Epic Mickey

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The choice: Mascot, or Miscreant?
"I love the nostalgic, myself. I hope we never lose some of the things of the past."

Epic Mickey is a Disney game for the Wii developed by Junction Point, spearheaded by Warren Spector of Deus Ex and System Shock fame. In an ambitious effort to help Disney restore Mickey Mouse's iconic status, it brings back the happy memories of Disney's classic short subjects and feature length films from their Golden Age, Silent Age, Dark Age, and Renaissance Age as well as attractions from the Disney Theme Parks of old...

...But NOT in the way anybody expected.

The story begins with Walt Disney's original cartoon star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, after finally getting Walt some success and recognition, being taken from him over a budget dispute, fading into obscurity, and being replaced by his younger half-brother Mickey Mouse. Fortunately, he becomes the first resident of a world created by the wizard Yen Sid for forgotten and rejected Disney creations and ideas. This world, called Wasteland (based on the Disney Theme Parks), exists as a small model on a table within Yen Sid's tower. Oswald takes this world as his own, presenting himself as a king there. Soon after, Oswald teams up with The Mad Doctor, another early resident of Wasteland—together, they create the robotic Beetleworx, which serve as construction tools for Wasteland, as well as relocators for new residents of the world, and together they try to make Wasteland a comfortable home for the other lost Disney characters who later join them—but Oswald grows resentful of his younger brother over time due to his increasing popularity. In a vain effort to emulate the life he never had, he makes a very large family with his feline girlfriend Ortensia, and has The Mad Doctor build robotic copies of Donald Duck and Goofy to help him recreate the adventures Mickey went on—but even this fails to fill the void.

Later on, Mickey himself stumbles into Yen Sid's tower, after being lured in by the wizard's mischevious (or malicious) magic mirror. Shortly after arriving, he sees Yen Sid put the finishing touches on Wasteland. Content with his progress, Yen Sid goes off to sleep, while Mickey decides to put his own touch on Wasteland—he spots the magic paintbrush Yen Sid was using and begins to fiddle with it, but accidentally creates a monster called the Shadow Blot and spills paint and paint thinner all over the model. Hearing Yen Sid approaching, Mickey tries to erase the Blot and quickly clean up... and ends up spilling even more thinner on the model, creating a gaping hole in it, and then flees back to his bedroom via the mirror before the wizard returns. Despite Mickey's attempt to hide his transgression, the not-so-dead Blot persists and enters Wasteland via the hole; there, it takes over Wasteland, twisting it into a sinister and dangerous version of the original, and drives Oswald and any resistance into hiding during the conflict, henceforth called "The Blot Wars". The Doctor promptly stabs Oswald in the back (as he had always wanted to) and sides with the Blot, if just to further his own agenda.

Decades later, having long forgotten the incident, Mickey is suddenly pulled into Wasteland from his home via the Blot. Mickey manages to grab the magic paintbrush before he is pulled in, so he can create and erase things with paint and thinner. After narrowly escaping from Dark Beauty Castle and the Doctor and Blot's attempt to remove his heart, as well as having a brief encounter with Oswald, Mickey's initial goal is to simply return home, but his discovery of the miserable state of Wasteland and its inhabitants, including old friends like Horace Horsecollar, cause him to change his plans.

Now the mouse must regain the trust of his resentful older half-brother Oswald, foil the Mad Doctor, and stop the Shadow Blot to save and restore Wasteland, all while trying to keep his heart, the symbol of those who remember and love him, which is all the Blot needs to escape into the real world.

So, if you haven't guessed already, this is the other series that turns our hero into a complete Badass. It's also being adapted into a couple of kids' books and a prequel Web Comic and graphic novel written by Peter David.

A sequel, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (selected from a batch of subtitles that also included Return of the Mad Doctor and Mystery on Mean Street) was released on multiple consoles in 2012 and features co-op play, with a second player controlling Oswald, who flies like a helicopter and attacks with electricity. The game is also a musical, with Mickey's moral choices affecting the tunes, and among the new areas open in Wasteland is Frontierland. Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans) co-wrote the script.

There is also a companion game for the Nintendo 3DS subtitled Power of Illusion, developed by DreamRift, the folks behind Henry Hatsworth and Monster Tale. Officially a followup to the Castle of Illusion series as well, the story has Mizrabel and the castle itself trapped in Wasteland. Seeking a way out, she tries draining the paint and cartoon essence out of famous toon residents of Mickey's world. Mickey must save his fellow toons and confront Mizrabel, repairing the damage with paint along the way.

Take note: It seems how much one will enjoy this game is extremely reliant on taste. Its pacing and design is heavily akin to Nintendo 64 platformers like Banjo-Kazooie, except modernised. Some will find the whole game brilliant, others will find it sub-par. The only real consensus is that the camera can be rather wonky (and perhaps a bit "Goofy"), but even then, some will find it less of a bother than others.

Tropes used in Epic Mickey include:
  • Action Bomb: Spladooshes will sleep happily, but if they wake up...
  • All There in the Manual: A currently-available free iOS app has stories of the Wasteland before Mickey messes it up.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Pete Pan. He's a good fighter, but dear GOD, his body language...
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Wasteland is, essentially, The Unhappiest Place On Earth/The Real Tragic Kingdom.
    • After the incident, anyway. Before, it is clearly a tranquil retirement community for Disney's forgotten characters and rejected ideas.
  • And I Must Scream: Ortensia's fate, as well as Clock Tower's if you Thinner it.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The final boss. You shine some lights in his face, then go inside him and perform surgery. It's challenging, but not really the fight you'd expect.
  • Anti Frustration Feature: Mickey's reserves of Paint or Thinner will slowly return to one-third capacity if they ever fall below that amount.
  • Anti-Hero: If you play towards the dark side of the Karma Meter, Mickey can turn into one of these.
  • Anti-Villain: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit toward the start of the game, up until you manage to meet him in Mickeyjunk Mountain; he actively sets obstacles in Mickey's way in order to get rid of him, but his reasons for this are sympathetic and understandable. And he secretly still could be considered an Anti-Villain after this until way later. (See You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.) A definite Type II.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The citizens of OsTown and Mean Street doesn't seem to mind that their cities are literally the only places that The Mad Doctor and the Shadow Blot haven't conquered yet. Heck, they won't even react when Mickey goes Grand Theft Auto on them. Thankfully averted with the Gremlins, who seems to be the only people around who at least try to help you.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Mad Doctor's Swiss-Army-torture-device has four settings: A large pair of shears, a massive corkscrew, a chainsaw, and at its highest setting (labelled with a skull and crossbones), a... toilet plunger? Even Mickey is surprised. And then he learns it's used for... unorthodox heart surgery...
  • Art Attacker: Mickey uses a brush and paint thinner to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Art Shift: Gameplay segments use a relatively orthodox graphical style reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. Cutscenes, however, are 2D and in a style influenced by the late Mary Blair, who did concept art for several Disney movies and the art for "It's A Small World."
  • Ascended Fanboy: Warren Spector is a pretty big Disney fan.
  • Ascended Glitch: Instead of deciding whether or not to get the treasure or save the gremlin, it is actually possible to save both. Thank the playtesters for this.
  • The Atoner: Both Oswald and Mickey.
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Several of your foes can get easily distracted whenever a TV is placed in front of them.
    • Including Oswald.
  • Attract Mode: The opening prologue movie is even called "Attract Mode".
  • Author Appeal: The reason why you're collecting pins is simply because Warren Spector himself collects Disney pins.
  • Badass Adorable: Mickey, obviously, and probably Oswald too.
    • The Bunny Kids; they're adorable and eat blotlings. Wait, what?
  • Being Good Sucks: Not sucks, exactly, but concerning many of the Good/Bad choices you can make in the game, be it using Paint or Thinner or doing a Fetch Quest with two possible item choices; usually, the good choice is the harder to accomplish by far (three words: "Save the Sprite"), while doing the bad thing can take about two seconds.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Shadow Blot (now an Eldritch Abomination made of paint and thinner) and The Mad Doctor, described by Spector as being the "brawn and the brains" of the pairing, respectively.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Attempted, but unfortunately subverted when Mickey and his friends try to use the Rocket to defeat the Shadow Blot.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Naturally, Lonesome Manor, based on The Haunted Mansion.
    • The Lonesome Ghosts travel map as well, plus the aptly named The Haunted House.
  • Black Magic: The thinner. You actually need it on occasion, but if you're doing a "good" playthrough, you won't be using it a lot.
  • Blob Monster: The Shadow Blot.
  • Body Horror: Quite a bit of this in the early concept art, and there's still some of this in the finished game. See the Dumbo Ride in Gremlin Village? They have no eyes.
    • There was also a notion with Mickey's paint abilities to make it look as if he was channeling HIS OWN PAINT through the brush, but it looked too Narm-ish in testing by making Mickey look like he was getting male pattern baldness.
      • Or even earlier when he was channeling thinner/paint with his HANDS, which then creates... this.
      • And don't even get started on Oswald when he was the main villain... Phantom Blot Oswald anyone?
    • In the final game, Mickey absorbed some of the Blot when dragged into the Wasteland, resulting in him appearing to ooze drops of ink. If you favor using thinner, lots of ink will float off of him as a result.
  • Brain In a Jar: Animatronic Donald, Daisy, and Goofy.
  • Breaking the Bonds: How Mickey escapes the Mad Doctor in their first scene.
  • Bridge Logic: An option for getting through the European section of Gremlin Village.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Bog Easy, based on New Orleans Square from the parks. Of course the "Gloop" happens to be paint thinner...
  • But Thou Must!: You can do things either by disregarding others, destroying things, and being a Jerkass, or by helping people out and giving your all to improve everyone's lives, but the story and all but two cutscenes are the same no matter what.
    • The creators were disappointed by this, and are trying to make moral choices have more of an impact in the sequel.
  • Camera Centering
  • Camera Screw: One of the most common complaints so far.
    • Word of God is that developing a camera for a 3D environment where walls and floors can appear and disappear at any time was a rather difficult challenge.
    • With Nintendo handling publishing duties for the Japanese version, they're also looking to fix the camera issues for the new release.
  • Captain Ersatz: Even though they predate them in initial designs, the game's portrayal of Gremlin Gus and the Gremlins will remind you a lot of Papa Smurf and The Smurfs.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Mad Doctor's machine in the opening.
  • Chair Reveal: Oswald does this in a cutscene.
  • Chaste Toons: Averted with Oswald, who's had a lot of kids in the years he's been in the Wasteland -- he's a rabbit, after all. And much to their father's chagrin, they adore "Uncle Mickey".
    • Genius Bonus: His girlfriend, Ortensia, is a cat. Female cats are known to be VERY promiscuous.
  • Christmas Rushed: Word of God is that Epic Mickey was rushed to reach store shelves by the 2010 holiday season, which explains a few of the game's rougher edges. Even with the rush, it still missed the "Black Friday" after-Thanksgiving shopping weekend.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder / The Starscream: The Mad Doctor betrayed Oswald when he lost the Blot Wars, and then he allied with the Blot; he plans to eventually betray the Blot as well, once Mickey's heart has been taken.
  • Clockwork Creature: The Beetleworx enemies are robots constructed from random parts that have the faces of various Disney characters painted on them. Defeating them requires erasing the painted parts.
    • The Small World Clocktower Boss as well.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The blue fluid is paint, and the green fluid is thinner.
  • Comic Book Limbo: This is essentially the setting.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: The main way of identifying what you can use Paint or Thinner on. Surfaces with bright, vibrant colors are composed of Paint, while thinned objects leave ghostly silhouettes behind. Additionally, anything you can spin move to activate or smash for shineys flashes iridescent.
  • Continuity Reboot: The fact that Oswald continued his career in animation and comics with Universal after Disney lost him, and even eventually looked like an actual rabbit, is completely ignored.
    • Not necessarily ignored. Since Yen Sid himself didn't even exist (and thus could not have created the Wasteland) until 1940 and Oswald's last real appearance was about 1943, it's more likely the implication is that he continued to struggle as an "actor" for quite a few years before finally fading away completely into Mickey's shadow.
  • Covered in Kisses: Oswald in the ending.
  • Media Research Failure: Gametrailers.com mistakenly labeled Yen Sid as Merlin. This was later corrected in the pop-up version of the opening cinematic.
    • Not to mention how many people mistook the game as Kingdom Hearts III when it first debuted.
  • Crapsack World: And it's Mickey's fault. However, the game's plot is about saving it. So it's more of A World Half Full.
    • Mickey can use thinner to make it worse.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Available right from the start in the Extras menu, featuring Blotlings doing various antics with the Brush.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: What happened to Captain Hook and the members of his crew that were turned into Beetleworx. The latter can get better by turning back, the former without.
  • Darker and Edgier: A loveable cartoon rabbit is portrayed as Mickey's jealous and semi-insane half-brother, living in a twisted nightmarish copy of Disneyland threatened by a mad scientist and a demonic monster, and the player has the option of turning Mickey back into the scrappy Anti-Hero he was back in the 30s.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: There are a series of these in the "World of Gremlins" dungeon (which imitates the "It's a Small World" ride). They spin too quickly for Mickey to easily get through unharmed, but he can use paint thinner to erase some of the blades long enough to pass by unscathed.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gremlin Gus seems to be a bit of this. Considering who created him, it makes sense.
    • Oswald has his moments as well, especially when the player plays the "scrapper" mode.

"I'd say good luck, but "heroes" don't need luck, right?"
"Yes sir. Spatters better watch out for you. You like that Thinner."
"That was an impressive display of destructive firepower."

  • Defeat Means Friendship: For the purposes of quests that require combat, using Paint to befriend Blotlings counts the same as defeating them. This even applies to some of the bosses.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: A series of quests, given to you by the detective, involves you following footprints to the same guy every time, where you have to buy back stolen objects.
    • If you paint all the footprints, the thief will give you the object for free.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: A requirement, as there's not too much of a way to figure out what you're going to add/remove. One example is the Skull Island Machine, where you can a) do nothing, b) destroy the machine with thinner, or c) make it turn out cartoon characters with paint.
  • Disney Death: Ortensia. Subverted (not in a good way) in that she had a Fate Worse Than Death, but all the same, she gets better.
  • Double Jump
  • Down in the Dumps: Mickeyjunk Mountain.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Warren Spector heavily emphasizes the concept "Playstyle Matters". If you defeat a boss with thinner or fail a series of quests, it's going to affect the game's ending, and it will turn out worse than if you had redeemed the boss with paint or completed that important questline.
  • Egopolis: OsTown, named after the former king of Wasteland, Oswald.
    • Complete with images of Oswald absolutely everywhere. Not to mention, according to the comics, apparently all of his children are named after him. All 420.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Shadow Blot and the Beetleworx.
  • Era Specific Personality: The original Karma Meter would have been based on this: Would you play Mickey like the scrappy fighter he was in the early '30s, or like The Hero he was later in his career? You could've also opted to play on the middle of the road, and acted more like the straight man he was in the late '30s, and for a while after.
  • Eternal Engine: Gremlin Village has elements of this, in the mass of gears that make It's a Small World work, plus elements in the Utilitunnel sections.
    • The Travel Map Clock Cleaners is this as well, being set inside a clock tower. It's similar to the Castlevania clock towers, really.
  • Evil Is Easy: Frequently applies to the player. Many times, doing whatever it takes to get the "good" result in a quest requires more work then just blasting your obstacles with thinner. This frequently requires more creativity, too; sometimes, it's easy to fall into accepting the "bad" ending simply because you can't figure out how to resolve the problem with paint.
  • Evil Laughter: Both The Mad Doctor and The Blot are fans of it. Lampshaded by Gus in a cutscene:

Gus: The Mad Doctor, did he go "Nya-ha-ha!"?
Oswald: *flashback bubble to The Mad Doctor going "Nya-ha-ha!"* Yeah, he did. Why?
Gus: "Nya-ha-ha" always means bad news.

Gus: "Personally, I give them a few months, tops."

"Don't... bring... up... MICE!"

Gus: "It's true what they say about you, you can make friends with anybody."

  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: ...or regress back to what thou once were?
    • You can even melt NPCs with thinner!
      • There's a part in the first level where you can choose to let an innocent gremlin get launched so you can get a few quick bucks. Seriously.

Gus: "Hey! Our land is barren enough without your help!"

    • You can befriend baddies, then knock them off a ledge, knock them into a space with an unpainted object, then paint in the object, and lots of other cruel methods that won't necessarily influence your Karma Meter.
  • Visual Pun: If you decide to be a good little Mickey and change back the animatronic pirates in Tortooga, one of the many symbols that the reversed machine will show is a screw and a baseball. Yeah.
  • Voice Grunting: Yen Sid is the only one who gives any audio narration; everyone else simply grunts, with the actual dialogue in subtitles.
    • Averted in the sequel. It's been confirmed that everyone will have voiced dialogue.
  • Walk the Plank: One of the ways of dealing with Animatronic Hook is to push him along the tracks on his ship to the plank... and right into the maw of Animatronic Tick Tock the Croc...
  • Wartime Cartoon: The Gremlins were originally from an unmade one of these—based on an idea by Roald Dahl, no less.
  • What Could Have Been: The setting is an In-Universe example, with some characters lamenting things turned out differently. Oswald is especially like this.
    • IRL, many gamers who followed the development of the game from the beginning, feel that the final product was significantly lacking in the kind of surreal, eldritch horror that much of the concept art was promising. One wonders what game we might have gotten if the developers had simply seen how much they could get away with...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Most characters, including all of the extras, will call Mickey out on some level if he tends to use and abuse thinner. Negative major choices will also change how major characters view you. Interestingly enough, some characters will call you out for not being as edgy as they would have liked you to be if you use paint.

Oswald: I should have known! You stole my life AND ruined my home! That's it! You and me, Mouse! Right now, c'mon! I've been waiting for this for years! This is gonna be my moment! (Cue Oswald's fury accidentally breaking the seal on the REAL Shadow Blot.)