Mickey Mousecapade
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • NES
  • Developer:
    • Hudson
  • Publishers:
    • JP Hudson
    • US Capcom
  • Released:
    • JP 03/06/1987
    • US October 1988
Score: 55%

This review was published on 02/24/2017.

Mickey Mousecapade, known simply as Mickey Mouse in Japan, is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Hudson Soft for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom. It was originally published by Hudson in Japan on March 6, 1987, and Capcom in North America in October 1988. Disney licensed Capcom, the company responsible for Mega Man, to make a bunch of games on the NES based on their fictional characters, and Mickey Mousecapade is the first one. Despite that, Capcom didn't actually develop the game, instead outsourcing development to Hudson, the company responsible for Bomberman. Capcom did later develop most of the other Disney games on the NES, however. Most of the Capcom developed Disney games, such as the ever popular DuckTales, are really good. Sadly, Mickey Mousecapade is as far removed from "really good" as possible, entering into the "really bad" territory. This is one of those games that's best left forgotten.

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You take control of Mickey Mouse as he makes his way across many dangerous areas to save what the North American manual refers to as a "mysterious friend." To control Mickey, you simply press left or right on the d-pad to walk in those directions, up or down to climb up or down ladders, and the A button to jump. For some reason, you can't jump while standing near a ladder, which is annoying. You know what else is annoying? The fact you can't attack enemies until you find a special item in the first stage. Granted, it doesn't take long to find, and you keep it once you do, but it's stupid that you don't start out with such a basic ability. Once you have the item, which is a star, you'll be able to throw stars by pressing the B button, and these can damage enemies. The controls aren't horrible, but they're kind of unresponsive.

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Joining Mickey on his adventure is his girlfriend, Minnie Mouse. She will automatically follow Mickey around, mirroring his movements. Sadly, a second player can't control her; this is strictly a one player game. While Minnie can't be harmed by enemies, she still dies to bottomless pits, and if she does, Mickey dies with her. This becomes incredibly frustrating in stages with plenty of pits, like stage two. Further, you can't exit a screen unless Minnie is right behind Mickey. If the two ever get separated, you'll have to go back to get Minnie before you can leave the current area. Worse, sometimes you might accidentally reveal an enemy that'll kidnap Minnie. If that happens, you'll have to search the entire stage for a hidden key that'll transport you to a bonus game for a chance to win her back. In the bonus game, you're in a room with a bunch of eerie statues, and you must touch the correct one to get Minnie. There's no way to tell which one is correct, and if you get it wrong, you'll have to find another bonus room to try again. Since you can't complete stages without Minnie, you'll just have to put up with this nonsense. It's madness.

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In order for Minnie to not be a useless sack of garbage, you need to get the second star item, which is also located in the first stage, but getting to it takes longer. However, if you complete the stage without it, Minnie will remain unarmed for the entire rest of the game, forever rendering her deadweight. The fact that this is possible is bad design. Speaking of bad design, Minnie can surprisingly cheese some of the bosses and enemies when she's armed. To do this, you make her climb up a ladder to a higher area whilst keeping Mickey on the ground, then attack with Mickey to make her attack on the upper level. Provided there are no enemies on the lower level, this will keep Mickey out of harm's way while Minnie wrecks havoc on the upper level, and since she's impervious to enemies, nothing can stop her. This exploit is particularly effective on some of the bosses. You can't do this in stages that are mostly flat, but it's still bad design that such an exploit is possible.

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Five stages exist in this game and they include the "Fun House," an ocean, the woods, a pirate ship, and a castle. While the stages are tackled in a linear order, most of them are slightly nonlinear in design. However, they're all annoying. For example, after you beat the boss and get the key in the first stage, you have to go all the way back to the beginning to finish it. In the woods, you're forced to deal with a monotonous maze of doors. The only indication that you're going the right way is that the seasons will change, but if you take a wrong turn somewhere, you'll be taken back to the beginning of the whole maze. To make matters worse, some of the doors are invisible and won't appear until you shoot them a bunch. The pirate ship is the shortest and most linear stage in the game, but it's also the most unfair. It's almost impossible to avoid taking damage from the swarms of enemies here and the boss that throws out an endless stream of projectiles. Exploiting Minnie is pretty much required to beat the pirate ship.

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There are some differences between the Japanese and North American versions of the game. Many of the enemies were changed between versions, like the Witch Hazel boss at the end of stage one in the North American version was originally the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland in the Japanese release. Another such example is the final boss, which was originally the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland in the Japanese version, but was changed into Maleficent in the North American release. A few power-up items also went through visual alterations, and Mickey originally shot pellets in the Japanese version instead of stars. Stage names were also altered between releases, like the Fun House was originally known as the Little House. The Japanese version also made it abundantly clear that you're trying to save Alice from Alice in Wonderland, but the North American version keeps it a secret until the end. Either way, the North American version is better, if only for being easier due to the bigger life bar.

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This is a good example of a bad game. While the graphics aren't bad for the time, everything else is. The controls are unresponsive, the stages are all extremely annoying, and having to babysit Minnie throughout the whole thing is a nightmare. The only way to beat the game legitimately is to use some illegitimate exploits, which is simply bad design. No matter how you look at it, this game just isn't fun to play. Avoid playing Mickey Mousecapade at all costs. It's bad for your health.

Word Count: 1,159

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