Like so many MS games this one shares little more than its title and themes with its MD counterpart. However this game is every bit as deserving of its status as a classic, and is just as much of a joy to play as it ever was.
Every level in the game is a cliche, but they are perfectly crafted cliches- all of them, from forests to a land of chocolate. While most of the levels are similar to the MD version the whole game plays differently, actually having a little more depth than the arcade style of the original, in return for an even more relaxed pace.
Mickey carried projectiles in seemingly magic pockets before, but here he has to carry his chosen weapon with him. Likewise in the MD version Mickey had up to five he …
…alth points from the beginning, whereas in the MS version he must find the last two himself. There are even simple puzzles in this version, as well as hidden rooms and treasure to be discovered.
The gameplay, like the MD version, is pretty unoriginal but its done so well you wont care. Mickey has exactly the right amount of inertia and jump height. The enemies are never unfair. There are loads of nice touches, many of which are impressive for 8-bit- like having to use lamps to light your way in the castle.
Its one of the most polished 8-bit platformers ever made. Mickey is constantly and wonderfully animated, including while standing still. The enemies may not quite have the same attention to detail, but they are still well designed. The music too is some of the best on the system. Its surprising how much of the originals music is intact- even the drum roll in the toy kingdom is replicated.
There is no excuse for owning an 8-bit Sega and not experiencing this game. Whether or not it is as good as, or even better than, the MD version is irrelevant. For Master System (as well as Game Gear and Mega Drive) owners, Castle of Illusion is essential.
As a little aside there is a Japanese GG game called Kuni-chan no Game Tengoku, which for some reason uses enemies and themes from this game. The game itself has nothing to do with this one, or Disney. I think its a mini game collection and board game- like an early Mario Party.