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SummarySierra's colorful adventure game that teaches children astronomy as they play
The GoodNot many games in the early Eighties teached children about astronomy, but there was one game Sierra released that did exactly that. Mickey's Space Adventure was designed by Roberta Williams, who previously worked on Mystery House and the first King's Quest game. It was published by Walt Disney Computer Software, who has put their famous characters into the game.
The player controls Mickey who has been tasked with finding the nine crystals scattered on nine planets in Earth's solar system. These crystals are important to the inhabitants of the planet Oron as they contain their memories. XL30, the planet's computer, beams a spaceship down near Mickey's home on Earth so that he can reach the planets.
Flying to different planets requires a knowledge of astronomy as well as the ability to read. XL30 outlines where players need to go to, but doesn't reveal the name of the planet. It just gives you clues and you have to use those clues to push some buttons in the right order.
Joining him is his pet dog Pluto who mainly follows Mickey around like a puppy dog he is, but he can also be helpful to Mickey as he is capable of digging out any crystals that are stuck in the planet's soil.
There are plenty of scenes to explore in the game. The game gives a brief description of each scene, along with commands split into two lines, with the first line containing the verb and the other line containing the nouns. To get through the game, players must enter a verb-noun combination. What I like about this is that you can execute many nonsense commands just for the fun of it, to have the game produce a "you can't do that" message.
Mickey's Space Adventure has the most colorful graphics I have ever seen in a Disney game. Both Pluto and Mickey are drawn the way they should, and some of the planets that you walk around in look very good. I enjoyed looking at the scene where you look out onto the planet's moon, and exploring the icy castle on Neptune.
There are some amusing scenes in the game, mainly involving something that guards one of the crystals you need to get. On Pluto, for example, the crystal is guarded by three Pluto dogs; and you have to give an alien your sunglasses, and he puts them on.
The only way you can lose the game is if you are on a planet and are running out of oxygen. XL30 gives players a series of warnings after you execute a number of commands, meaning that you need to return to the spaceship. Other than this, I can't recall any parts where you could die. On one of the planets, I was captured by the guards while in the temple and I thought they were going to kill me. False alarm.
There is some nice music brilliantly done by Al Lowe, who also wrote the music for King's Quest II. It is composed in such a way that they reflect the same type used in the old Disney cartoons. Another piece of nice music is featured when you get a crystal. There are some sound effects in the game, and I always liked the way that they play while you are figuring out what your next command is.
The box claims that the game is different every time a game is played. I think that what they meant is the order in which you navigate between planets will be different each time. I also believe that this is the first game to feature an alternate ending.
The BadWhen you push the wrong button on the control panel by accident, you can't undo your action. You can only make up a combination of six buttons or one that the game doesn't recognize as a code to get to a planet.
Mickey's Space Adventure is shipped with five disks with the fifth one being a save disk. The game only supports one drive, so there is a fair amount of disk swapping in the game. Mickey entering the spaceship and getting out to explore a planet requiring players to change disks. If you have the wrong disk inserted, the game doesn't even tell you what disks it needs and you have to guess which disk to insert.