|Title: Adventures in the Magical Kingdom
Rom Player: NESticle
Synopsis: Big brands like to make games about their products to cash in and advertise at the same time. Rarely a good game comes out of this type of commercial rape, and that is probably to blame on two reasons: 1) These big brands spend as much money on the production of these games as they do on one of their Kenyan sweatshop workers, and 2) aside from the merciless limitations big brand companies lay upon their game creators out of anal fear of blemishing their spotless image, it’s hard to come up with a creative game concept for a dancing hamburger or a type of shoes. Gaming history is littered with god-awful titles to come from companies, cartoons, movies, comics and the like. Many of them were spawned by the mother of corporate behemoths: Disney, the money-vampire with the kind smile. Like a big, fluffy, purple dinosaur, Disney pets the children before the trusting eyes of their parents, only to touch them where the bathing suit covers the moment he’s got them alone in his dressing room. But enough about my childhood.
Adventures in the Magical Kingdom is one of the shittiest NES games ever made. The reason you don’t find it in those Worst NES Games Ever Made lists is because I’m the only person in the world that made the mistake of buying it. The rest of you were wise enough to ignore this painful little ad for Disneyworld.
When the game starts, you take on the guise of a cute little Hitlerjugend- I mean, Disney fan. Like in the Legend of Zelda, you get to name your character – in this case, not to save your progress (that’s a little too sophisticated for a gob of puke like this game), just to give the other characters something to address you with. This is probably the coolest part of the game, since nothing is more gratifying than to see Mickey Mouse cry out “Hey, I suck!”. If your creativity runs out after having Goofy tell you “Hi, fuck me!” and Donald whisper “Help us, asshole!” into your ear, you can leave the field blank, which for a completely unknown reason causes the game characters to call you “Bamboo .7”. I guess the programmers thought no kid alive would want to have a nameless character, and thus chose not to account for this possibility.
The story is absolutely compelling. The great parade of Disneyworld is about to start, but the gate to the park is locked. Goofy had the key, but in yet another drunken stupor he accidentally left it in the great castle. After waking in a pool of his own dingo-vomit, the bastard then locked the castle’s six locks and conveniently misplaced the six keys. Mickey and Donald completely fall for his usual idiot act, and since the thought of dynamite doesn’t cross their heads, Mickey enlists your help to find the six keys needed to open the castle, to get the key needed for the gate. Kind of a senseless complication in story, if you ask me. Wouldn’t having the six keys open the gate, instead of the castle, make some more sense? On a side note, while you’re off risking your life just so the almighty Disneyworld parade can go through, our loveable Disney friends are off drinking tea and doing each other up the butt. Aside from the occasional pep-talk, they don’t bother lending a hand, while one would think they take part in the search for those desperately needed keys.
Well, you’re inside Disneyworld. What common folk such as you and I don’t know is that once those gates are closed and the android legion of personnel has left, the place becomes a fucking death trap. The otherwise so friendly characters that inhabit each of the attractions turn into homicidal maniacs that like nothing better than to suck the marrow from children’s bones. As for the unlucky kids that are left without parents inside the park, their fate is to wander the paths until the end of time, eating from garbage cans and thinking up pointless riddles. In this hellish park of abominations, it is your job to visit and ride through five attractions, answering the trivia questions of lunatic park folk to obtain the final key.
#1: Pirates of the Caribbean
In the real Disneyworld, Pirates of the Caribbean is a festive boat full of Jersey hobos dressed up as pirates, that make your dad indecent proposals when you’re not looking. In Adventures in the Magical Kingdom, it’s a confusing and shitty platform game. Get this: in their spare time, the pirates have kidnapped a couple of villagers. The kind-hearted Mickey now instructs you to go into this dangerous area full of vicious pirates, completely unarmed, save all the villagers and light a signal (why? I don’t know), all within a set time limit. There are no real power-ups or extra lives to pick up – if you’re lucky, you may come across a candle, which allows you to toss candles at the pirates. Why this hurts them, I don’t know. These must be very wimpy pirates indeed. Other than that, you’re stuck with the same things you find in every attraction – stars. Collect these stars, and on the pause screen you’ll be able to buy extra lives, continues, temporary invincibility and stuff like that. A very annoying way of playing caused by programmers that were too lazy to make a variety of power-ups. Aside from the fact that you can only take three hits before you die, the character flies back ten yards if he so much as touches an enemy, which will often cause you to fall to your death.
#2: Haunted House
Yes, Mickey has more fun for you in store. Rather than risking his own life, he’s risking yours by sending you against a wave of zombies, ghosts and monsters armed with candles. Unlike the candles from Pirates of the Caribbean, these are a limited supply, and you can pick up extra candles throughout the attraction. As for life refill, you’re stuck with those stupid stars and the pause screen again. At the end of the gruesome and frustrating ride, you take on the head ghost who takes about 500 shots to kill. But hey! You’ve got another key. And don’t forget that god-damned time limit.
#3: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Now, this is just stupid. Before the time runs out, you need to make your way to the right station in a locomotive that’s dropping down a roller coaster. There’s rocks dropping on you and barricades that you have to avoid, and if you’re not careful you’ll end up at the wrong station even if you reach the end. Or even better, since you clicked through the lengthy and boring explanation at the start, you don’t know which station you have to reach.
Finally, something mildly fun. A racing game, where you try to defeat Panhandle Pete to receive the key Goofy gave him in exchange for sexual favors. There’s ramps and slopes to jump off, but don’t end up in the grass or in a ditch. The other cars seem to be present only to tag you and then run themselves off the road – and I don’t think I’ve ever managed to actually be the first in a race, I’m always second or third, but as long as you finish Pete gives you the key.
#5: Space Mountain
And now it’s time for the most loathsome of the five attractions. In the real Disneyworld, Space Mountain is a crazy ride for when you need to vomit but aren’t prepared to stick your finger down your own throat. In this game… well… the concept will be familiarly annoying. You’re in a starship that’s crossing past asteroid fields and enemy ships. Mickey is your asshole co-pilot who passes you instructions by showing the buttons on the gamepad you need to push on your screen. If you’re not fast enough, you take damage – after three times, you’re a goner. This is a sure way to lose a lot of lives, since you need to play it at least a hundred times to have the order of buttons memorized.
#6: Disney Trivia
Remember those abandoned children that roam the park, cackling madly and talking to themselves? Well, they each possess a wide variety of Disney trivia that they mean to torment you with. Somewhere in the park is a dog wearing a key to the castle around his neck. The kids know where he is, but they don’t trust you unless you can prove you’re a friend of Mickey’s. Apparently, all of Mickey’s friends possess an insane amount of knowledge about Disney movies and cartoons. When you’ve found one kid and answered his or her question right, you’re given a clue as to where the next kid is located. If you get it wrong, you can simply try again. Disney deemed it funny to have us gamers wear our fingerprints away, so whenever you get a question right, the next kid is pretty much on the other side of the park. Happy trailing.
And what awaits you when you’ve cleared all these attractions and gained the six keys? A single thanks from Mickey, a gate opening, and the screen fading to white. No spectacular parade with music and dancing. You’re left once again outside the gates of mighty Disneyworld, not a penny in your pocket and with a vague recollection of Donald feeling you up during that white screen. Now really, is this a way to advertise for Disneyworld? Do we really want to go to a place that’s filled with murderous monsters, where every attraction you step into may be your last, where insane children bother you with trivia questions? Certainly a much more fun game would’ve involved such attractions as “Punch the guys in Mickey suits”, “Sexually harass Snowhite” and “Make the cleaning crew's life hell by littering when they're watching”. No, another attempt at cashing in on a brand name fails.
Best Cheats: Unless you are a complete tool, you’ll have no problem playing through Autopia. Since you probably need a lot of lives to make it through Space Mountain, play Autopia over and over again to collect stars and buy more lives.
Game Play: 3
Overall Rating: 3
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