Critical Phantoms #004: World of Illusion

Carrying on from my last post, my childhood attachment to Disney also led my dad to pick up a copy of World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (which is the full official title), which was likely the most complex game I ever played on the Genesis. Multiple gameplay modes, two different characters whose properties changed how you were allowed to progress in the level (Donald’s got too big a butt to get through crawlspaces unaided, and thus must find ways around, sometimes through entirely different levels), and co-op where you can climb on each other’s shoulders to reach things you couldn’t alone! Dang! It’s also got some split paths later on that were indecipherable to me at first, with multiple doors on the same screen leading to completely different places, and my small child brain not being used to that, I thought it was always random, but I just kept going in different doors every time I played! Silly me.

This was also the first game I played co-op (with my dad) where co-op wasn’t just a throwaway gimmick with a second person attached to the console. Sonic 2 has “co-op”, but it’s just 2P as Tails bouncing around the screen, attacking enemies but being strictly limited to Sonic’s location. Real co-op systems worked into things didn’t happen until…. the next Sonic game I’ll talk about, but in World of Illusion, working together happened fairly often! Also, the locales and bosses are a bit weirder than I’m used to; the game takes place inside the titular World of Illusion, inside a magic box, thanks to an evil Magician, who turns out to be Pete. So a lot of enemies and most bosses have a really goofy and/or Pete-adjacent face.

The bosses are generally pretty simple, and nonthreatening, except for the world 3 boss, which is a terrifying shark with the most offensively sharp noise I’ve ever heard in a Genesis game! I forgot about this before I looked up a video of the bosses to link for this post! Here’s that link; the bosses are timestamped in the description. This is also a very good demonstration of how the Genesis soundchip kinda got misused by people who didn’t know its strengths, except for that shark noise, because DAMN.

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