Tag Archives: Trophies

Some collectibles are better than others, but these stink

worst collectibles to collect rain gd post

There’s no shame in saying it, but I like collecting things. Both in real life and via my digital, interactive entertainment. That’s not to say I’m a hoarder, but if you give me a list of items existing somewhere out there, I’m most certainly going to try my darnedest to find them all and happily cross each one off. This most likely stems back to my younger days, on family vacations in Avalon, NJ. Besides playing a lot of Yahtzee by the swimming pool, I signed up for every scavenger hunt offered by our hotel that I could, and these often involved finding innocuous items like a specific type of seashell, a pair of sunglasses, and so on. I have fond if fuzzy memories of running around the hotel grounds like a maniac, looking for things and screaming with joy when they were found.

That said, as a player of videogames, sometimes finding items is not fun. Yeah, I know. What a hot take. Personally, I don’t need to be told specifically where each collectible is on the map, like in later Assassin’s Creed titles where you can just purchase these waypoint symbols from a shop. I prefer discovering them myself, but I also like knowing, generally, how many are in an area or which ones I’ve already found. Some record-keeping is vital, that way I don’t need to take mental notes as I pick up each shimmery doodad. The fear of leaving an area for good and suspecting I missed something is enough to lock my feet in the dirt.

Also, while not required, I greatly enjoy when the collectibles contain something else to them other than being a thing you gnab, such as some bit of additional in-game lore. Like in Tomb Raider and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, you find a thing, say a rusty knife, and that’s a collectible for sure, but you also have to interact with it and discover a hidden symbol to bring out story details. The collectible becomes more than just an object to pocket. Heck, at least collecting all those miscellaneous gizmos in Tom Clancy’s The Division got me some sweet, colorful outfits.

Because of recent actions, I’ve decided to put my brain to the task of coming up with a bunch of collectibles that absolutely stink. These are either not fun to find, do nothing for the player in the end, or maybe cover both of these issues. Regardless, boo to them, and boo to me for attempting to collect (some of) ’em. It’s a skill in others that I greatly admire, the ability to walk by these shiny sprites and polygons and not even care. Teach me how.

Gears of War – COG tags

COG tags are a mainstay of the Gears of War series, but they only become easier to track and find starting in Gears of War 2, which introduced the war journal, a sort of in-game notebook for keeping tabs on a number of things. However, for the first Gears of War, all you get is an X out of Y line when you pause the game. That’s it. I beat the game back at the end of 2013, with something like one-third of the COG tags found.

Recently, I glanced at the Achievements list to see if there was anything I could potentially pop before deleting the game from my Xbox One for forever and saw that two were related to finding the rest of the hidden thingamajigs. Alas, I basically had to follow a video guide to find each one, level by level, because I had no memory of the ones I had already picked up. Also, barely nothing happens when you bend down to grab these COG tags save for a less-than-impression sound cue. Obviously, this was early on in both the franchise and console generation, and figuring out how to implement collectibles was still in a nascent stage.

L.A. Noire – golden film reels

I’d have to go back and confirm this, but for some reason I feel really strongly that I only ever came across one of these 50 gold film canisters scattered about L.A. Noire‘s sprawling Los Angeles. They all contain names of films from the 1940s and 1950s. That’s cool. However, the problem is that they are extremely well-hidden. Maybe too well. In my search for hopping into the driver’s seat of every car in the game, 95 in total, another stinker of a collectible of sorts, I thought I explored a good chunk of the map. I guess not. I have no idea if finding all 50 golden film reels does anything for Cole Phelps and his ultimate destiny. It’d be cool if you could take these reels back to the police station and watch a few scenes during your coffee breaks, but I’m sure the licensing around something like that would be nightmarish.

Rain – lost memories

This blog post’s origins began with Rain, a game I completed on the first day of 2016. The collectibles in Rain are in the form of lost memories that the player can find to learn more about the young boy’s past. That’s fine and dandy, and there are 24 in total to collect, but here’s the sick kicker–these only are available to find after beating the game. Also, these only appear once you are in the exact location, which means you can’t spy them off from a distance; you have to know exactly where they are to start.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I burned my lunch hour to collect them all of them in a single go, following an online guide and abusing the checkpoint system so that I did not, in fact, have to play through the entire game again. Sorry, Rain–you have some great things going for you, but you are not that amazing or varied of an experience to go through again simply to now be able to collect floating orbs that give you the slimmest of slim story details to a story fairly slim on details to begin with. Ugh.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga – Blue Minikits

Speaking of ugh, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Here’s the thing. I’m totally and 100% completely used to collecting a number of things in all the LEGO videogames, from red bricks to gold bricks to characters to studs and so on. That’s just part of the flow, of going through levels and seeing what you can’t grab just yet, returning with the right characters/powers to pave the way. It’s been like this since day one. However, recently, Melanie and I worked our way through LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and it truly was like going back in time.

As part of our climb to hit 100% completion, we had to find 10 blue minikits in every single level. Sounds tedious, but not tough. Except it is because there is a time limit, and sometimes missing one blue minikit means replaying the whole thing over. You are also not able to use any cheats, which means having to deal with enemies while frantically scouring the scene for blue minikits. Most are hidden somewhat in the open, and others are dastardly wedged behind objects in the environment. The hardest level, without a doubt, was “Speeder Showdown,” where you kind of need luck on your side to progress swiftly and the extra five minutes was not enough. Took us multiple attempts, but the job is done, and, as far as I know, this type of gameplay hasn’t shown up in other LEGO titles.

The Last of Us – All of Them

Amazingly, there are four types of collectibles to hoard in The Last of Us. Specifically, 30 Firefly pendants, 14 comic books, 85 artifacts, and 12 training manuals that improve your crafting skills and such. I’m pretty sure only the last set has any impact on gameplay, and the remainder are just things for Joel to bend down, pick up, and pocket away for no other reason than to give you something to do in-between moving from a safe space to an area full of Cordyceps-inspired monsters. A few help flavor the world, for sure.

Okay, I just loaded up the game–evidently, I found 95 of 141 as of when I last played, which is way more than I initially assumed. Not sure why it felt so low in my mind, but maybe I was thinking of Trophies, which the game is stingy with. Oh well. Either way, these are pretty obscurely hidden throughout the game, and the artist in me really wanted to be able to open the comic books and read a few pages instead of just staring at the covers.

I know for a fact there are many more that I’m not touching on, like the flags from the original Assassin’s Creed, score pieces from Eternal Sonata, and kissing 50 women from The Saboteur.

That said, I’d like to know what collectibles gave you the most grief. Join the conversation below in the comments.

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POLISHING OFF: The Unfinished Swan

polishing-off-unfinished-swan

After polishing off Kung Fu Rabbit, I did another quick scan of the items closer to the top of my long, never not growing list of PlayStation Plus titles on the ol’ PlayStation 3, which still, to this day, probably gets the least attention from me. Yup, even my Wii U sees more turning on…granted, that’s mostly for Netflix in bed, but whatevs. I stopped on The Unfinished Swan, which, with its very name alone, demanded I jump back in, balls of paint at the ready, and complete whatever was left to complete. Turns out, not all that much.

It’s weird to realize that The Unfinished Swan is a game I totally played earlier this year, but them’s the facts. By the time credits had rolled, I had done a majority of everything there was to do, save for find all the collectibles, which in this game took the form as balloons hidden in the environment, and launch a blueprint box in the air at two different amounts of height. Anyways, to get those last ones, you first need to find all the balloons, as doing that then gives you access to the sniper rifle–calm down, Call of Duty players, it still only shoots paint and only for non-violent reasons–which helps to knock tossed items higher into the sky.

Honestly, the gathering up of balloons wasn’t as bad as I might have expected. I must have gotten a good chunk of them on my initial playthrough. However, maybe you are like me though–and if so, I’m sorry–and the thought of replaying entire sections of levels you just played to get a specific item or two can seem like too much or not a big barrel of fun, considering it isn’t anything fresh or unexpected. That said, with the help of the “balloon radar,” which fills up as you get closer to a collectible, it wasn’t too bad to find the remainder, except for the levels at the end of the game, which are dark and shrouded in shadows and spiders that only want to hurt you. At one point, I knew a balloon was somewhere nearby, but I had little light at my side and just started tossing paint balls left and right, eventually hitting it–talk about a shot in the dark.

After all that, I took one look at “Minimalist,” a Trophy asking the player to reach the Watchtower from the game’s opening level without throwing more than three paint balls, and an even harder look at a text walkthrough of how to do exactly that before deciding “no thanks” and uninstalled The Unfinished Swan from my PlayStation 3’s hard drive. To me, this swan was more than finished.

Completing a game doesn’t often mean finishing everything there is to do. For many games, long after I’ve given them a haiku review and post of final thoughts, there are still collectibles to find, side quests to complete, things to unlock, challenges to master, and so on. POLISHING OFF is a new regular feature where I dive into these checklist items in hope of finishing the game as fully as possible so that I can then move on to the one hundred and thirty-eight million other games begging for my attention.

 

This Kung Fu Rabbit will save every single sparkling carrot

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This month’s buffet of PlayStation Plus games is indie-themed, and while many in the comments are crying foul–or just plain crying–over the lack of AAA quality free digital downloads of brand new $60 retail releases, I’m more than thankful for the bite-sized adventures. Right now, with my backlog as large as ever and my current pipeline of in-rotation games all still vying for my attention, I’m more inclined to try something teeny yet satisfying than dipping into Batman: Arkham City or Thief and knowing that I have a long road ahead to finish them off. Which brings us to Kung Fu Rabbit. The game, not the animated feature.

It’s a cute platformer starring a rabbit that evidently knows Chinese martial arts, and I do not mean that condescendingly. It’s cute, it’s a platformer, and there are kung fu moves to use against dark, shadowy enemies. All of that is fact. For the titular kung fu rabbit, life in the temple hangs by a thread, with Universal Evil, represented as a big black orb-like being, striking again and kidnapping all of your disciples. Somehow, only you managed to escape, and you are now on a quest to rescue everyone, while also collecting as many carrots as possible, since they are the currency to buy upgrades and one-use items. I think that’s right; I stole some of that from the game’s description page, as the plot is revealed via wordless comic pages and be a little tricky to follow.

In Kung Fu Rabbit, you can jump…and that’s more or less it. Just kidding. You can also wall jump or lightly cling to walls, sliding down them slowly. Also, when you get near an enemy and its weak point, the rabbit will automatically do some kung fu maneuver and take it out. There are a bunch of levels separated into three worlds and a bonus cave, each requiring logic, precision, and agility to complete. There are three small carrots to gather, as well as a larger, shinier carrot worth double, which always respawns if one wanted to, or needed to, grind for currency. Every now and then, one of these carrots is hidden or harder to grab, requiring some extra attention.

What kind of magical things can one buy with lots of carrots, you surely ask? Let me tell you. First, I got my rabbit a new Mexican-themed outfit because…well, I don’t have to explain myself to you. There’s also one-time use items that can clear away enemies from the map, as well as other martial arts moves you can equip. To be honest, it’s not entirely clear what everything is as nothing has any kind of descriptor attached to it, just a button to press for purchase and donning. Seems like you can only equip one artifact–or artefact as the game likes to spell it–and I have no idea if the ones I bought prior are stacking on top of this. Again, some words would help, and not just on the loading screens.

Kung Fu Rabbit opens innocently enough, but the levels do ramp up in difficulty over time, introducing elements like vanishing platforms–everyone’s favorite, right?–and skybound enemies that can only be taken out by dropping down on them from above. Still, I’m chugging through this game relatively fast, popping lots of Trophies and getting perfect runs left and right. This is not me bragging, but questioning the touted “hours of gameplay” promised. I suspect I’ll be done kung fu-ing in another night or two, which again, is fine for me right now.

CounterSpy-ing has always gone on since ancient times

gd impressions counterspy screenshot1

Well, I could only resist for so long. CounterSpy, thanks to its stylish look and sneaky-sneaky gameplay, has been calling out to me every time I scroll by it on my list of PlayStation 3 games, having downloaded it as a PlayStation Plus freebie back in March 2015. It’s just one of many stealth games in my collection I’m thirsty to drink, and while it wasn’t a very tall glass in the end, I still found the act of undermining both sides of an alternate Cold War era to be refreshing. Plus, I’ll never tire of tranquilizing dudes, watching a fellow soldier come over to investigate their sleeping buddy, and then tranquilizing them. I still think fondly back to that time I stuffed about eight or nine sleeping soldiers in a vent in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

CounterSpy ends up combining spy mythology with the colorful, striking aesthetics of the 1950s and 1960s, a time period for art that I will never not find fascinating. As previously mentioned, it’s set during the Cold War, though not exactly the one we experienced on this planet. You control an agent of C.O.U.N.T.E.R., a rogue agency that keeps–or at least attempts to–the world’s superpowers in peace. As each side of the ongoing conflict inches its way closer to seeing who can blow up the moon first, which seems like a terrible idea regardless of who does it, C.O.U.N.T.E.R. gets to work sabotaging their plans and maintaining peace.

You do this by sneaking around a left-to-right scrolling level, either for the Socialists or the Imperialists, depending on who is the current greater risk, and stealing launch plans, gathering intel, taking out soldiers, and so on. The levels themselves are randomly generated, though by the end of the game you begin, much like in Spelunky, to learn how several chunks fit together with one another. I always knew where the developers were trying to hide an accessible vent behind foreground elements. As you gather enough plans, you’ll learn about rocket launch codes and flight plans, knowing enough to intervene and stop those death-carrying rockets from lifting off–but the last level plays out in the same fashion as the previous levels, with only more soldiers to deal with; it was the most challenging part of my playthrough, but it only took another try to set the world’s superpowers straight.

As you play CounterSpy and do your counterspying thing, you’ll gather blueprints for both weapons and formulas, which act like purchasable perks before each mission. During my first playthrough, I only unlocked two formula, one which lessened the amount of damage to my agent and another that instantly lowered the threat level by a single amount, and I used these two each and every time, no matter how poor I was. For guns, I always carried a lethal rifle for when things went topsy-turvy, but mostly stuck with the silenced pistol and sleep tranquilizer gun, always trying for the quietest of approaches. That said, when things go bad–and they can go bad fast–I wasn’t afraid to unleash real bullets. It’s here often that you’ll wish the agent moved with more fluidity, that he could actually jump or that aiming on a 2.5D background was easier. There’s a lot of talk right now about how escaping heated moments of discovery in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is more fun than anything else, and that’s not the same case with CounterSpy.

Visually, CounterSpy is a delight, and it shows that indie studio Dynamighty is founded by LucasArts and Pixar veterans. I see a lot of The Incredibles‘ influence here with the bold colors and larger-than-life propaganda, but I wish the writing between missions was either super serious or entirely goofy; as it stands, it’s both, which can be confusing when you are talking about blowing up Earth’s moon. Plus, and this is a terribly small issue to bring up, but there’s an inconsistent use of a period at the end of C.O.U.N.T.E.R., which drives me batty. Regardless, it’s not really the story that shines here, but seeing how far you can get through a highly patrolled base before getting spotted.

One could probably get through CounterSpy in a single sitting, but I liked to space it out over a few nights. Undermine the Imperialists, then take a break and see what the Socialists are up to. Get some new weapons and read a few dossiers while enjoying a cup of java. Either way, I’ve started a new campaign on the next higher difficulty and am not finding it as fun to slog through once more. I might continue on to get a few more Trophies before diffusing this operation entirely from my list of need-to-play-soon games.

The supreme art of war in Metal Gear Solid IV is to subdue the enemy without fighting

mgs iv act one gd early thoughts

Well, the timing of me playing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots could not be any poorer. Giant Bomb is gearing up (pun totally intended) for their next neck-stab at Metal Gear Scanlon, and, as with previous playthroughs, I like to experience it all first and then enjoy watching Dan and Drew figure things out on their own. Unfortunately, from this point on in the series, I’ve not touched any of the subsequent games, and so it is extra imperative that I see how Old Snake fairs before anyone else. Alas, I’m about to head out of town, and I only just finished the first Act, with many more hours to go, which means I’ll have to barrel through it all as soon as possible upon my return to New Jersey.

My biggest gripe so far with Old Snake’s revenge-driven plight against Liquid/Revolver Ocelot has to do with items, specifically the number of them you pick up in Act 1 alone. It is staggering and overwhelming, and all I found myself doing was ignoring the majority of guns and non-weapon items and sticking to the tried and true arsenal of Snake’s previous adventures. Like the tranquilizer gun and cardboard box, or, in the case of the Middle East, a deadly drum can. I’m also not completely sold on the item of earning points for picking up duplicate weapons, which you can spend through Drebin 893, a black market arms dealer. So far, I bought a sniper rifle, used it once, and haven’t looked back.

Amazingly, despite the epic scope and constant what-the-eff moments in the series, I can summarize the plot of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots in a single sentence. Here we go. Shortly after learning that he only has a year-long lifespan because of Werner’s Syndrome, Snake is given a mission by Colonel Roy Campbell to assassinate Liquid in the Middle East. Naturally, from there, things get crazy. I’ve run into some familiar characters, like Otacon and Meryl, as well as met some new, fairly untrustworthy sorts. Namely–Drebin and his monkey.

Gameplay picks up and remains constant from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, with players now assuming the role of an aged Solid Snake. Lovingly called Old Snake. He still uses stealth, close quarters combat, and traditional gun mechanics. Most aiming with a gun is via an over-the-shoulder angle, but thankfully there’s an optional first-person view via the toggle of a button, which I found extremely handy when aiming with the tranquilizer gun. Basically, it’s the same ol’ Metal Gear I’ve been playing this last year and change, with one big change–old bones.

Welcome to the Psyche Meter. Basically, psyche is decreased by non-lethal attacks and influenced by battlefield psychology. Stressors, such as temperature extremes, foul smells, taking damage, and being stalked by the enemy, increase Snake’s stress gauge, eventually depleting his psyche. This then affects Old Snake’s ability to aim, more frequent back pain, and a higher possibility of him passing out upon receiving damage. There are a few methods for restoring psyche–eating, drinking, smoking, reading an adult magazine, or making a Codec call to a certain someone I will not name to keep this spoiler-free. All that said, I’ve found everything pretty manageable, but please also note I’m playing on the standard difficulty, only dying a few times due to not paying attention to the health meter and equipping a ration in time.

As I expected, I have a lot of questions about Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Like, what’s up with Meryl and her team? In my playthrough of Metal Gear Solid 1, I was unable to endure the torture sequence and save her, but I guess the canon outcome is that she lived. Hmm. Also, um, at the start of Act II, one of the Beauty and Beasts Corps, a team of female PMC operatives in mechanized suits, took on the visage of Old Snake in a way that did not sit well with me. Lastly, how come Rat Patrol’s “Akiba” was unaffected by Liquid’s mind-controlled gas? I’m sure the answer is “because he shits his pants,” but part of me hopes there’s more to the man than that. Guess I’ll find out…in a few weeks. Until then, Old Snake and friends.

It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, Duke Nukem 3D

duke nukem 3d ps3 early impressions gd

If you’re wondering how I can go from playing something like The Incredibles to Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition in one fell swoop, keep on wondering. Call it a palette cleanser, call it a leap of faith, or call it fortuitous timing–whatever helps you sleep at night. See, while I’ve had a copy of 3D Realms’ risqué tour de force from 1996 on the PC, it has sat untouched, uninteresting, especially since I struggled with its keyboard controls upon initially trying it some months back. However, this month, for PlayStation Plus, the first-person shooter with enough catchphrases to appease any 90s macho man action movie fan is a free download, and so I bit. Cue some tastelessly sexual one-liner from the man of the hour.

Real quick–and this will truly be real quick–here’s my history with the Duke Nukem franchise: I played one, and only a little bit of it at that. Yup, of the 15 or so iterations in the series, the only one I can remember experiencing, and through a demo at that, is Duke Nukem: Time to Kill for the original PlayStation. The clearest memories I have of it are time-traveling pig cops and strippers, so there you go. It was not a first-person shooter either, following more in the footsteps of Lara Croft.

Duke Nukem 3D‘s “plot” is nestled not so elegantly between a loud fart and the menu options: As Duke heads for Los Angeles in hopes of taking a vacation, his spaceship is shot down by unknown hostiles. Quickly, Duke realizes that aliens are attacking LA and have mutated the LAPD into horrible monsters. With his vacation plans now ruined, Duke vows to do whatever it takes to stop this alien invasion, including spouting a bunch of corny one-liners if necessary. That’s it. You’ll go from level to level, shooting aliens, with the next goal after that of shooting more aliens. I’m guessing the final action Duke takes in this game is shooting an alien.

This is no graphical masterpiece, nor will I sit here and believe you when you say it was at the time of its release. Everything is pixelated, and not in a good way. The enemies are flat, and I don’t mean that in terms of their personalities; they vanish if you strafe around them too fast. When you use the kick button, Duke tries to stomp whatever is in front of him, and depending on what you position him against, his foot either looks like a kid’s foot or a giant’s foot. That said, still ridiculous. I’m also not a big fan of how Duke appears when presented with a mirror, seemingly ice skating on solid ground. The shooting, y’know, the thing you are doing for the majority of the game, is okay, but often feels empty, like putting a number of bullets into an enemy pillow; I can’t even tell if these shotgun blasts are connecting, but I guess they are since I’m not walking in a bloody pile of skin and bones.

Here’s the best thing about Duke Nukem 3D: secrets! This game is loaded with them, and I’m a big fan of clicking against a wall and having it suddenly swing open to reveal extra health or a new weapon. Ideally, the library in my future dream house with have many hidden cubbies, accessible only if you touch the specific copy of The Hobbit or A Separate Peace. There’s a Trophy for finding at least seventy of them, but there are well over three hundred based off the stats screen. I’m not trying to look up every single one for every single level, but when I do get curious or lost and unsure of what to do next, I’m finding this site to be very helpful.

Progress-wise, I’m just starting the Lunar Reactor, which is level 8 from episode 2, conveniently called Lunar Apocalypse. I really burned through the entirety of episode 1: L.A. Meltdown the first night I started playing, but it seems like the levels have steadily gotten both longer and more challenging. I am also finding myself saving and re-loading more often in fear of losing problems due to some problems I’ll mention in the next paragraph. After this episode, there are two more episodes to go, plus three expansions. Whew, that’s a lot of listening to Duke say “Damn… I’m looking good!” I hope to get through it all, but it might be just the four main episodes, we’ll see.

All is certainly not well in Megaton Edition. For starters, I’ve had the game hard-lock twice (though not at Duke’s war table), stutter and even skip ahead, and lose rewind progress to corruption. It’s a buggy port of an old game, no doubt about it. And then there’s the multiplayer aspect. Oh boy. Granted, I really shouldn’t have expected anything, but I wanted to give it a try. There are two modes after you select a ranked or non-ranked session: one on one or a free-for-all with up to eight players. Unfortunately, horrendous lag makes it nearly unplayable, and any actual interaction, meaning your Duke shooting another Duke, is purely comical. I’ve managed a few kills, but it all came down to auto-aim luck or a decently tossed pipe bomb. It’s just a sad mess.

Here’s to many more dead aliens and outdated pop culture references as I continue forward to be the brainless action hero Duke is destined to be, but only that.

Castle of Illusion starring the semblance of magical platforming

castle of illusion screenshots_launch_01

A couple weeks back, I had a serious hankering for some Trophy poppin’, and so I scanned my list of already played games to see if any looked easy enough–note that I didn’t say fun enough–to unlock still. My scroll came to a stop on Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, which I beat some time over the summer and then never really said a word about, save for a mention in the April 2014 edition of the Half-hour Hitbox. Truthfully, there’s not a terrible amount to say about this remake, but I’ll find some words nonetheless.

First, do you know what this game was originally called in Japan? I Love Mickey Mouse: Great Mysterious Castle Adventure. That makes me smile. Second, this was a freebie for PlayStation Plus subscribers back in April, and you also got a digital copy of the original Genesis version to boot, though I’ve only gone through the remake so far. If the remake is any indication of the challenge level for the original, I’ll pass on a second romp through Mickey Mouse’s magical castle.

Let me break down what we’re doing here. Castle of Illusion is a side-scrolling platformer, with Mickey Mouse on the hunt for an evil witch called Mizrabel, who has kidnapped Minnie Mouse in an attempt to steal her youth. Um, I guess she doesn’t realize that Minnie first appeared in 1928’s “Steamboat Willie” short, making her somewhere around 86 years old. Regardless of that hard fact, to stop Mizrabel, Mickey needs to collect seven rainbow gems to build a bridge to the castle tower where Minnie is being held.

So, the platforming is pretty basic, which is understandable when you remember this was all born in a 1990 Sega Genesis cartridge. You move left, you move right, you jump up to platforms, and, from them, to others spaced apart. Mickey’s main attack for dealing with enemies is bouncing on them, but he can also collect projectiles, such as apples and marbles, to throw. You can collect items to restore Mickey’s health or grant him an extra life–much like with recent Mario titles, extra lives are pointless–and then there’s a handful of collectibles in each world, such as diamonds and chili peppers for Donald Duck. No, I don’t understand it either. Every third level in a themed world ends in a boss battle against one of Mizrabel’s henchmen, and only the final spout against Mizrabel herself proved challenging, though maybe frustrating is the better descriptor.

For Trophies, I still needed to do a few things, but figured since the platforming was so simple and the levels were extremely short, it wouldn’t be a big hassle. Turns out, it wasn’t a big hassle. I used a spoiler-free guide to point me in the right direction for getting all the magic playing cards, chili peppers, and castle statue pieces. I even managed to jump on seven enemies in a row without hitting the ground, though it took a few attempts. By the end, I got all the Trophies save for one, which asks you to collect all 800 diamonds. I stopped at, ironically, though not to you, 713 of them and don’t have the energy left to find the remainder, which are now scattered across multiple levels. For instance, one early level has only three left to find, but I’ve gone through it multiple times now to no avail. There are better things to collect in other games, like feathers in Assassin’s Creed II or exotic foods in Tomodachi Life.

If you’re a Disney fan and are looking for a light, breezy platformer, by all means, play Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Certainly play it ten times before ever even thinking of touching Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. But I wanted more, especially in a remake. More challenge, more variety to the given variety. I know there might not have been much to work with from the original title, but remakes have wiggle room. There’s an illusion here, for sure, but it’s only that you’re actually playing the same game from 1990, now with Trophies tied to tasks.