel bad. Having said all that, the game is far from bad. It just doesn't quite reach the level of quality established by other classic Disney games on the Genesis, like Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion.

Word Count: 1,770

Tweet