Disney's Beauty and the Beast: Magical Ballroom
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is a collection of mini-games for children based around the characters of the Disney animated movie of the same name. After signing in, the player starts the game in the great hallway of the Beast's home. Belle is trying to arrange a surprise party for the Beast and this sets the background for the mini-games.* Mrs Potts' Teatime Table: This is a three level timed game. The idea is to prepare the table for a meal, tea, dinner and dessert. All the plates, cups, etc. are stacked on the cupboard and the player must click on them so that the item falls onto the rotating table below building up the place setting in the right order.
Cogsworth's Library Mystery: This is a three level game based on the principles of the board game 'Guess Who?'. Cogsworth has hidden parts of the key to the West Wing inside the books and gives the player clues which they use to eliminate books until one remains.
Belle's Writing Desk: This is the creativity section where players can load party invitations, stained glass windows, backgrounds and stickers. The windows and the pictures can be re-coloured, the invitations can have names typed onto them, and all of them can be printed.
Belle of the Ball: Contains three mini activities. It is here where the player selects the dress Belle will wear in the ball.
The other activities are: + Create Music: There are three musicians each of which can play three instruments. The player selects a combination that they like to play in the ball.
+ Choreograph the Dance: The dance floor is divided into a grid and the player places symbols onto the grid to make up a dance.
+ Decorating the Ballroom: The ballroom is decorated but by clicking on various elements of decor the player can change the look to suit themselves.
+ Finally the player can start the dance where the Beast and Belle, wearing the dress selected earlier, dance the dance that the player designed.
- Красавица и Чудовище - Russian spelling
Credits (Windows version)
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Average score: 64% (based on 4 ratings)
Average score: 2.6 out of 5 (based on 1 ratings)
This is a good, solid product as you'd expect coming from Disney. Everything about it just works and works well. When I played it I thought the voices sounded good but it wasn't until I submitted the credits that I realised I'd been listening to the likes of Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach and other notables.
The artwork is also spot on. I played on a WIN 98 system and it still flowed smoothly without a single graphical hitch. It's colourful, it's well drawn, like I said it's a solid product, not outstanding, not very good, but solid.
I have a few problems with this game, the first being that it is very, very short. From a player point of view the product is not sure whether it wants to be a game or an activity centre, the 2005 UK release I played actually calls it a 'Fun-filled Activity Centre' on the front cover
From the men-cum-hallway there are four rooms the player can enter. The kitchen and the library are puzzle rooms and once completed the game will meet any attempt to re-enter those rooms with 'You've done this but if you want to do it again click on the door again...', as there's another warning when the player attempts the puzzle itself it's safe to say the player is not expected to replay the puzzle rooms.
That leaves the activities of the picture making room and the ballroom to carry the game. Both have options to save the pictures and dances , so once done they can be replayed but who would want to?
The game may be short but it feels like it drags on and on and on. The problem here is that mundane activities need to be explained and this takes time. For example, creating a dance for Belle and the Beast involves placing a combination of six icons onto a grid. The icons are not labelled so once the choreography screen is displayed the significance of the grid and of each icon is explained, as is the exit icon and the scroll that records the order of the steps, and what the player must do next to see belle and the Beast perform the dance. In all it takes longer to explain the process than it does to perform it. The picture creation activity in Belle's Writing Desk also takes ages as does the start of every other activity.
The descriptions themselves are well voiced but they just go on and on.
The final gripe I have with this game is that there's no ending. You can complete all the components and if you like you can do them again, but there's no payoff which is disappointing.
You'd expect that since the story is about preparing a surprise party for the Beast, the game would end with the party. Or that as one of the puzzles was to find a missing key that once the key had been found it would be used somewhere. Well none of that happens.
The Beast does dance with Belle but that's a ballroom activity which is independent of anything else the player has done.
The Beast sleeps a room in the west wing, which the recovered key is supposed to fit, but that room is not described in the game manual and it cannot be entered, it's window dressing.
In my case the lack of an ending was not just disappointing, it was frustrating. Despite having done everything in every room the game kept insisting that there was "just one more room to get ready" without saying which room. Even when everything had been done again, when the manual had been re-read, when all available save slots in the picture creating room had been taken, after Bell had been redressed and danced her dance again, the game continued to repeat its 'just one more room to complete' message. More time was spent looking for this elusive incomplete activity than was spent in completing the game and eventually I gave up and put it down to a glitch on my system or poor game design.
The Bottom Line
I finished everything in under an hour and spent another hour looking for an ending.
Though the individual bits are well executed, the voice acting is good but the script is over long, the music is good, the drawing is good but there's nothing here that make the game memorable.
Don't expect your child, however besotted they are with Belle and the Beast, to beg you to re-load the game so that they can play it again.
Windows · by piltdown_man (232393) · 2015
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by piltdown_man.
Macintosh added by Scaryfun.
Game added February 19, 2015. Last modified March 9, 2023.