Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Five levels complete
This game is a fairly derivative example of the genre, incorporating elements from games like Sonic, Mario and Megaman!
Guide Mickey Mouse through various platform levels, defeating bosses and bottom bouncing meanies!
WARNING! Reading fairy tales can seriously damage your health! Well, that's the absurd advice that should have been supplied to Mickey Mouse before he picked up his favourite bedtime read.
You see, the problem is that this particular book has magic, sleep-inducing qualities that quickly send Mickey off to the land of nod. However, this land of nod is country terrorised by the evil Phantom, who's decided to nick the mystical crystal of well-being and thus rule the kingdom. All the minions of the land are now the Phantom's slaves — a situation that freedom-loving Mickey finds unacceptable.
It's down to Mickey Mouse (for it is indeed he) to roam the mystical land (that looks suspiciously like a scrolling platform environment), bottom bouncing meanies, defeating bosses, finding the evil Phantom and reapproprating the crystal. With the crystal in his vice-like grip, Mickey is able to save the land of nod and make it a safe haven for any more potential dreamers.
In Mickey's crusade to return the mystical crystal to its rightful owner, he comes across many different types of rock. These come in handy for taking out any enemy sprites in your path. Just pick up one of the rocks and chuck it at the offending sprite to destroy it. Hurrah!
Just like in the first game, Mickey's primary weapons are his buttocks! Pressing button I in mid-jump causes Mickey to land bottom-first, destroying any enemy sprite below! Mickey's bum is also handy for destroying any rocks he may land on (ouch!).
To get from one stage to another, Mickey makes use of the special map screen. This works in much the same way as the map in Nintendo Mario III and IV. Just take the on-screen Mickey icon to your desired destination and press fire! Unfortunately, later stages only become accessible once you've completed various tasks in the first few levels.
During the game, Mickey comes across many different end-of-level bosses that attempt to stop his quest to find the crystal. The first is a massive fire-breathing dragon. Chuck rocks at its head to destroy it. The second boss is a sheet-like ghost, who attempts to ram you or burn you to death with its fireball satellites. The vulnerable point on this meanie is on its head — bottom bounces ahoy!
During the quest, Mickey picks up various objects that could prove useful in his coming adventures. Look out for magical flutes that whisk you out of danger, and for a magical shrinking potion! Some of these items are essential to progress. The shrinking potion is required to successfully complete the cavern stage — a network of tiny tunnels that the normal-sized Mickey is unable to walk through.
I was expecting a lot from Mickey Mouse II and I was initially disappointed to find the gameplay not much removed from the original game. However, once I got into it, I discovered a game that was fast and packed with action. The graphics are very good for the 8-bit machine, with some brilliant animation and vibrant backdrops. There are loads of levels to conquer, and the puzzle elements of the game sometimes require you to retrace your steps to previous levels to find new objects and stuff. The inclusion of magical items to use is a significant touch — I particularly like the potion that shrinks Mickey down to a fraction of his normal size. This is definitely better than Mickey Mouse I, and well worth buying as soon as it hits the shops.
Mickey Mouse II is Master System gaming at its very best. Heaps of imagination has gone into making this a really fun and challenging game — bottom-bouncing your foes to oblivion is a particularly nice touch. The sprites are huge and clearly defined, the backgrounds predominantly gorgeous and the animation is second to none. There's loads to do and explore, tons of puzzles to work out and unlike the Megadrive's World of Illusion, this definitely doesn't suffer from being too easy. Basically, anyone with a Master System should snap this up as soon as it hits the street, it's well worth it.
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