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Disney Epic Mickey Preview

I tell you everything I know about Epic Mickey.

So we've seen the posters, we've heard Nintendo's press conference, and now, finally, I've had the time to get an up-close look at Epic Mickey.

As it turns out, a lot of my analysis was pretty accurate. I was able to look a little at the three different worlds available, with Quest area, a platforming area, and an adventure area. In addition, I saw a bit of how the paint mechanics work, and learned a lot about how the game play interacts with the player through the choices you, as a player will make while playing Epic Mickey.

To begin with, as was highlighted in E3, the first area was a Quest area, similar to a town, and in it, Mickey would run around, talk to various characters, all either well-known or styled as though they were direct from Disney's own drawing. I saw Shmee, as well as Mickey's Goblin pal, who might be a bit like Link's own Navi, who's design came straight from the The Gremlins, a story of which Roald Dahl and Walt Disney collaborated. As the developer explored the area, there were several references to Disney and Disney theme parks to be found, including the Enchanted Tiki room, though unfortunately, the Tiki birds were nowhere to be found.

As we progressed through the stage, I learned that there's plans, or at least designs of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse to be found in the first Quest area, but even more, I learned from the developer exactly how they decided to build the game.

See, Epic Mickey isn't a game full of all the success of Disney. Why not call the place Disneyland, like the massively successful theme park that was used in so much of the art? Because it contains many of Disney's failures, including unreleased attractions, along with designs based on concept art, and things that are less popular or just never took off related to the Disney Brand. The world is called "Wasteland" because it's not quite Disneyland, and it doesn't just seem to be Oswald or the Phantom Blot's re-imagining of Disneyland, either. That could be why Shmee is without a Captain Hook and why the Cinderella's Castle we think we saw wasn't actually Cinderella's, but maybe her sister's or adoptive mother. Everything is twisted enough so that it really doesn't match Disney's vision like one would expect.

Anyway, as we progressed, it turned out that pirates were being taken and actually "machinified," and Shmee wants you to help un-machine them. Unfortunately, though, it seems the best way to set out to do this is to find a compass, a ship's wheel, and some other object, in order to complete a ship and travel to Skull Island.

Now, interestingly enough, to move from area to area, you play in a "sketch," in this case is was the classic Disney toon, Steamboat Willy. Via this transitional stage, Mickey moves on to Skull Island, a twist of Neverland, where instead of a single cove looking like a skull, the entire island details the skull. Skull Island was considered an Adventure Zone, if I recall correctly.

Here, we saw a bit about how paint works, simply enough. "Cartoons" or brighter objects in the stage can have paint thinner spread on them, and they disappear. At one point, in order to get into a cave, the developer erased a stone pillar, a feature of a mountain, and found a switch inside. Pressing it caused bars to retract into the cave wall, where we found an anchor that was holding a boat steady.

In regards to combat, it's actually entirely up to the player to decide how he or she wants to play through the game. The paint materials, if you haven't realized can be both constructive and destructive. They can erase parts of stages, the ground, walls, building, or they can unveil new, brighter areas, as well. They have a comparable effect in battle, surprisingly. If Mickey paints on an enemy, and coats the enemy well enough, the enemy will actually join Mickey's side and fight off unpainted enemies. When a painted enemy is hit, it seems he or she loses some of the paint sprayed on, along with health. It appears some challenges revolve around defeating or converting every enemy in the area.

Basically, it seems that Epic Mickey is a game steeped in the history of Disney and all of the Disney creations. While it's possible Quest Zones/Areas could have other themes, the one we were able to see was based off a twist of Adventureland, from Disneyland, while the Adventure Zone/Area was based on Peter Pan. It's possible later stages will follow suit, but nothing was confirmed.


 

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Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

06/15/2010 at 04:40 PM

Later tonight, I'll try to upload the ten minutes of Epic Mickey footage I picked up. The developer was explaining everything going on, but since it was loud in the Expo, his words may be imperceptible.

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