100th Review Special, Part 3: Thrashing the Threes

Whether it was through Schoolhouse Rock, De La Soul’s debut album, or the Planescape setting of Dungeons & Dragons, we were taught that three is the magic number. That is sort of the case here on Extra Life as well. Specifically, 3/10 is that highest score a game can get without me being able to recommend it. The main difference between this grade and the two that preceded it is that I can imagine people liking the following games in a non-ironic fashion. I would suggest several alternatives, but I can see why they would garner a fanbase, as there’s enough to like about them.

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Adventures in the Magic Kingdom

The late eighties marked Disney’s resurgence after nearly two decades of underperforming films. During their return to relevance, an up-and-coming gaming console known in North America and Europe as the Nintendo Entertainment System emerged. It revitalized the North American gaming industry after its severe crash in 1983. As many of the games on this platform became bestsellers, companies owning famous, successful franchises would license their properties to developers so they could capitalize on this rapidly growing trend. Unfortunately, many of these titles wound up being transparent cash grabs, as these largely unknown companies would put only the bare minimum amount of effort into creating them.  Products that could hardly be considered finished lined the store shelves alongside earnest efforts, waiting to swindle enthusiasts out of their hard-earned money.

Disney themselves would follow suit, allowing a company to turn their IPs into video games. However, in an unexpected move, the developer to whom they gave permission was Capcom. By this point in history, the company had made a name for themselves with classic arcade games such as Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Gun.Smoke. Their success continued in the home market once they released the first installment in what would become their most well-known franchise: Mega Man. Capcom gathered their most talented programmers, creating adaptations of DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers, and Tale Spin among others. Many of these efforts continue to be highly regarded to this day as some of the finest examples of licensed games in the medium’s history. Another one of the games released during this time was Adventures in the Magic Kingdom. This stands out slightly among Capcom’s other Disney-based games in that it’s an adaptation of a real-life location rather than a show or movie. It also generally isn’t remembered as much as their other Disney games. Does it nonetheless have a place in the NES library as an underrated classic?

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