(SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Of Mice and Mystery

Isn’t it strange that the same creatures that carry disease and caused the rapid spread of the Black Death in Europe back in the 1340s eventually became the world’s most iconic and recognizable characters? Clearly Walt Disney was doing something right when he thought up Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Capcom was doing just as well when they made The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie (otherwise known as Disney’s Magical Quest 2). As far as classic and memorable platformers from the ‘90s go, Disney had a handful of hits (we’re looking at you, Aladdin and The Lion King), and Great Circus Mystery fits right in with them.

The story starts out with Mickey and Minnie arriving at the circus. They talk about being late and hopefully finding their friends when their pal Goofy shows up. Goofy mentions that everything is a disaster, and then dismally walks off, leaving Mickey and Minnie to wonder what is really going on. As the story unfolds, you soon learn that the dastardly Baron Pete has taken over and cursed the land, leaving it up to Mickey and Minnie to stop him, return peace to all, and reunite with their friends. The plot is thin but family friendly. If you’re expecting the same quality of writing that goes into most Disney movies then you’ll be sorely disappointed, but the uplifting and cheerful mood of Mickey Mouse cartoons is translated pretty well.

You are given the choice to either play with one or two players. Whichever you choose, the adventure is still the same, but two players allows you and a friend to each control one of the mice and tackle the game simultaneously. Playing as one player simply means that you’ll be going it solo, but you still get to choose which mouse you would like to play as. Choosing one over the other doesn’t actually change gameplay at all and is really just a sprite swap. Whether you’re playing with one or two players, the game’s assorted difficulties still provide a decent enough challenge for all who approach.

The entirety of the game is a platforming adventure that spans across six levels. Each of these levels follows the same general structure: platforming, mini-boss battle, more platforming, and finally an actual boss battle. Despite the structure never changing, the levels are so diverse that you never really get bored with the formula. As you advance, you will be given different costumes, including a sweeper, a sort of safari suit and a cowboy costume. Each costume has different abilities that you will need to harness in order to defeat bosses or get past certain parts in the levels. Regardless of whatever powers your costume might add, jumping on the heads of enemies is still the easiest way to stun and kill them.

The controls are very straightforward and easy to master. Pressing B makes your character jump and Y picks up stunned enemies. The Y button is also used to activate the special powers that come with your costumes. The L and R buttons cycle through the different costumes that you have available, and the A button will make your mouse change into whichever costume you have selected. In games like this, tight controls are essential to good gameplay, and the sensitivity of your movements in Great Circus Mystery does not disappoint.

Visually and audibly, this is one of those great SNES games that stands out and shines bright. The colors are vibrant and the shading is done just right. The character sprites, be they good or evil, stand out from the backgrounds enough to be clearly visible, and everything looks crisp and tight. The soundtrack always remains appropriate for the level and situation, and listening to it is a delight.

Like many platformers at the time there is no save option, but there is the opportunity to plug in passwords in order to start at later levels. Starting over without the passwords shouldn’t be too much of a problem, however, because of how much fun this game really is. Many of the platform games from the SNES days banked on being enjoyable enough to be replayed over and over again, and this fits the bill perfectly. There aren’t secrets to unlock or items to collect as you play through, but that shouldn’t stop you from wanting to experience the adventure again and again.


The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie is short but incredibly sweet. Fans of classic platformers (or just people who enjoy having a good time playing a good game) shouldn't miss out on this one. The narrative may be weak but it fits what is to be expected from a family friendly Disney game. That being said, this is must-have for those of you who are looking for a good pickup-and-play type of game. Plague or not, who says talking rodents can’t star in a great game?

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User Comments (28)



Pokeman said:

I thought this game would have gotten a low rating but I was wrong!! When I saw some of the screen shots, they had pretty good graphics for a SNES game.



Corbs said:

I still love this game. Most of the Mickey games on SNES were really good.



Corbs said:

They did remake this for GBA called Disney's Magical Quest. Great game.



ogo79 said:

i think my girlfriend is intrested in this...she just found her own snes in her grandparents house...hmmm



DiggerandIndy said:

Nice review. Personally, I think this game's the black sheep of the Magical Quest games. I think Magical Quest 3 is much better, good enough to rival even the first one IMO.



StarBoy91 said:

I do agree that Disney's Aladdin on the SNES and The Lion King are good. The former is short, but the latter is hard, but they're both fun in their own way.



Link-Hero said:

I've played the first game and loved it back in the day. This one and the sequel after it looks pretty good too. I wish Disney would decide to release this game and all of the other Mickey Mouse games on the VC, but thats very unlikely sadly.



DiggerandIndy said:

It's the only Magical Quest game to be ported to the Genesis/Mega Drive. It's not as good as the SNES version. I know. I played it before.



Chrono_Cross said:

I played this game when I was really young. Never could solve it but I can say I had a blast with it. 8/10 is a perfect score.



NintyMan said:

I would love to play these classic Disney video games, especially Aladdin. I'll have to try them out sometime soon.



Token_Girl said:

I played Aladdin and Lion King on the Genesis and Game Gear (I loved those movies as a kid), and those were really good, so this isn't a surprise.



Sabrewing said:

Castle of Illusion was more classic and memorable than Aladdin and Lion King combined.



Vinsanity said:

I was really hoping SOMEONE would rediscover this game in the wake of Epic Mickey's release:) Good review, Nintendolife.

Though I find it weird that you guys haven't yet reviewed Epic Mickey. Playing through it right now and I'm quite enjoying it (despite the camera issues and dreadful, text loaded, tutorial laden beginning hour or so). Considering that some sites have been savaging it with generically worded, "I haven't really played this for more than a half hour" type reviews, I'm looking forward to seeing more reviews from sites I generally trust, like Nintendolife. I mean, I know it's a pretty amazing game - once the training wheels come off and everybody starts shutting up, anyway - but we all know that a few toxic reviews can unfairly paint a negative image of a great game, and doom it to commercial failure. The more fair reviews, the better. Get on it, Nintendo life!



BearClaus said:

I can't say I had much fun with this game. Co-op made it bearable, but as far as 16-bit platformers go, this one's not at all special. And the music is mostly terrible, unless the SNES version's soundtrack is completely different from the Genesis one's. I guess Mickey Mania has spoiled me.

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