The Dismal World of Disney

There were a ton of Disney-licensed games released on the Genesis.Some were based on (then) recently released animated features, while some simply starred familiar Disney characters such as Mickey or Donald, but the common trait that they share is that almost all of them were pretty bad.Today we’re going to take a good-sized chunk out of the list by knocking off the following games:

Aladdin – Aladdin is probably the best of the games we’re eliminating today, and we very nearly decided to keep it around a while longer.The game has great graphics with a ton of animation, music taken directly from the popular soundtrack to the movie, tight control, and some interesting levels.But what kills this game for us though is the sheer amount of cheap hits and questionable level design choices.There’s just too many spots where it’s almost impossible to avoid taking damage unless you’ve already memorized the stage, and it didn’t take long before we stopped trying to dodge enemies and simply plowed through the stages hoping to win by attrition rather than skill.The game tries to compensate for this by giving you an absurd number of extra lives and frequent checkpoints, but it wasn’t long before we started to think “Shouldn’t they have just made the game less cheap, instead?”

POCAHONT000Pocahontas – Every time you press the jump button, Pocahontas jumps straight up in the air with her arms fully extended over her head.While this would probably make her awesome at blocking the net in volleyball, it makes it much harder to do the platforming sections of the game.Luckily, you get to control her animal friends at various points of the game to help her.The first time we got to a jump we couldn’t make, we took control of a raccoon, climbed a tree, hopped over to the cliff Pocahontas wanted to ascend, and dropped a boulder on her head.This ultimately became a metaphor for the rest of the game – something that should have been helpful instead ended up causing a great deal of pain and possibly concussions.

Ariel the Little Mermaid – This is one of those games where you navigate through a maze, and the stage ends after you collect a set number of treasures.As a general rule, those kinds of games aren’t much fun, and frustrating control and level designs only make this one worse.Also, since the target audience is presumably little girls, instead of treasures, you’re collecting, uh… snakes.It probably also doesn’t help that Ariel’s powers – breathing underwater, talking to fish, having pretty hair – are exactly the same as Aquaman’s.

Beauty & The Beast: Roar of the Beast – I liked this game better when it was called Castlevania and it didn’t totally suck.

Beauty & The Beast: Belle’s Quest

Brad:Belle’s Quest seems to involve a lot of trying to avoid being hassled by people.

Stryker:Yeah, and every time she leaves town, she’s mercilessly attacked by birds.Was that in the movie?

Brad:I don’t think so.But in the game the town is apparently under siege by a flock of vicious eagles, so Belle must be on a quest to find a way to break the siege before the town has to give in to avian rule, I guess.

Stryker:I wonder what the eagles’ demands would be?

Brad:Off the top of my head, I’d say more interesting gameplay and a less silly storyline.Also salmon.

Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow

Brad: Oh, goddammit.We put Maui Mallard on the list, and the Genesis version was never released in the U.S.

Stryker:Sure it was.I had a copy of it at the store.

Brad: You must be thinking of the SNES game, because according to GameFAQs and Wikipedia, it never came out here.

Stryker:No, I remember it.The box had a picture of Donald holding a toilet-plunger gun and trying to look all badass.In fact, I’m pretty sure I kept a copy for myself.It should be around here somewhere…

Brad:You mean this? (Holds up box):

Stryker:Goddammit!

Fantasia – This game is so hard and so crappy that playing it is about as enjoyable as getting violated with a mop handle.Only since this is Fantasia, the mop is alive, too.

Goofy’s Hysterical History Tour – Here’s something you never hear anyone say – “Man, Bionic Commando would be so much better if Goofy was the main character and it was harder to control.”

The Jungle BookBack when I worked at EB, my friend Ultimate Tom and I came up for an idea for a pro wrestler called Mr. Mediocre, who would be just like Mr. Perfect, except that he would be completely average.For example, instead of Mr. Perfect’s flawless record, Mr. Mediocre would win about half of his matches – always being able to beat the jobbers, but never pulling a upset over a Superstar.His signature move would be the Mediocreplex, which his opponents would escape from around 50% of the time.If Mr. Perfect’s highest acheivement would be winning the Championship belt, Mr. Medicore would win the Intercontinental Title, or some other lesser belt.

In other words, Mr. Mediocre would be totally average and unremarkable in every imaginable way.Coincidentally, there just happens to be a video game equivalent of this concept – The Jungle Book.

Lion King Behold, Simba, the mighty Lion King!Ruler of the Jungle!Emperor of the vast savannas of… oh goddammit, did I just get eaten by a chameleon again?

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey MouseThis is Castle of Illusion’s Game Over screen:

CASTLE_O001

Bite me, Mickey.Just because I didn’t beat your mediocre platforming game on the first try doesn’t give you the right to question my courage or call me stupid.

Mickey ManiaThis is another pretty typical platforming game, but the one unique feature that sets it apart is that the each level has you recreating some of Mickey’s most famous roles.It’s a pretty cool idea, but it seems kind of wasted on a character who, beloved as he is, never really had the most intense adventures.We couldn’t help but think how much cooler it would have been if, instead of Mickey Mouse, we had been playing through the film career of say, Kurt Russell or Bill Paxton.

TaleSpin Recreates the excitement of the air freight industry rather accurately.

PinocchioNote to fairies:Next, time, before turning Geppetto’s puppet into a real boy, try to make sure he isn’t still living in a neighborhood full of child killers.

Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge

Brad:You know, “Ultimate Challenge” seems like a rather absurd exaggeration to put into the title of a game in which the gameplay mainly consists of putting things into alphabetical order and matching pictures to each other.

Stryker:I was just thinking that most of these minigames could probably have been pretty easily adapted to be used on The Price is Right.

Brad:Yeah, maybe for one of the episodes where nobody’s won in a while and they really want somebody to get the new car.

Stryker:Well, we did only play the first 20 minutes or so.Maybe its gets better.

Brad:I don’t know, when the designers are dumb enough to put stuff this bad right at the very beginning of the game, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that they really have no idea what they’re doing.It’s a warning sign to stay the hell away – like seeing brightly colored stripes on a snake…

Stryker:…or the “High Tech Expressions” logo on the loading screen.

Brad:Seriously.The only “quality” product I ever got from H.T.E. was a computer program that let you make custom birthday cards, and actually, come to think of it, the cards were pretty crappy.No wonder I stopped getting invited to birthday parties when I was 11.

Stryker:Well, there you have it.The people who made this game are also directly responsible for Brad not having any friends in school.

So that’s it for today.For those of you keeping track of this at home, three Disney games did survive this round – Quackshot, Great Circus Mystery, and World of Illusion.Will any of them crack the Top 100?Stay tuned…

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