The combination of Deus Ex creator Warren Spector and the vault of Walt Disney sounded like a match made in heaven. Known for his creativity in exploring the boundaries in video games, Spector?s concept for Epic Mickey was nothing short of daring - take Disney?s most prized mascot and take him on a journey of rediscovery.
Mickey?s importance as a cartoon character has fallen by the wayside, losing out to the wave/bilge (delete as applicable) of teen sitcoms and High School Musical
. Once a popular animated adventurer, the Mouse has been relegated to a figurehead - or, as Spector himself put it a year ago, ?Just a face you put on T-shirts.?
So it seems fitting that Epic Mickey
takes the character on a journey throughout the Cartoon Wasteland, a world populated with forgotten characters from Disney?s past.
storyline is certainly creative enough. It all starts with Mickey being led through a magic mirror into the house of Yen Sid, who is putting the finishing touches to the Wasteland using a magic paintbrush. Disney?s first ever cartoon character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, lives in this miniaturised world and looks after the other characters that stay there.
When Yen Sid toddles off to bed, Mickey starts looking at this diorama-sized land and starts painting things himself. Things turn nasty when he accidentally spills a flask of thinner onto the Wasteland, causing devastation to Oswald?s otherwise peaceful life. Years later, Mickey finds himself pulled into this alternate dimension by a mysterious force and sees the damage for himself.
So, after a daring escape from the Mad Doctor in Dark Beauty Castle, Mickey ends up befriending a helpful gremlin called Gus, who introduces you to the concept of both paint and thinner. Mickey has a paintbrush at his disposal, and can splash various areas of the game world with either paint, to fill in missing bridges and build walls, or thinner to erase structures.
Illusion of Choice
Both of these open up pathways for Mickey to cross, and at the start of the game you notice that there are different ways of crossing an area depending on whether you use paint or thinner. Once you?ve tackled several levels, however, you find that this feature becomes rarer as you platform through linear corridors that require thinner to pass, or small areas where painting is the only way to progress.
There seems to be this huge illusion of choice throughout Epic Mickey
, in fact. Thanks to Gus (who just won?t sod off) you discover that paint and thinner are the key to everything in the game - particularly, determining how good or bad Mickey is.
Enemies consist of different forms of what are known as Spatters and Beetleworx, with the former being inky, blobby foes that can be vanquished by either using paint to make them your friend or thinner to destroy them.
It doesn?t really matter at the end of the day if you decide to melt or buddy up these blotchy fiends, because aside from getting a paint or thinner-based bonus there?s no real consequence for doing either.
The original intention was for Mickey to transform into a good or corrupt character, but Disney must have got the willies with that idea and pulled it. Instead, using thinner too much will just result in seeing some vague inky blots evaporate out of Mickey like a cartoon sieve.
Beetleworx are mechanical monsters that have some form of paint attached to them. The only way you can defeat these guys is by using thinner anyway. This is where the controls come in - Epic Mickey
has quite a few options loaded onto the Wii Remote and Nunchuk configuration.