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Gamer Tuesday

June 7, 2011

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Adventures at the Magic Kingdom

System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Developed by: Capcom

As I said in my article about "Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour," there are very few games based on the Disney theme parks, making Adventures at the Magic Kingdom one of those rare finds in Disney gaming with said theme. On top of this, the title has gotten a bad reputation among gaming enthusiasts for being very hard to play. Why? I'll explain the details in a bit.

Adventures at the Magic Kingdom tells the story of how Mickey and friends are getting ready for the parade down Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Goofy, however, has misplaced the keys to the castle (Geez, between this and Chip and Dale ruining the fireworks machine in "Magical Racing Tour," Disney characters should stay away from official events!). It is up to you, the player and Mickey's best friend, to go around the Magic Kingdom and recover all the keys. This is accomplished by participating in mini-games based on famous attractions.

There are six levels in Adventures at the Magic Kingdom. The first of these is a Disney trivia challenge that happens around the Magic Kingdom. When you talk to several people scattered around the map, they will ask you a question regarding Disney films, short subjects, and characters. These are fairly simple if you are a big Disney nerd like me.

The rest of the game happens in no specific order as you are given the freedom to explore and participate in any game you want. Autotopia, much like the attraction, has you racing against other racers and avoiding obstacles. This is more of a survival race as it doesn't matter what position to place in, as long as you cross the finish line you win.

Space Mountain is rather unique, if slightly frustrating to play. It takes place on the first person perspective while you travel around in space, shooting meteors in the process. The objective is to press the buttons as they quickly flash on-screen. In the gaming world, this is known as the "quick time event," scenes in which the player must press a button in an instant. Because of this, Space Mountain can be really challenging for even the avid gamer. Commands flash too quickly, and the stage is very long.

But the hardest game of them all is Big Thunder Mountain. The objective is to reach the end of the level. As simple as that sounds, the actual goal changes every time the game is played, meaning that it is all about luck than skill.

Luckily, the rest of the game is really fun and shows its value as a Disney themed game. Both Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion are platforming levels where you control your character and survive its enemies. In both levels you can see how much the developers wanted to recreate the attractions in 2D form as best as possible. Unlike Magical Racing Tour, Adventures at the Magic Kingdom isn't in 3D, so the levels lack the details that do justice to the original attractions. But, with some clever design they pulled off a convincing digital replication that fans should enjoy.

In the Haunted Mansion level, some of the enemies you will encounter are dancing ghosts (like the ones seen in the ballroom scene), zombies, ghostly reflections, deadly hands and many more characters from the ride. In the Pirates of the Caribbean not only do you have to rescue the villagers and battle pirates you have to survive burning towns and even skeletons that like to toss their booty at your face (And by booty, I mean gold coins, kiddies!).

Capcom is known for creating some of the best NES soundtracks of the era, and Adventures at the Magic Kingdom is no exception. Surprisingly, there are only a couple of tracks based on famous Disney songs: "The Mickey Mouse March" (which plays on the opening scene with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy) and "When You Wish upon a Star" from "Pinocchio" (plays at the start of every mini-game). The rest of the songs are original, though they have a distinct Disney sound that makes them stand out.

Adventures at the Magic Kingdom isn't a perfect game, but it is far from the worse game ever created. It remains one of the most interesting Disney games in the huge lineup of titles, and one of the most creative attempts as bringing the magic of Walt Disney World to your gaming console.



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