Tag Archive: disney


You’d be hard-pressed to convince me that I didn’t grow up in a golden age of cartoons, as there was always animation inspired by video games, movies, comic books, and action figures to be found. Shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario Bros., Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, GI Joe, Transformers, and more would serve as constant imagination fuel, but often only in half-hour increments at a time. Because of this, there was a clear king of the animated landscape: the Disney Afternoon block. Not only was the animation and antics top-notch, but we also got shows for two solid hours. Four different cartoons crammed back-to-back, and we didn’t have to wait until Saturday morning for it—we got it daily. Since a lot of animation at the time took inspiration from other media, it should come as no surprise that the osmosis worked both ways, and it wasn’t long before Capcom was working with Disney to crank out games based on the Afternoon shows. Those days of my childhood are long gone, and those cartoons can no longer be found on TV. But the games—the games are back.

The Disney Afternoon Collection takes six of the most beloved NES-era side-scrolling video games inspired by the Disney Afternoon block, polishes them up real nice, and presents them to us in a single package. DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2, TaleSpin, and Darkwing Duck all make triumphant returns on modern day consoles with an assortment of bells and whistles, including an HD coat of paint or the option to stick an old-school CRT TV grain filter over everything.

Each one of the six games is basically a side-scroller with minor variations thrown in. For example, DuckTales is primarily a platformer and TaleSpin a shooter, while Darkwing Duck is both. Whatever the case may be, I always consider myself a bit of a savant when it comes to these old-school games, and if you’re like me, you’ll be thrilled to know that all the challenge and difficulty that these titles were known for back in the day remains largely intact. Enemies will respawn when you walk off screen and then back, collapsing platforms still only give you the narrowest windows for success, and health recovery items are as hard to find as health bar extenders. But, if you’re also like me, you’re big enough to admit when you’re a little rusty, and everything might not be exactly in the same spot mentally as it was nearly 30 years ago.

Luckily, in case you’ve never played these games before, or you just need that gentle nudge in the right direction until your timing comes back, there’s a brand new “rewind” feature. By tapping a bumper button, you can reverse time and save yourself from a perilous pitfall, sharp spikes, or bouncing baddie that just won’t get out of your way. Each game also has a single save state, so you can save mid-playthrough if you need to turn the game off for some reason. Of course, both of these remove a lot of the original challenge, thereby shortening each of the six games to an under two-hour experience should you resort to using those options. And I will say, removing the challenge of these games is like sucking the life out of the games themselves, since it’s not exactly like you got a ton of story back in the days of the NES. The choice of how you play is entirely up to you, though, and that is always appreciated.

If you want your initial playthrough to be about re-learning the games without the temptation of using these tools, Time Attack mode removes all potential assists. Here, all that’s changed is the addition of a clock, pushing you and your reflexes back to the 80s and taunting you with leaderboards to see just how skilled you are. If replaying the entire game sounds like a bit of a time sink, there’s then the Boss Rush mode, which also removes assists and touts leaderboards while catapulting you right into (arguably) the most memorable parts of each level. It’s still so satisfying beating that damn Moon Rat in DuckTales.

There are a few other downsides to the rewind feature beyond the lessening of the challenge, however. Sometimes, if you don’t hold it down for long enough, or if you use it in short bursts in quick succession, the entire game you’re playing will slow down (because it’s trying to catch up to the changes you’re making, but you’re making them too quickly). I actually had Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2 completely freeze up on me while rewinding during the final boss against Robot Fat Cat, because I was micromanaging the battle in preparation for my Boss Rush run (which I was going to do afterwards while the boss fights were fresh in my mind). So, that is definitely something to keep an eye out for.

If you are at all a Disney nerd, the biggest addition The Disney Afternoon Collection might bring isn’t even in any of the six games. Instead, it’s the Museum mode, where design documents, box art, never-before-seen concept art, and all the music for each game is available for you to check out at your convenience. Seeing the access Capcom had to the Disney vault, and now finally being able to share in some of that, is really something special.

Whatever served as imagination fuel for you as a kid tends to turn to nostalgia fuel as an adult—kind of like how dinosaur bones turn into oil. It’s clear that a huge part of the appeal of The Disney Afternoon Collection for a gamer such as myself is that I get the chance to relive a large part of my gaming childhood with this assortment of games, and even get to play some of them for the first time (I missed out on the sequels originally because I had already switched to the SNES by then). Besides a few hiccups with the rewind feature and the occasional crash, this is a great way to relive the past or to use it as an introduction to a new generation of Disney fans—as long as they can appreciate the 8-bit “vintage” look.

Publisher: Capcom • Developer: Digital Eclipse • ESRB: E10+ – Everyone 10 and up • Release Date: 04.18.17
7.5
It’s pure nostalgia, but if you loved these games as a kid, there’s just enough new features to bring you back to it again—and they hold up well enough if you have someone you’d like to introduce these games to for the first time
The Good New optional rewind features and save states serve as nice crutches while you shake the rust off.
The Bad Occasional crashes and lag caused by liberal use of the rewind feature.
The Ugly Your realization of how skewed time was as a child, when you find out none of these cartoons made it more than 100 episodes (DuckTales’ 100th was its final, while no others made it that far).
The Disney Afternoon Collection is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Capcom for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.
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Here is the best cosplay I saw at New York ComicCon 2015 and in only 90 seconds!

Composer of the cosmos

When you think about the library of Kinect games for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, it’s a rather sad state of affairs. One developer, however, has consistently put their peripheral expertise to good use and taken advantage of what’s otherwise been a disappointing piece of hardware. Of course, I’m speaking about Harmonix.

Dance Central provided the group fun of Rock Band—but without the expensive plastic-toy inputs. Wanting to continue this trend but offer fans a bit of changeup from their bootyshake-prompting staple, they teamed up with Disney to explore the classic combination of animation and music: Fantasia.

Fantasia: Music Evolved is one of those few Kinect games that you can actually play comfortably from your favorite chair, because it only requires your arms. You play as Yen Sid’s—the wizard from Fantasia whose name is conveniently “Disney” spelled backward—newest apprentice, and must prove you’re worthy of wearing his magic hat in the hopes of responsibly conducting the cosmos with your rhythm-infused fingertips. As your mastery improves, new worlds full of music and sound will come alive as you play 33 classical and contemporary songs, along with unique minigames, like beatboxing with talking vegetables or harmonizing with a yeti, to add your own special tracks to each world.

Along the way, you’ll also encounter Yen Sid’s former apprentice, Scout. This is where Music Evolved differs from most other Harmonix titles, since it actually provides a story. Once you’ve grasped the gameplay basics, Scout will come along and accidentally unleash “The Noise,” a cacophony of offbeat, ear-splitting rhythms that you must vanquish from the game’s 10 worlds by playing through the soundtrack and unlocking a pair of remixes for each song. Some remixes, for example, might see a classical piece from Dvorak and give it the old 8-bit treatment or take a contemporary artist like CeeLo Green and give “Forget You” a dubstep drubbing.

This is where I found a bit of fault with Music Evolved, however. With only 33 songs at launch (more coming via DLC, of course) you can blow through the whole thing pretty quickly—and disappointingly, for a $60 title. In order to force a second playthrough, though, you can’t unlock the second remix for each song, and therefore can’t 100-percent the game unless you play each song again after beating the story mode.

While it was still fun, I felt limited by not being able to just unlock each remix and minigame on my first run and hated having to go back and play many songs that I didn’t particularly care for a second or third time seemingly just to push the game from a three-hour experience to a six-hour endeavor.

Also, 33 songs isn’t a lot at all, but I was also disappointed by the fact that a game with the word “Disney”—a company known for its fantastic cinematic music—didn’t use any iconic songs from their films to flesh out the soundtrack. One could argue that the original Fantasia only used classical compositions, and the couple of original pieces that composer Inon Zur (best known for contributing to game soundtracks such as Fallout 3, Dragon Age: Origins, and Soul Calibur V) adds are great, but then why do we have to deal with Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj? I’d much rather have had any number of songs from The Lion King, Aladdin, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, or The Jungle Book to really hammer home the Disney feel and flesh out what quickly feels like a paltry playlist.

That said—and musical tastes aside—I couldn’t deny how much fun I had during the short time Music Evolved lasted. Each of the game’s worlds is beautifully designed in regards to the cartoonish art style, and being able to interact with each one in weird, wonderful ways filled me with a surprising, childlike glee. The Kinect picked up my motions rather seamlessly, even in my tiny living space, and as I swept my arms around and saw the bright flashes of light and color onscreen, I felt like I was indeed moving the heavens to music like Mickey back in the 1940 film. Unlike Mickey, though, it’s much harder to fail in Music Evolved, and I found myself racking up huge multipliers and nailing at least 80 percent of the moves in every given song. There’s also no option to bump up the difficulty—songs are simply rated on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the hardest.

Beyond the core gameplay, though, the minigames might the brightest star in your orchestral sky. An assortment of different situations actually task you to think a little with pattern recognition and even require hopping about your living room as you charge up musical solar panels or realign the displaced pieces of a voice synthesizer. These elements aren’t limited to outside the songs, either. Five different games called “Composition Spells,” which also play an integral part to Scout’s story, allow you to mix notes while in the middle of playing a song and add a track unique to that particular playthrough.

With the ability to record game clips, you can also upload your best or most original performances to the Music Evolved YouTube channel, providing an interesting social wrinkle to what, by nature, is probably one of the least social of Harmonix’s games to date. There’s a local multiplayer component to Music Evolved, but it’s only for two people, and it can be a bit hard to track whose cues are whose when various swipes, punches, and traces start filling the screen.

Fantasia: Music Evolved may not be the deepest game, but it’s definitely a memorable one. It blends Harmonix’s ability to utilize music in interesting, dynamic ways with Disney’s uncanny knack to make most anyone feel like a kid provides a fun—albeit short—romp that once again provides that rare good Kinect experience.

Developer: Harmonix • Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios • ESRB: E10+ – Everyone 10 and up • Release Date: 10.21.14
7.5
Waving your arms in front of your TV like you’re conducting some kind of cosmic orchestra is a surprising amount of fun, but the lack of content leaves the experience feeling a bit bare.
The Good Simple, fun gameplay; looking around Yen Sid’s workshop; Inon Zur’s original compositions.
The Bad Lack of songs on disc, repeat playthroughs required to unlock all songs/remixes.
The Ugly Harmonix is still the only developer who knows how to make a fun Kinect game.
Fantasia: Music Evolved is available on Xbox One and Xbox 360. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Harmonix for the benefit of this review.

An EA Canada job listing suggests that an open-world Star Wars game is in development at the studio, Kotaku reports.

One of the listings, specifically for an animation director position, mentions that they’re looking for someone “…to help define and deliver on the vision for a major new next-gen open world action game.”

This would make EA Canada the third EA studio to start work on a Star Wars title since EA and Disney agreed to a 10-year licensing deal a short while ago. The other two studios are DICE, which is currently working on a new next-gen Star Wars: Battlefront, and Visceral Studios, which is working on a yet unnamed project that was revealed back in May by their own job listings.

Two other recent listings for Star Wars executive producers, one for EA Canada and another for Visceral Games, are almost identical and could signify a joint venture between the studios. 

EA Canada is best known for its work in developing both the NHL and FIFA sports franchises. The extra hires would make sense for the studio, since it would surely need to bolster its staff to take on another franchise, let alone one such as this (or even to collaborate with another studio, especially with the prospect of this being an open-world action title).

It doesn’t matter, though, if EA Canada is working with someone or alone, Star Wars fans everywhere must be excited by the prospect of multiple next-gen adventures coming their way at some point. Here’s hoping the Force is stronger with this one than it was with Star Wars: 1313. 

In anticipation of next week’s release of DuckTales: Remastered on PSN, Nintendo eShop, and Steam, and next month’s release on XBLA, Capcom sent a special package out to remind some of us of those great childhood memories we might’ve had playing the game.

At first we here at the EGM office thought it was just a lunchbox with the sweet art for DuckTales: Remastered plastered on the front. A fine piece of swag in and of itself. But, as I am wont to do with most packages that come into the EGM office, I gave it a good hearty shake before placing it down and realized there was something inside the tin bin.

Upon opening it, to our joyful surprise, we found the contents of the box were possibly as valuable as the whole of Scrooge’s moneybin. The lunchbox had been holding a limited edition golden NES cartridge for DuckTales (ours was numbered 107 of 150). Now, we don’t know if the cartridge is actually a legitimate, playable cartridge, but it has contacts and is well put together enough that we at least vow to bring an NES into the office tomorrow to try it out.

Along with the cartridge came a certificate of authenticity, several Duckburg themed coupons similar to those that you might find in an old school NES box, and advertisements from Capcom to check out some of their other classic games like MegaMan, Bionic Commando, and Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins.

You can check out the fully laid out contents of the box in the pictures below. Woo-oo!

UPDATE:

The NES cartridge does indeed work after some tests (and several NES’s) and is the 1989 version of the game.

Originally Published: October 8, 2010, on NationalLampoon.com and ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Disney Interactive Entertainment’s Guilty Party for the Nintendo Wii.

E3 – Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Originally Published: June 16th, 2010, on PlayerAffinity.com and Examiner.com

I had a chance to catch up with Sega, Atari, Spike Games, Disney, and Konami on the first official day of E3 2010!