Most people who’ve played “Epic Mickey” know the tragic tale of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Walt Disney’s first cartoon character who was set up to be the greatest animated star ever, until he was taken away and replaced. He faded into the shadow of his replacement’s fame.
I’m a huge animation buff. So I know a ton about Warner Bros., Tex Avery, Hanna/Barbera, and of course Disney. So when I heard about “Epic Mickey”, I went and got it with my birthday money. I beat it after 6 months, nothing weird happened. I took a break from it after completing it for the first time. One day, while I was home alone, I found out about “Epic Mickey 2”. The announcement got me so hyped I decided to play the first game again. I wanted the thrill of finding all the hidden artwork and Gremlins again, so instead of starting on my first profile, I chose the blank second slot. The cutscene with Mickey strapped to the Mad Doctor’s operation table started up, but there was something, no someone, missing. Oswald didn’t show up. The cutscene continued, like if Mickey and the Mad Doc said, “the show must go on” and pantomimed as if the rabbit was there. Nothing was really different, other than the missing rabbit. I got through the Gremlin Village fine. After defeating the creepy Clocktower, I went to Mean Street. That’s when things started to get odd.
After I got the gear from Gilda to fix the projectors, I went to Horace’s Detective Agency. The cutscene, again, was fine. But it was after the cutscene that things changed. Instead of asking you to get the missing book back from Casey, Horace gave me a different quest.
“Ya see…” Horace’s textbox read, “Gilda was climbing Mickeyjunk Mountain last week. She found this piece of paper blowing in the wind. She grabbed it, and read it. It looks like a journal entry or notes. After putting the paper in her pocket, she heard a noise. She turned around, and something knocked her off the cliff. When she woke up, she had a small case of amnesia. The last thing she remembers is turning around. She came back down and gave me the paper. She asked me to go up to Mickeyjunk and investigate. Problem is, I’m scared of heights, and if there’s something violent up there, well, I’m gonna have a ton of unsolved cases. If you’re heading that way, could you find more pages? And say ‘hi’ to Oswald for me.”
A box appeared saying “New Item Received: Journal Page”, and I was given the option to read it. I clicked “yes”, and Gus read it.
“Project Lepus has gone smoothly. I have successfully programed all of his memories into Project Lepus. There is nearly no difference between the two. It’s as if they’re the same toon! If something befalls him, then Project Lepus will take over in his place.”
I reluctantly travelled to OsTown, but Animatronic Goofy was not by the thinner fountain. This got me concerned. But, I continued to Mickeyjunk Mountain.
The projector screen was unsettling. It looked like an old film reel, with the background occasionally skipping, various spots appearing for a split second, and an odd fuzzy thing slowly crawling on the top right corner of the screen. After I exited the screen, I was horrified. There were no enemies. The Blotlings were purple puddles on the ground. The Bunny Children were light blue streaks, with elongated expressions of fear and sadness on their faces. And there was a constant “thump...thump...thump.” The card in the crane didn’t give me a quest, he simply said, “Daddy loved you more…” and then opened the giant lunch box to the next projector.
Once I went through the old film reel, I made it to the thinner falls where you encounter the beetleworx for the first time. Only, there were no beetleworx. Just a pile of sparking parts. And the noise got louder, “thump...thump...thump.” I would’ve stopped there, but curiosity told me to keep going.
After several more destroyed film reels, the enemy-less rooms, and the increasing noise, I made it to the top of the mountain. The noise was at it’s loudest, “THUMP...THUMP...THUMP.” Before I started climbing the spiral staircase to the three projectors, I saw four piles of robotic parts. On top of one of the piles was a book. I walked forward and grabbed it.
“New Item Received: Mad Doctor’s Journal”
I was again given the option to read it. I clicked yes.
“Project Lepus despises our leader’s real world replacement more than our leader himself. Project Lepus eliminated our leader! And it has replaced him, as planned. After it learned of the creator’s demise, it escaped Wasteland, but came back. I’m unsure why. But ever since it returned from the real world, there’s been a horrible booming noise coming from the mountain. I plan to go to the mountain, and dismantle it.”
Good God, what the hell is going on? I thought. I tried to push the power button on my remote, but my curiosity had me trained like a dog, and I continued on. I talked to the Ace card, but he only said, “Daddy loved you more…” and the gate for the “Trolley Troubles” reel opened. All three reels were the same. Every character looked scared, and it still had the old film effect.
I completed “Oh, What a Knight”, the Ace said, “Daddy loved you more…” Does every card say that?, I asked myself. So I walked around the room and talked to every card.
“Daddy loved you more…”
“Daddy loved you more…”
“Daddy loved you more…”
I finally got tired of reading the same thing and decided it’s time to find out what’s going on. I entered Oswald’s throne room. But Oswald was not there.
There was a figure, with its back to me, watching the monitors.
It spoke, “Why was I taken?...Why did he do nothing?...Why did he replace me?...Why didn’t he love me?...” Its text box disappeared, and the figure turned its head around like an owl. Its mouth was ripped, revealing sharp teeth, dripping with hydraulic fluid and oil. Its left eye was red. The black paint smeared down on the white mask. Its right ear was a robotic structure with paint skin that looked like wrinkled fabric, as if the paint skin was too big. The end of the left ear drooped, confirming this theory. It looked similar to Animatronic Goofy, Donald, and Daisy. It was an Animatronic Oswald. The text box appeared again.
“Why did I have to take his love by force?”
At that point, the rest of the body turned forward to reveal a hole in its chest, with a greasy human heart attached to various tubes. It all made sense...that was creator’s heart.
I was frozen in fear. As much as I wanted to turn off the console, my body wouldn’t move. Mickey began to back away.
“I-I don’t understand!” Mickey’s textbox read, “What are you talking about?” The animatronic walked towards Mickey in a disturbing way.
“Daddy loved you more...but I have his love now...want to see how it feels to be unloved?…” Animatronic Oswald lunged at Mickey, and the screen went black. But the sound of the creator’s heart continued…