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Retro Game Club - May ‘19: Castle of Illusion [POLL ADDED FOR JUNE - GET VOTING NOW]

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I'd sought out an original cart for my Megadrive (although picked up the US version) with the idea of playing it years ago after a certain amount of hype but didn't really do anything with it and it's just sat there on the shelf.  I was away for the bank holiday weekend, saw this thread and happened to have my old Wikipad tablet with me and so played it through on there.  I finished it in a few hours (although used save states) so I could have multiple goes at the bosses.  I tended to find I needed a few tries just to understand the pattern, or attacks, or generally how to not get hit.

 

It was ok - very nice looking, and very jolly.  I was just starting to get into though and suddenly they were giving out 2 gems a world and it came up a bit shorter than I was hoping for.  Good enough, but it didn't have the hook that some other platformers did. (for me at least)

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3 minutes ago, CurryKitten said:

I'd sought out an original cart for my Megadrive (although picked up the US version) with the idea of playing it years ago after a certain amount of hype but didn't really do anything with it and it's just sat there on the shelf.  I was away for the bank holiday weekend, saw this thread and happened to have my old Wikipad tablet with me and so played it through on there.  I finished it in a few hours (although used save states) so I could have multiple goes at the bosses.  I tended to find I needed a few tries just to understand the pattern, or attacks, or generally how to not get hit.

 

It was ok - very nice looking, and very jolly.  I was just starting to get into though and suddenly they were giving out 2 gems a world and it came up a bit shorter than I was hoping for.  Good enough, but it didn't have the hook that some other platformers did. (for me at least)

 

 

Playing the games back in the day, you would get a little futher each time, the bosses are the gatekeepers of each level. 

 

Yes you have to learn their patterns, especially with the latter ones,  and it will take a few tries and failures before you can get past them as they have quite subtle tells.

 

If you use save states to learn their trick, in one playthrough, then its no shock that you consider the game short.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, ulala said:

 

 

Playing the games back in the day, you would get a little futher each time, the bosses are the gatekeepers of each level. 

 

Yes you have to learn their patterns, especially with the latter ones,  and it will take a few tries and failures before you can get past them as they have quite subtle tells.

 

If you use save states to learn their trick, in one playthrough, then its no shock that you consider the game short.

 

 

Sure, I'll accept that I played that game in a certain way that I wouldn't have been able to back in the day.  My perception of it being shorter than expected was the fact I expected 1 gem per door, and when I started getting 2 gems (for the last 2 doors IIRC) it felt like I'd been cheated out of a few levels.  Back in the day perhaps this would have been akin to the Lucky Dome Caper I used to play through on my Game Gear quite happily instead of a long epic like Super Mario World.

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In what ways are the MS and MD versions of this game different?  I've heard that the MS version is better - is this so? 

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17 minutes ago, bum said:

In what ways are the MS and MD versions of this game different?  I've heard that the MS version is better - is this so? 

 

Imma watch a video

 

 

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18 minutes ago, bum said:

In what ways are the MS and MD versions of this game different?  I've heard that the MS version is better - is this so? 

 

They are very different games. They might share level themes at times but apart from that it's a totally different game. The MS version also allows you to pick items up, carry them around and throw them at enemies, so you don't have apples to throw around. The platforming/level design IMO is better than the megadrive version and even has some auto scrolling levels like SMB3.

 

Both versions are pretty great and well worth playing.

 

Castle of Illusion MD looks great and has some great music, although the last couple levels have some fairly annoying sections.

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5 minutes ago, Darhkwing said:

 

They are very different games. They might share level themes at times but apart from that it's a totally different game. The MS version also allows you to pick items up, carry them around and throw them at enemies, so you don't have apples to throw around. The platforming/level design IMO is better than the megadrive version and even has some auto scrolling levels like SMB3.

 

Both versions are pretty great and well worth playing.

 

Castle of Illusion MD looks great and has some great music, although the last couple levels have some fairly annoying sections.

 

Thanks.  Might try and track down a copy for the MD.

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26 minutes ago, bum said:

In what ways are the MS and MD versions of this game different?  I've heard that the MS version is better - is this so? 

 

Hi,

 

They are quite different games, in reality. Ive played through both so many times, and often hear that the MS is better - sometimes that the Master System game is "far better". 

 

Its simply not true., i think that its a phrase that gets repeated by games so often people convince themselves of it, even if they havent played the games!

 

The Megadrive game is a masterpiece, graphics, animation, sound and gameplay are all amazing.

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10 minutes ago, ulala said:

 

Hi,

 

They are quite different games, in reality. Ive played through both so many times, and often hear that the MS is better - sometimes that the Master System game is "far better". 

 

Its simply not true., i think that its a phrase that gets repeated by games so often people convince themselves of it, even if they havent played the games!

 

The Megadrive game is a masterpiece, graphics, animation, sound and gameplay are all amazing.

 

Hmm, funnily enough before I even saw this thread i was thinking of downloading the MS version (and luck dime caper) to give them a play through. I have completed both games multiple times before (although not for many years with the MS version)  and whilst i always preferred the graphics and music of the MD version, the gameplay always seemed better on the MS.

 

I'll have to play it soon and see if the passage of time has changed my views..

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I returned back to the MD version again last night since having a single play through some days prior and it's started to grow on me a little more. I made more progress and I'm also trying to avoid using save states to play it the way it was intended, even if that includes repeating from the beginning each time. Last night I managed to get up to the boss in the last door, the big guy. I think I've gotten all the previous bosses sussed now much better. Looking forward to having another go later today.

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Had another bash on the Game Gear version.  Finished the chocolate bar boss and the forest boss, but came a cropper in Toyland.

 

I'm going to struggle to finish this before the end of the month.

 

Still loving the graphics, though.  What ever games have mind-blowing graphics on the Game Gear.

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I just put practice mode on (sms) it really is just that! Lasts about 2 minutes.

 

I do fancy getting the md version now....I really did enjoy the sms take.

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The pictures of the MD version in C+VG back when console games just had a few pages inside the magazine used to blow my mind. 

 

Played through it again with savestates yesterday and enjoyed how short it was.

 

It also has some fabulously bassy bass lines on the soundtrack which must have sounded great back when televisions had real speakers in them.

 

Seeing this in a magazine after years of Spectrum and NES. Holy cow. 

 

IMG_20190507_135833_compress9.jpg

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1 hour ago, Barnard said:

The pictures of the MD version in C+VG back when console games just had a few pages inside the magazine used to blow my mind. 

 

Played through it again with savestates yesterday and enjoyed how short it was.

 

It also has some fabulously bassy bass lines on the soundtrack which must have sounded great back when televisions had real speakers in them.

 

Seeing this in a magazine after years of Spectrum and NES. Holy cow. 

 

IMG_20190507_135833_compress9.jpg

 

I can confirm that the bass is nice in these tracks as I’ve been using my production monitor speakers which have a good amount of bass on them. 

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10 hours ago, Barnard said:

The pictures of the MD version in C+VG back when console games just had a few pages inside the magazine used to blow my mind. 

 

Played through it again with savestates yesterday and enjoyed how short it was.

 

It also has some fabulously bassy bass lines on the soundtrack which must have sounded great back when televisions had real speakers in them.

 

Seeing this in a magazine after years of Spectrum and NES. Holy cow. 

 

IMG_20190507_135833_compress9.jpg

 

And it's even better in motion!

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Did the first three levels in one go!

 

Wahey!

 

Then the batteries went!

 

Can someone tell me more about the save states in the MD version.  Csn you save anywhere, any time?

 

I'm determined to finish this by the end of the month.

 

Hope the next game is one I'm good at.  If it's Out Run I'm screwed.

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2 hours ago, bum said:

Did the first three levels in one go!

 

Wahey!

 

Then the batteries went!

 

Can someone tell me more about the save states in the MD version.  Csn you save anywhere, any time?

 

I'm determined to finish this by the end of the month.

 

Hope the next game is one I'm good at.  If it's Out Run I'm screwed.

 

I was rubbish at Outrun a month ago, now I can finish it 2/3 times. Worth persevering with.

 

I found Castle of Illusion worked fine with Mega Everdrive X7 savestates, barring the usual Z80 music issues, which are fixed just by changing location or dying.  

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17 hours ago, bum said:

 

 

Can someone tell me more about the save states in the MD version.  Csn you save anywhere, any time?

 

I'm determined to finish this by the end of the month.

 

There are no MegaDrive save states, and you will ruin the game if you use them.

 

 

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Like @Soulstar, this was also the first time for me to play this game. I'd heard about it often back in the day, of course. I never got into the Mega Drive, but Castle of Illusion was cited as one of the top games on the system. I had a vague idea of what it was about, and maybe I'd seen it being played somewhere, but there were so many Disney platformers  back then...

 

In any case, I started playing with fresh eyes, and after completing it this past weekend... I'm not very impressed, to be honest. I started with the Master System version, since everyone was hyping it as the better game of the two, but bounced off it quickly. Something just didn't feel right, so I turned to where I should've started, the Mega Drive version.

 

For a 1990 game, it has nice graphics, the music is quite catchy (although I wouldn't say it's very impressive), and the overall design and ideas are quite good. But I'm really struggling to see why you’d call it a masterpiece.

 

Sure, the game has a lot of charm, (I love how Mickey makes the bridge out of the jewels) but it feels under-animated. Mickey is a tad too slow, and his jump mechanics never feel quite right. The levels get better as the game progresses, but nothing really stands out; nothing really shines.

 

The atmosphere reminds me of Ardy Lightfoot on the SNES, but that game is demonstrably better than this. The bosses in Castle of Illusion are especially disappointing. The bouncing attack was done much better on the NES or GB DuckTales.

 

Still, I'm glad I played it. I can't be too harsh on the game, because it does have a lot of charm. It's interesting to see Sega games before Sonic. They have a very different atmosphere to them.

 

Nevertheless, I can't see myself recommending it to anyone nowadays. I'll get into the MS version tonight, and maybe play the 2013 remake as well. Hopefully those are better.

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Put PicoDrive on my PSP1000 (the 2000 I'm keeping standard) and dumped the Mega Drive version onto the Memory Stick. I was aware of it as a kid, but beyond the initial group of Master System games I got with the system one Christmas I was never bought any others and my Mega Drive owning mate only ever had the Sonic games as far as I remember.

 

Anyway, yeah, I'm still on the Forest level, the boss on that keeps lasting longer than I can manage, how many times do I have to hit it? It's quite fun, very basic so far though but I liked bouncing off the ghosts.

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I finished the Master System version last night. Despite some doubts that came up as I started playing, I have to concur with other posters here: it's the better game. It's difficult to say whether it's the better experience. Despite its flaws and lack of imagination at times, I think the Mega Drive version has more flair and charm. The Master System version, on the other hand, does quite a lot more with what it has. It has a more adventure-like structure, and feels more complete.

 

In general, it feels as if Sega tried to correct whatever failings the MD version had with this one. Mickey feels different here--his movement is a bit more slippery, but once you get used to it, it feels more right. Levels in general are not as fancy as in the MD version, but they are more complex and more interesting. Bosses are not as impressive, but they're more of a welcome challenge. There is some amazing music there, too.

 

Mickey himself is more interesting as well. It's as if the MD version of Mickey is the Disneyland version, and the MS one the cartoon version--a little more multi-faceted and not as cute. The fact that he is able to hold and throw items throughout the levels really adds to the gameplay.

 

It's a shame that it falters in unexpected ways. Levels get better and better the more you play, but the Dessert Factory just isn't a very good level. (The Clock Tower and the Castle levels are impressive, though.) The constraints of the MS also hurt it a bit, when it respawns not only enemies, but also grabable objects. This comes to the fore in the last two levels, and slightly spoils the great design.

 

The worst offense is how holding objects has been implemented, though. Unlike many other games, Mickey doesn't just grab objects with one button press. You need two: one to grab the object, and one more to lift it in order to throw it. It's not an issue for most of the game, until you get to the last two bosses, where throwing blocks is mandatory in order to succeed. It's not a game-breaker, but it makes the experience more frustrating than it needs to.

 

Despite all this, though, I really enjoyed playing through the MS version, and I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm curious about the 2013 remake now.

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Had a first play on the Master System version in about 30 years the other night. It was harder than I remembered, as I could vaguely remember that secrets existed, but lacked the detailed knowledge/skill to actually get them, so I fell down a lot of holes on stage 1. Soon rallied though, and beat all the stages up to the sort of stationery land with those bastard As, then ran out of "tries".

 

I love that - tries. I'm guessing it can't be lives, because under brand guidelines, Mickey can't die?

 

Am I right that, rather than being fully explorable/backtrackable, the levels have hard forks in them with alternative routes to the end?

 

Amusing to see (with the benefit of more gaming context) that the chocolate boss is just a blatant rip-off of Mega Man's Yellow Devil, albeit much easier. The thematic fit justifies it, though.

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Tried again tonight but kept arsing up the forest level.

 

It's definitely the trickiest of the opening three.  Those platforms with snakes on them, and a fall to your death if you mess them up are devilishly difficult if you don't have a missile to throw at the snake.  There's barely a mm either side of space.  Mario's moving platforms are much easier.

 

Still loving the animation of Mickey, and that's quite a compliment, as I loathe all things Mickey Mouse.

 

Anyone else seeing the similarity with Ducktails?  

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8 hours ago, DeDeDe said:

I finished the Master System version last night. Despite some doubts that came up as I started playing, I have to concur with other posters here: it's the better game. It's difficult to say whether it's the better experience. Despite its flaws and lack of imagination at times, I think the Mega Drive version has more flair and charm. The Master System version, on the other hand, does quite a lot more with what it has. It has a more adventure-like structure, and feels more complete.

 

In general, it feels as if Sega tried to correct whatever failings the MD version had with this one. Mickey feels different here--his movement is a bit more slippery, but once you get used to it, it feels more right. Levels in general are not as fancy as in the MD version, but they are more complex and more interesting. Bosses are not as impressive, but they're more of a welcome challenge. There is some amazing music there, too.

 

Mickey himself is more interesting as well. It's as if the MD version of Mickey is the Disneyland version, and the MS one the cartoon version--a little more multi-faceted and not as cute. The fact that he is able to hold and throw items throughout the levels really adds to the gameplay.

 

It's a shame that it falters in unexpected ways. Levels get better and better the more you play, but the Dessert Factory just isn't a very good level. (The Clock Tower and the Castle levels are impressive, though.) The constraints of the MS also hurt it a bit, when it respawns not only enemies, but also grabable objects. This comes to the fore in the last two levels, and slightly spoils the great design.

 

The worst offense is how holding objects has been implemented, though. Unlike many other games, Mickey doesn't just grab objects with one button press. You need two: one to grab the object, and one more to lift it in order to throw it. It's not an issue for most of the game, until you get to the last two bosses, where throwing blocks is mandatory in order to succeed. It's not a game-breaker, but it makes the experience more frustrating than it needs to.

 

Despite all this, though, I really enjoyed playing through the MS version, and I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm curious about the 2013 remake now.

 

 

I honestly find posts like this interesting, pointing out the many flaws of the mastersystem game and yet at the same time saying that its better than the megadrive version.

 

Movement more slippery

Levels not as fancy

Bosses not as impressive

It falters in unexpected ways

Respawning enemies - spoils design

Two button presses to grab objects is the "worst offence"

Experience is frustrating

 

All of these things, and its still better than the megadrive masterpiece? 

 

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This game reminds me of going round to my cousins' and playing on their new Megadrive, must have been circa 1991-ish. Castle of Illusion and Sonic 1. Neither had a save feature so I never saw the end of these games until I got my own system at home. I've played CoI a few times since and still enjoy it. :)

 

What always delighted me about it (the MD version) was how it would go all-out on these lavish and often unique scenes and setpieces that would get used just once or twice. Like the spider-web / leaves section of the first world - totally unique with its own graphics and music track, and then it's gone forever and you never see it again. Or an underwater section inside a cup of tea with little sugarcube enemies - one and done, that's it. Or the upside-down level. Lots of little ideas that it just keeps throwing at you and then moving onto something else. For a short(ish) game, it must have cost a fair bit to develop. It's lush!

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On 15/05/2019 at 22:19, ulala said:

All of these things, and its still better than the megadrive masterpiece? 

 

When I decided to post my thoughts on the Mastsr System version, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition!...

 

Anyway, horses for courses and all that. of course. I've also posted my thoughts on the Mega Drive version above. I don't consider either game to be a masterpiece. Maybe I should've chosen my words more carefully, but in the end I felt that the SMS game was simply more interesting.

 

Addressing the points you've raised:

 

- Yes, I feel Mickey's movement is more slippery in the SMS version, but you get used to it--which is more than I can say for Mickey's movement in the MD version, which always feels too slow.


- As Sprite Machine put it, the Mega Drive levels are lush. The SMS levels have more variety and better structure, though.


- I should've really said "graphically impressive." Although neither game has great bosses, the SMS game's bosses are more interesting.


- There are some cheap design decisions in the SMS game, but the MD game is not free of frustrating moments.


- I do think that the two-button-press object grabbing mechanism is the game's worst design decision. But it's not too bad in the grand scheme of things.


- You get used to it, but grabbing and throwing items can be frustrating, especially in the last two boss battles.

 

Despite all these deficiencies, I still prefer the SMS version. The MD game is relatively pedestrian less substantive in comparison.

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How are the sequels to this game?  Land of Illusion and Legend of Illusion?  If anyone has played them, I would be interested in your comments.

 

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What is this available on in its original version?  I.e. do I need a mega drive or a maatersystem?  I had toyed with picking up a MD.  Is that my best option?

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