Although Epic Mickey
was listed as one of Topless Robot
's nine biggest disappointments of 2010
-- based mostly on that awesome early concept art and what could've been -- that doesn't mean the game itself is totally without merit. In fact, I've played the game and I have to say, other than some camera issues and some responsiveness problems, it's hella awesome. As a gamer and a huge Disney fan, I loved it both for the adventure aspects of it and the smart nods to the vast history of the Disney empire.
The game has obvious characters appear, like Donald, Goofy, Clarabelle, and the Beast, and it all takes place in a run-down version of Disneyland, complete with appropriate landmarks. And while everything (down to the barrels in Tomorrowland shaped like the robots from The Black Hole
) is taken from some Disney product, there are some small touches that just kick major ass. Keep in mind, there are entire messageboards devoted to finding every single reference in the game, so we're keeping it short here.
10) The Basketball Court
The Matterhorn Bobsled Rides from Disneyland appear in the game as "Mickeyjunk Mountain," a garbage dump where unused Mickey Mouse merchandise goes to rot. Every piece of junk that ever had the mouse's ears slapped on it is there, including an Easter egg for Disney park historians: the basketball court. The true story is that at one time (no longer, however), Disney employees actually set up a basketball half-court in the top of the Matterhorn ride, where they could play during breaks without park guests knowing. You can find it in the Mickeyjunk Mountain level by the Mickey greeting card.
9) The Dog Collar
Hidden in Walt Disney World (formerly in Disneyland) itself is a ride/show called "Carousel of Progress." It tells of all the advances made in technology from the viewpoint of an average American family which consists of a dad (voiced by A Christmas Story
's Jean Shepherd), a mom, some kids, and a dog that changes breeds from setting to setting. It's not one of Disney's most popular attractions, but the ride gets acknowledged in Epic Mickey
-- you have to find the missing dog's collar. Of course, the dog isn't shown anywhere in the game, but the thought's nice.
The most persistent enemy in the game is the Splatters, blobs of goo that follow you around and take off hit points. They're in nearly every level, but don't always look the same. Why? Because they often wear costumes appropriate for their location! The Spatters in the Adventureland level dress like the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Spatters in Tomorrowland dress like the characters in Tron
(and they light up if you hit them with paint), and the Spatters in the Haunted Mansion level wear the top hats and tuxedos of the real Haunted Mansion staff at the Disney Parks!
7) Hidden Cartoons
With all the tributes to classic forgotten Disney films, it's appropriate that the game include a few as Easter eggs. By collecting film canisters in the various 2-D levels, you can redeem them later in the game for prizes like extra health and collectible pins. But collect 20 and you can view the entire 1933 Mickey Mouse cartoon The Mad Doctor
from the Extras menu. Collect 30 (pretty much only do-able by completing the game and re-starting) and you can see the rarely-glimpsed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short Oh What a Knight
6) Mary Blair Art
Behind every Disney film are dozens of concept artists whipping up sketches and paintings of different ways characters and scenes could eventually turn out. One of the earliest and most recognizable was Mary Blair, whose eye-catching concepts led to the look and feel of "It's a Small World" and numerous Disney films and theme park rides. During her life, she produced thousands of drawings and paintings, which now sell for thousands of dollars. Every cutscene (and there are a lot) in Epic Mickey
follows her distinctive "paper cut-out" style. Nice tribute to a Disney legend!