Like some sort of video game equivalent of Stephen King's IT, Castle of Illusion haunted me as a child, and has now returned, years later, to appall me as an adult. A lot of care and attention has gone into recreating the Mega Drive original's stages for a new generation, and the structure has been changed akin to Super Mario 64's hub world. But the platforming and control mechanics on offer here wouldn't cut it in any era.
It's a game that requires both accuracy and timing from the player, often throwing them into situations that require them to attack and navigate in tandem, using enemies to bounce Mickey across fairly intricate stages. Good in theory, but Sega Australia's work gives them little chance of achieving those goals thanks to terrible input lag, imprecise movement and spotty collision detection.
Pressing jump sees Mickey leap what seems like six weeks after the command was given, and his airborne movement, which is overly quick with no sense of weight or inertia, compounds what is already a fatal flaw. You'll die as you slide off ledges or as you hit an enemy where you did before but it registers the other way. If that's not enough, the same will happen when the game spawns you onto unavoidable attacks, because the camera's too close, or when you hit jump and the game faxes the instruction over rather than just executing it.
It's infuriating, and a host of other problems don't make matters any better, including unskippable cutscenes before maddening, cheap boss fights. While some stages are very nicely realised - fighting to the top of a clock tower through the gears and cogs being one - Castle of Illusion's failings, especially after Rayman Legends' release, aren't close to being acceptable. Not even nostalgia can save this.
Version tested: Xbox 360. Game played for 5 hours. Click here to read about VideoGamer.com's new review policy.
4 / 10
- Pleasing art direction
- Uninspired stage design
- Terrible controls
- Unskippable cutscenes