By 1991, Sega and Nintendo were the undisputed masters of the home console. Sega had released it’s Megadrive/Genesis in 1989 and spent the first couple of years marketing the product and building sales with some pretty impressive success. Nintendo already had the Super Famicon and responded to Sega’s threat with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
That’s just the background to the big players in the industry at that period and to cement that success, Sega had to come produce dome pretty special games. Fantasia is an odd game; I loved it and many other people did as well, however many others did not and critical acclaim for the title was patchy, at best.
The game was obviously based on the Walt Disney film, Fantasia. Released in 1940 it featured eight animated sections all accompanied by classical scores. Viewed as suspiciously intellectual when it first released in the United States, it eventually turned into a huge hit.
Fantasia the game was designed by Infogrames (now Atari) and sticks to the format of the film fairly loyally although it’s shortened somewhat out of necessity. The player’s character is Mickey Mouse and his task in the game is to navigate four different zones, collecting musical notes as he goes.
Each zone is based on an element and is accompanied by classical music. These are as follows:
Water – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas, Dance of the Reed Flutes and Arabian Dance from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
Earth – The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
Air – Russian Dance from the Nutcracker Suite, Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven and Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli.
Fire – Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky and Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johan Sebastian Bach.
Mickey is essentially picking up notes with the ultimate aim of completing the Fantasia musical and if you ever made it right to the end , well done. It was certainly a hard game and some aspects of the control system were not universally popular. If you’d played Castle of Illusion or World of Illusion, Fantasia was a another step up in terms of difficulty.