The Walt Disney Company is a large conglomerate that has its hands in many different areas, including movies, television, music, comic books, and even some YouTube channels. So when the NES showed how profitable the video game industry could be, Disney was quick to get in on that action. Disney made deals with several developers and even formed their own (Disney Interactive Studios) to deal with this growing industry.
For the most part, Disney's video games are actually pretty decent, which is unusual for licensed video games. This is due to Capcom developing some great early platformers for the company, including Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and DuckTales. Other standout Disney titles include Epic Mickey and Tron 2.0, but the greatest one of all is the Kingdom Hearts series, in which Square Enix merges several different Disney worlds with Final Fantasy.
Of course, not every Disney video game is great, with some games ranging from forgettable and mediocre to outright strange and bizarre ideas. Today we're going to be looking at the stranger video games to carry the Disney brand. It should be noted that not all of these games are bad. Some are actually pretty decent hidden gems, but they are still pretty weird in one way or another.
We will also be taking a look at some of the stranger bootlegs to cash in on Disney's popular films, because you can't make a list about weird Disney video games without touching on that bizarre trend.
So get ready to look at Mickey, Donald and the rest of your favorite Disney toons in a whole new way, cause here's the 25 Weirdest Disney Video Games Ever Made!
25 Mickey Mouse In Wonderland
On the surface, Mickey Mousecapade looks like your average NES platformer starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The story is that you're trying to rescue a young girl. However, it's only when you beat the game that you find out the girl is Alice and you've apparently been running around Wonderland this whole time.
On top of that plot twist, the game is unusually difficult, even for an NES game. The enemies take a lot of cheap shots at you, and the controls are too floaty. A far cry from Capcom's Disney platformers.
24 Mega Man Goes To Disneyland
Here's one of Capcom's lesser known Disney titles, Adventures in the Magic Kingdom. The story goes that you need to find six silver keys hidden in different Disneyland attractions so you can open Cinderella's Castle gates and get the Disney parade started. This could be the first game that let kids take a virtual tour of Disneyland, which is pretty cool.
The different rides play out like different games. Autopia is a top-down racer like Rally-X, and the Haunted Mansion plays like Castlevania or Mega Man. It was a neat idea, if not as fleshed out as other titles.
23 Fantasia Hit All The Wrong Notes
Remember Fantasia, that really experimental but artistic Disney movie from 1940? Well, more than 50 years later, somebody decided it would be a great idea to make a video game based on that. You play as the Sorcerer's Apprentice, who must journey through his dreams to retrieve his master's stolen music.
If the premise sounds weird, just wait until your jumping around prehistoric jungles and ballerina hippos. The worst part about this, though, is that the classical music sounds garbled coming out of the Sega Genesis, which was half of what made the movie so great. An utter disappointment.
22 Mickey Mouse... In Space!
Mickey Mouse has actually appeared in many video games, but his first was Mickey's Space Adventure, a graphic adventure computer game developed by Sierra On-Line. Like many of Sierra's other adventure games, the game relies less on logic than it does humor.
An alien race's precious crystal is split into nine pieces and hidden throughout the solar system, and it's up to Mickey to find them. It's a pretty simple children's game with some educational value (facts about the planets). If you're a fan of Mickey and early PC adventure games, give this a shot.
21 Disney Flight Simulator
At first glance you wouldn't think Stunt Island would be a Disney game, seeing as Mickey and friends are nowhere to be seen. But in 1992, Disney Interactive published this flight simulator for PCs, and it was unlike anything else on the market. Not only was it a competent flight simulator, but it was also a "filming simulator."
Players would fly through different film sets, activating cameras and special effects they'd place throughout the set. Players could then edit the footage together and add sound effects and music, making this one of the first games to allow for Machinima filmmaking.
20 The Mad Warrior Mulan
Of course, you can't talk about weird Disney video games without delving into the strange and unusual world of bootlegs. Disney has plenty of them, and most of them are pretty darn weird. One such example is the unofficial Mulan game, created by some Chinese developers for the Sega Mega Drive.
The game mostly follows the movie pretty faithfully, but the enemies Mulan's fighting are her army friends. This is especially distressing considering she's swinging a sword at them. I know they were pretty mean to her in boot camp, but that's just too far.
19 Goofy's Excellent Adventure
One of Goofy's few titles, Goofy's Hysterical History Tour, is an action platformer for the Sega Genesis in which he works as a janitor in a museum. Pete wants to get Goof fired, so he wrecks some of the exhibits, and Goofy decides the only way to recover those items is to go back in time and bring them back.
It's a pretty creative platformer, with Goofy traveling to such interesting levels as "Medieval Times" and "The Age of Piracy." It might not be as fondly remembered as some of Mickey and Donald's titles, but its definitely worth a look.
18 Disney's Sing-Along Songs: Dance Remix
Before Just Dance, there was Dance Dance Revolution, the hit rhythm game from Konami that kept arcades from completely dying until about 2007. The game was such a big hit, Disney decided they wanted to get in on some of that action, and Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix was released in Japanese arcades in November 2000.
The game features Disney characters in place of the usual DDR dancers, and EDM remixes of classic Disney songs. Have you ever wanted to breakdance to a Eurobeat version of the "Mickey Mouse March," or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?" Cause I can't imagine there's many who do.
17 The Lion King Mini-Game Collection
The Lion King video game for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis is rightfully considered one of the best Disney games, but there are some other Lion King games that have been forgotten with time. One of those is Timon & Pumbaa's Jungle Games, a collection of mini-games for PC and Super Nintendo.
"Collection" might be too generous, as you only get five games to choose from (four on SNES). These include Burper, a shooter in which Pumbaa burps gas clouds at falling bugs and fruit, and Bug Drop, a Puyo Puyo clone with bugs. There's not much to this one.
16 Not Exactly EA Sports
Sports are one of the most consistently popular genre of video games, so Disney decided to release their Disney Sports series from November 2002 to January 2003 for the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. These four games (Soccer, Skateboarding, Football and Basketball) all star classic Disney characters like Mickey, Donald and Goofy.
Soccer, Football, and Basketball all lack the precision of EA Sports and the creativity of Mario's sports games. Meanwhile, Skateboarding feels like a cross between Tony Hawk and Sonic Adventure, but much slower. It's clear Disney didn't care about the quality of these games and just hoped one would stick.
15 Cars 2: Now On The Sega Genesis!
Cars 2 is often considered the worst Pixar film, putting a blight on their otherwise perfect filmography. However, the movie may have spawned something worse in the bootleg market.
Apparently, there's some Russian groups who hack old Sega Genesis games and pass them off as modern ones. They have Genesis "ports" of Call of Duty, Counter Strike and Cars 2, which is actually a hack of Championship Pro-Am. For some reason, all the cars have been reskinned to look like Mater. Where's Lightning McQueen? You'd think in a racing game, they'd at least let you play as the racecar.
14 No More Happily Ever After
Disney's Villains' Revenge starts off as another standard "Animated Storybook." Jiminy Cricket tears out the happy endings from some classic stories and asks you to match them to their original story. But it turns out removing the happy endings changed the stories, and now several villains—including Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts—have changed things so they win.
As you try to set things right, you encounter some surprisingly dark fates for the heroes, including Peter Pan becoming an old man and Alice having been decapitated! Her disembodied talking head doesn't seem to mind much, but still.
13 Mario Kart: Toy Story Edition
When Toy Story proved to be a critical and commercial success, Disney naturally capitalized on that with plenty of merchandise, including video games. Some people remember the platformer on the Super Nintendo, but not many remember Toy Story Racer for the Game Boy Color and PlayStation.
As the name implies, it's a racer in the same vein as Mario Kart, in which you take characters like Woody, Buzz, and Hamm and race them around Andy's house, Sid's house and Pizza Planet. It even includes a battle mode. If you're a big fan of kart racers, check this one out.
12 The Speediest Place On Earth
Toy Story Racer was not the only game Disney made to profit off Mario Kart's success. A year earlier they released Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour, a game where all the tracks are based on popular Disney rides. Chip 'n' Dale somehow accidentally destroyed the park's fireworks machine and need to win back the missing parts.
Chip, Dale, and Jiminy Cricket are the only familiar faces in this racer (the rest are original characters), but being able to race through the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is reason enough to play this.
11 World Of ToonCraft
When World of Warcraft proved to be a massive success, there was an explosion of MMORPGs. Disney tried their hand at a uniquely kid-friendly MMO with Toontown Online, in which players get to run around a cartoon world as funny animals and fight evil corporate robots with classic cartoon gags.
Toontown was unique among the MMOs at the time and was very popular with children. However, once competitors like Club Penguin became more popular, support for Toontown wound down and the final server was closed September 2013. Fortunately, a fan-made revival called Toontown Rewritten is available for fans.
10 The Lion King: Bad Ending
Here's another bootleg, and now we're getting into some creepy territory here. The Lion King V: Timon & Pumbaa was developed by a group called Dragon Co. for the NES as a sequel to their last game, The Lion King III. Guess they skipped four. The game is buggy as hell and has poor controls, but that's not why it's so infamous.
There is a strange choice of enemies for a Lion King game, including walking hands. And then there's the game over screens, in which Simba, Timon and Pumbaa each take their own lives. A truly unsettling image.
9 Metal Gear Mickey
In a sudden change of pace, here's Disney's Hide and Sneak, an action-adventure stealth game released in 2003 by Capcom. The story involves a small alien named Lu-Lu crash landing on Earth and inadvertently stealing either Mickey or Minnie Mouse. It's then up to the player to sneak into several different warehouses and rescue the other mouse.
The gameplay is similar to the stealth sections of Metal Gear Solid, except kid-friendly and much worse. The critical reaction to both this game and the previous Magical Mirror kept Mickey from having any new games until 2010's Epic Mickey.
8 Enter The Duck
Donald in Maui Mallard is a Genesis, SNES and PC platformer that stars Donald Duck as a Magnum, P.I.-style detective called Maui Mallard—who in turn goes by the name of "Cold Shadow" whenever he dresses up as a ninja—on the search for a missing idol.
For reasons unknown, Donald's name was removed from the North American release, called Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow.This lead some gamers to believe Maui Mallard was a brand new character. While critics called it a great side-scroller and the game's ending teases another adventure, neither the Maui Mallard or Cold Shadow characters have ever appeared again.
7 Disney's Petz
After the success of Nintendogs on the DS, plenty of other developers hopped onto the "virtual pet" train. Disney decided to take some of their cuter talking mascots and put them in a virtual pet game called Disney Friends. Players could befriend and interact with Dory from Finding Nemo, Winnie the Pooh, Simba from The Lion King and Stitch.
This game was unique from its competitors in that the pets could talk back to you. Along with the usual feeding, caring, and buying accessories, Disney Friends also featured some adventure elements, and you could even go through some of the scenes from each film.
6 Walt Disney's Pro Skater
After the failure of Disney Sports Skateboarding, Disney tried one more time to make a skating game. Activision released Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure the following year for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Players get to create a regular human skater, or they can play as characters from The Lion King, Tarzan and Toy Story.
Tarzan and Toy Story kind of make sense, but how does a lion do kickflips and ollies? Anyway, this game is leagues ahead of Disney Sports, largely due to the fact that it uses the same engine as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, also published by Activision.
5 Snow White And The 7 Boring Mini-Games
Since the "Snow White" fairy tale is actually a public domain story, this might not technically count as a Disney bootleg. The box art for Snow White and the 7 Clever Boys, however, clearly evokes the 1937 film. It's also false advertising as none of the characters look like that in the game, with the dwarfs being replaced by young boys.
This PlayStation 2 "video game," published by Phoenix Games (who produced other rip-off games such as Street Warrior and Hamster Ball), is actually just a collection of boring mini-games and a short cartoon, featuring a childishly repetitive song by Snow White and a blatantly offensive caricature of black people as one of the boys.
4 Donald Duck: Intergalactic Hero
Maui Mallard was weird, but Donald Duck's last game may be his strangest. In PK: Out of the Shadows, an artificial intelligence gives him some future technology, a new voice, and turns Donald into the superhero PK. It is then up to PK to stop the Evron Empire from invading Earth.
This whole concept is actually based on an Italian comic book series called PKNA (translated into English as "Duck Avenger"), in which Donald Duck is a superhero. The comic may be a hidden gem, but the game wasn't very good, and Donald hasn't had a game since.
3 Pixar, Going Through The Motions
Today everybody agrees that the Kinect was a bad idea, but in 2012 a lot of people were still pushing for it to become a success. One of those was Disney, as they released a couple of games for the motion sensor device, including Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure. It's a platformer that takes players to the worlds of Up, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars, and Ratatouille.
While getting to play alongside your favorite Pixar characters was fun, this being a Kinect game meant the controls were very finicky. I guess platformers weren't meant to be played with motion controls.
2 The Weird Trove Of Frozen Flash Games
Frozen is so popular, it rivals the Disney Princess brand in terms of merchandising success. Unfortunately, that popularity has lead to some disturbing online trends, particularly those unauthorized online flash games you find on sites like DressUpWho.com.
A lot of these are the usual harmless dress-up games you expect, but there are also a disturbing amount of medical themed ones, such as "Pregnant Elsa Foot Check-Up." Why does she have to be pregnant? And why is she smiling when she has a horrible gash on her foot!? These games range from questionable to grotesque (looking at you, "Elsa Throat Doctor!").
1 LEGO Pixar
The Lego games are all pretty fun, but they also have some odd moments, and Lego The Incredibles is no exception. You can play as all your favorite superheroes, including Elasti-Girl, Dash and Frozone, to lesser known heroes like Hot Dog Man, with the power to throw hot dogs.
Though this game mainly follows the two Incredibles movies, it's more of a general Pixar Lego game, as you can unlock several other Pixar characters, like Merida and Lightning McQueen, and play unique challenges from their movies. Seeing Lightning alongside superheroes makes me wish for a Sense of Right Alliance game.
Are there any weirder Disney games out there we missed? Let us know in the comments.