There was a time in the realm of gaming where games inspired by licensed properties weren't always the rushed cash grab a number of them are today. At one time, they were as detailed and dedicated as the subject matter that inspired them, and Disney was one of the best at the business.
There are some really incredible games under the Disney name, but their best work was back in the '90s where colors were bright and 16-bit graphics were king. Disney has released many a fun and action-packed title in their day, but we've got ten of the best the era had to offer. This is our selection of ten great '90s Disney games.
10 Disney Villains Revenge
We'll start things out with a PC game that was actually pretty impressive for its time. Disney's Villains Revenge is a computer game for young players, but with a distinctively dark premise and art style. How many other Disney games have evil clowns and decapitations?
Peter Pan has been bested by Captain Hook, Alice has lost her head, Dumbo is imprisoned in the clowns' circus, and Snow White is still under her sleeping spell in this twisted adventure. It's up to the player to help Jiminy Cricket restore the happy endings, or else surrender to the plot of the villains.
9 Darkwing Duck
Though a little stiff on the controls and definitely taking more than a few inspirations from Mega Man, Darkwing Duck on the NES brings the quack-tastic crime-fighter to the home console. Become the terror that flaps in the night as you take up the cape of Darkwing Duck and test your might against some of his greatest adversaries like Bushroot, Quackerjack, and Steel Beak.
The game isn't perfect by any means, but it's not bad at all. It's one of those games that's simple yet effective. If you've not played it for yourself, it did get a rerelease on the PS4 with other Disney Afternoon classics.
8 Toy Story
Toy Story is one of those movies that just lends itself over to the realm of video games with ease, and the Genesis/SNES title is a prime example of that fact. Taking a page or two from the Donkey Kong Country series, the Toy Story video game takes its visual inspiration directly from the film with its models, making for some impressive visuals for the time.
In this Pixar-inspired platformer, you play as Woody through levels inspired by the plot of the film. Take on a nightmare version of Buzz Lightyear, the Pizza Planet claw machine, and a sea of hostile toys all along your quest to return to Andy's House.
7 The Lion King
Both the Genesis and SNES versions of this incredible title are classics in their own right and few video game adaptations of movies capture their source material better. In The Lion King, you can play as Simba on his quest to save Pride Rock, encountering various enemies and areas inspired by sequences of the film, including a certain infamous monkey level.
The visuals, soundtrack, and gameplay are all crisp, well-made, and distinctly Disney. From the Pridelands to the Elephant Graveyard, players will instantly recognize the various levels and features the game has to offer. It's certainly one of our favorites, and we can't wait to play its rerelease.
Speaking of games getting a rerelease, we can't talk about The Lion King without talking about Aladdin's game too. This game had some of the most polished platforming and graphics the 16-bit era had ever seen. Probably because Disney had their own artists work on some of the designs with Virgin.
Hop on a carpet and fly to another Arabian night with this action platformer featuring everyone's favorite street rat, Aladdin. If you're looking for solid platforming, magic spells, and lots of great designs, plug into this classic from Disney. If only we could get a re-release for the SNES version.
5 Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers
There are few couch-co-op games as blissfully simple and engaging as Chip and Dale rescue rangers for the NES. Even with its 8-bit graphics, the game looks wonderful and the platforming is still just as solid now as it was then. The combat might be a bit over-easy, but points for its replayability.
The game encaptures everything we could expect from an episode of Rescue Rangers, from an assist from Zipper to foiling the evil plot of the nefarious Fat Cat. If the gameplay won't reel you in with its charming design, the tunes certainly might try.
4 Goof Troop
A Disney game designed by the mind behind Resident Evil? Surely we jest. As surprising and strange as it sounds, Shinji Mikami got his start in the video game industry working on this colorful co-op title on the SNES. Though there is a severe lack of zombies, we can't say we don't feel his genius here.
Goof Troop is a co-op puzzle game where players can play as Goofy and Max as they try to save Pete and PJ from some scurvy pirates on Spoonerville Island. The premise is just as zany as the cartoon, but we wouldn't expect anything less from a Goofy game.
He puts the glad in gladiator, he's got rippling pectorals and a winged horse, and he's featured in a pretty deep PS1 title. We are, of course, talking about the man, the myth, the legend, Hercules. Based on the movie of the same name, Hercules is a 2.5-D action platformer that was way ahead of its time.
Players can hack and slash there way through ancient mythological settings as the heroic Herc, taking on a menagerie of monsters an enemies all along the way. Using both background and foreground as a battlefield, the game definitely had some creative mechanics and is in desperate need of a rerelease.
2 Mickey's Magical Quest
If it's one thing Disney knew how to make in the '90s, it was a solid platforming game. Who better to take on that medium than Mickey Mouse, right? Disney's Magical Quest was a series of platformers designed by Capcom starring our favorite mouse in a number of enchanted adventures.
Though it's an impressive series, it's the first game to win a spot on our list thanks to its user-friendly nature and choice of empowering outfits. Who doesn't love Mickey as a wizard, right? Though this game is a classic from both Disney and Capcom, it might not exist without the last on our list.
1 Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
One of the most iconic and influential platformers in Disney's library has to be Castle of Illusion this Sega masterpiece is what solidified Mickey Mouse as a platforming character that could give both Sonic and Mario a little competition. It's a standard save-the-princess type scenario, but one with enough creative designs and elements to keep it fresh.
The controls are sharp, the visuals are interesting and engaging, and the boss fights are anything but boring. It's a game that any hardcore Disney fan should play. If you thought the Sega Genesis version was great, you should really try its remastered edition.