As previously mentioned, RollerCoaster Tycoon is my all time favorite game and what sparked my love of theme parks. But it was not my first game that was based on theme parks. That goes to 1990’s Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Made by Capcom (who at the time was known for making Mega Man, Bionic Commando and Ghost and Goblins and who would eventually be known for making Street Fight II, Resident Evil and terrible business decisions) was part of a deal where they made amazing games for the NES with the Disney license. All but one of these games were based on the classic Disney Afternoon block. Yeah DuckTales has great controls and amazing music, and Chip and Dale had an amazing co-op mode and TaleSpin…happened, but none of them had the stones to put 4 different types of gameplay in one game. Only Adventures in the Magic Kingdom did.
The first theme park based game I played. But is it good?
So what do you do in the game? It tasked you as an unknown kid in an orange cowboy hat and shirt to find 6 silver keys to unlock the parade building because Goofy lost them. On your journey you will have to go through 5 Classic Disney attractions and answer trivia to obtain all the keys. Is it fun? Sure. Is it something to do on an afternoon? 100%! Am I annoyed as an adult because the layout of the park map is clearly Disneyland but the name and box art implies that you are in Magic Kingdom? Yes. But how does it play?
The game was unique for the time in that there are 4 different styles of gameplay. The first style is a side scrolling platformer like Mario and is used in The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean levels. D pad controls the movement and A jumps and B throws candles. The second style is a driving game used for Autopia where the D controls the car and A is used to accelerate. The third style is the start of Capcom’s love for quick time events where you press the button or combination of buttons to pilot a spaceship in Space Mountain. The final play style is controlling the the train in Big Thunder Mountain and having it go down the appropriate track to reach the end and not crash using only the D pad.
So with all these different play styles having to be programed into the game, does it control well. Yes and no. Everything outside of the side scrolling levels control wonderfully and is responsive, though the Space Mountain section I always felt was a little laggy. The side scrolling sections control fine, but the jump is a little too floaty and you sometime slide around too much. This is weird because this game was made by Capcom who made some of the best side scrollers on not just the NES, but of all time.
The game is also hard. Autopia is definitely the easiest and is the most enjoyable, so it’s my favorite of the levels. But the Space Mountain section as previously mentioned is a bit laggy and as you go further it speeds up and your time window for button inputs becomes shorter. The side scrolling levels are also hard due to certain enemy and platform placements being questionable, but you can purchase power ups with stars you collect throughout the game to help in curbing the difficulty. But, the Big Thunder Mountain level is by far the worst of the bunch because it is a game of chance. The level is essentially similar to playing Plinko but you can control the puck. You have to guide the train down to a specific station and you can slow and speed up the train, but the track guidance down is random. There could be boxes or ends of track placed randomly and it can cause you to crash and lose. This is the level I always hated playing because it was more luck than skill based. There is also a trivia portion which ranges in difficulty from “What is the name of Mickey’s Dog” to “What is the name of the Girl’s Ranch in Spin and Marty?” (It’s Circle H by the way)
So once you finish all the levels and answer an insane amount of trivia questions you go to the castle to unlock the gate for the parade and you are rewarded with…going back to the title screen.
This game is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, it is cool going through an 8-bit Disneyland and playing games based on classic Disney attractions with gameplay mechanics that fit with the ride system (except Big Thunder Mountain which can die in a mine explosion). The game also has a seriously under appreciated soundtrack, but it’s from Capcom so of course the music will be glorious. However there are some minor control issues, on of the games is a hot dumpster fire and it still bugs my that the game layout is based on Disneyland but is called Adventures in the MAGIC KINGDOM and uses Cinderella Castle on the box art.
Look, this is Disneyland and not Walt Disney World and I will die on this hill.
To summarize, I still recommend playing this game as it gets overshadowed by other theme park games like RollerCoaster Tycoon or Disneyland Adventures for the Xbox 360 and other Capcom NES Disney classics like DuckTales and Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. While flawed, there is still fun to be had. It is also allows you to hate Big Thunder Mountain Railroad if that has always been your dream. After all, Walt Disney World is the place where dreams come true.
Also Goofy should’ve just had the keys on a keychain, I’m just saying.