The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publishers:
    • Capcom
    • Brazil Tec Toy (Genesis)
  • Released:
    SNES
    • US October 1994
    • JP 11/11/1994
    • UK 04/27/1995
    Genesis
    • US 06/02/1994
    • JP 12/06/1994
    • Brazil 1994
    GBA
    • JP 07/18/2003
    • US 11/12/2003
    • UK 08/28/2003
Score: 75%

This review was published on 03/02/2017.

The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Capcom. It was originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Famicom in North America in October 1994, Japan on November 11, 1994, and Europe on April 27, 1995. The game was also released for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive in North America on June 2, 1994, and Japan on December 6, 1994. Tec Toy also published the Mega Drive version of the game in South America in 1994. This game is a direct sequel to The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse, which was originally released for the SNES in 1992. Disney previously licensed Capcom, the company behind Mega Man, to create countless games based on its intellectual properties, such as DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, The Little Mermaid, and TaleSpin on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. That partnership continued onto the SNES with The Magical Quest, Disney's Aladdin, and Goof Troop. Many of these games are quite good, and while The Great Circus Mystery is not as good as The Magical Quest, it's still decent.

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Our story begins with Disney's main mascot, Mickey Mouse, deciding to take his girlfriend, Minnie Mouse, out on a date. The two lovebirds take a bus to the circus located at the end of town, where they intend to spend the day. They arrive a little late, and when they get off the bus, they spot their friend, Goofy, who's walking away from the circus with a sad look on his face. Mickey and Minnie ask Goofy what happened, and he tells them that everyone in the circus tents has mysteriously vanished. Goofy thinks he took a wrong turn somewhere and goes off to find a different locale. Meanwhile, Minnie and Mickey opt to take a closer look at the circus tents. On the way there, they make the realization that their dog, Pluto, and other friend, Donald Duck, have also disappeared! Can Mickey and Minnie get to the bottom of this great circus mystery?

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Depending on who you select prior to beginning the game, you control either Mickey or Minnie. Outside of their looks, there are no differences between the two. Their core abilities are the same as Mickey's was in the previous game. That is, they can walk, duck, jump, stomp enemies, and grab stuff. Like before, most enemies are temporarily stunned when stomped, allowing Mickey or Minnie to then grab them. Once grabbed, enemies can be thrown, causing them to twirl like a ballerina as they bounce around the environment. Akin to Koopa Shells from the Super Mario games, thrown enemies will stun, injure, or outright defeat any other foes they come into contact with. They don't harm you on the rebound, though. Some other objects can be grabbed and thrown in this manner, too, like differently colored blocks. Nothing has really changed on the controls front. The controls are still precise, but the walking speed is still a little too slow.

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As with the previous game, Mickey and Minnie will acquire various outfits over the course of their adventure that'll give them different abilities. There are a total of three outfits and once obtained, you can freely switch between them at any time. In order of acquisition, the costumes are the Sweeper Outfit, Safari Outfit, and Western Wear. The Sweeper Outfit arms Mickey and Minnie with a vacuum cleaner, which allows them to suck in small enemies to convert them into coins, though the outfit cannot vacuum blocks. With the Safari Outfit, they can climb walls and swing across certain grappling points with their dual hooks. The Western Wear is the weirdest one, because it has you ride around on a wooden horse, enabling you to shoot corks out of a cork gun to attack enemies from afar. You can also hold down the shoot button to charge up energy, triggering a dash attack when you release the button after charging for a bit. Both the Sweeper Outfit and Western Wear have limited energy and ammo that can be replenished by collecting batteries and spare cork guns, respectively.

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While the outfits are definitely this game's best feature, they're not as good as the ones from the previous game. For instance, the Safari Outfit is basically a downgraded Mountaineer's Costume from the last game. It has nearly the same climbing functionality, but lacks the ranged grappling hook. Despite that, the Safari Outfit is still the most useful costume in this game. This is especially true considering how bad the other two costumes are. The Sweeper Outfit is by far the worst costume in the game. It's only useful in certain rare circumstances, like moving stones to cover geysers that blow out hot steam. As for the Western Wear, its ranged attacks are useful for attacking enemies and bosses from a distance, but using it is very annoying. Whether you're standing or walking, the Western Wear makes you hop nonstop, rendering it a nightmare to control. You do get the outfits far sooner in this game, but sadly, they aren't as useful.

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Like the last game, there are big yellow boxes with Mickey's face on them scattered everywhere. These big boxes often have chains on them that you can yank to bust them open, revealing various helpful items. Sometimes these helpful items consist of the aforementioned coins, which you can use to purchase goods at shops that are hidden throughout the game. Items at the shop include hearts to replenish health, big hearts to increase maximum health capacity, extra lives, batteries to replenish the Sweeper Outfit's energy meter, and spare cork guns to replenish the Western Wear's ammo. Speaking of, these two outfits also have expensive upgrades that reduce their ammo cost by half. There's not much else to say about the shop, except that it's a nice feature. Also, since stages aren't timed anymore, you can grind for more coins to buy more stuff. However, grinding is never necessary.

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Unlike the previous game, this one supports simultaneous cooperative play between two players, allowing one player to take control of Mickey and another to control Minnie. Better yet, a second player can jump in at any time, so you don't have to reset the game if you start in single player and later decide to switch to cooperative play. When a player dies, they immediately spawn where they were last standing, provided they have more lives in reserve. This is even the case in the single player mode, making the game substantially easier than its predecessor. If one of the players loses all their lives, they'll have to wait until a screen transition before they'll be able to rejoin the action. It's similar to how Goof Troop worked. There are now also passwords to resume where you last left off, though it's hardly necessary due to how short the game is. It's still appreciated, though.

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Despite the pretty clear differences between the Genesis and SNES in terms of hardware specs, both versions of the game are nearly identical. There are some minor differences between the two, though. Visually, the SNES version has a brighter color palette and many transparency effects. Because the Genesis is incapable of outputting true transparency, it uses dithering instead. Some other visual effects are also missing in the Genesis version. The SNES version also sounds slightly better. However, the biggest difference is in the haunted house stage. In the SNES version, there's a segment in the haunted house with a rotating environment that uses the system's special Mode-7 effect. The Genesis version replaced this segment with a much harder section featuring collapsing walls, likely due to the system's inability to easily do rotations. At the end of the day, the SNES version is slightly better, but the benefits are so minute that it really doesn't matter which version you choose to play.

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This game is more of the same, something that Capcom is the master of providing. In some ways, this game is a step down from the original. For one, the outfits in this game aren't as useful as the costumes from the previous entry. Secondly, this game is even easier and shorter than the first one, which was already a bit too short and easy. However, there are some things this game does better than the original. One of those things is the two player cooperative mode, which is quite fun. The stage design is also a little better, and so are the graphics. Overall, if you enjoyed The Magical Quest, then you'll probably like The Great Circus Mystery, too.

Word Count: 1,448

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