Castle of Illusion vs. World of Illusion

Castle of Illusion vs. World of Illusion

Which is Mickey's best 16-bit adventure?

Alex Legard

Written by for Versus on

Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion are 2 top-notch platformers that star our favorite mouse so let's see which is the better game.

Castle of Illusion screenshot 1
Mickey's just having an evening stroll through some Aztec ruins

Graphics

Castle of Illusion has a huge number of locations such as an enchanted forest, toy box, storm, library, and castle and each stage has a sub-stage that looks completely different. For instance, the enchanted forest transitions into a haunted forest. Overall, the levels look pretty good and Mickey himself is adorable. Meanwhile, World of Illusion features an enchanted forest, above the clouds and under the sea areas, a library, and a magic box. If you look closely, some sections have moving foregrounds to create the illusion of 3D. Nowhere else is it more apparent than the big worm at the beginning of the game. I also liked seeing the more exotic stages in World of Illusion (above the clouds and under the sea) and for that, World of Illusion gets the slight edge in this category.

Music

Both games have incredible soundtracks. However, the library's background music in Castle of Illusion is one of the catchiest tunes that I ever heard. If you've played these games, I'm sure you'll agree but if not, just listen to the music in our gameplay videos below.

Challenge

Castle of Illusion seems a bit too hard for a Disney-inspired game made for kids; primarily because you only have 2 extra continues. On the other hand, World of Illusion is simply more enjoyable because you can freely retry as much as you like. The only penalty once you lose all of your lives is that you restart from the beginning of the stage so it ends up feeling a lot fairer, especially for modern standards.

Castle of Illusion: A Disney Classic
World of Illusion screenshot
No one likes water levels but Mickey seems to be enjoying himself!

Stages

Sure, the graphics are an important part of the level design but what about the gameplay that each stage offers? Castle of Illusion has great levels like the storm that forces you to explore the stage if you want to complete it and the toy box which has a fun gimmick where you can switch gravity. With that in mind; in World of Illusion, you learn a new spell at the end of each stage and some change up the gameplay (I particularly enjoyed the flying section) while others don't really lead to anything interesting. Overall, I think World of Illusion has the slight edge because it changes the gameplay between stages even more than Castle of Illusion does.

Bosses

Castle of Illusion's bosses are a lot of fun and challenging as you have to time your jumps with quite a lot of precision; well, except for the tree boss which you can just throw apples at while standing on the left edge of the screen. Mizrabel is a little frustrating, though. In World of Illusion, you can fight using your magic cape which has a substantial hitbox and makes fighting significantly easier. The first boss (an insect) is mindless but the rest offer a fair challenge and the final boss is rather wild. I can't decide which game I prefer!

World of Illusion: Donald Duck Joins the Fun
Castle of Illusion screenshot 2
What a visually impressive final boss!

Replay value

Both games have difficulty settings so you can replay each on hard difficulty if you really want a challenge. World of Illusion also stars Donald Duck and if you play as him, you can experience different stages than if you play as Mickey. World of Illusion can also be played with 2 players which makes it the clear winner for replay value. Anyway, let's see which game wins this retro match-up!

Winner World of Illusion

In my opinion, World of Illusion is the better overall game. Sega tried to change up the formula that they established with Castle of Illusion and as a result, we get swimming and flying sections, 2 player co-op, stages that play out differently depending on whether your character is Mickey or Donald, and visuals that push the Genesis hardware's limits. These changes made World of Illusion a fantastic experience while still feeling like a familiar game and that's exactly what a sequel should do.

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

Gameplay video playlist for Castle of Illusion vs. World of Illusion thumbnail
Gameplay video playlist for Castle of Illusion vs. World of Illusion 11:56
Sega Genesis Games Trivia

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