These gargoyles would be the low point of the film that is otherwise an intelligent, absorbing and hugely emotional re-telling for a younger audience. They don't seem to fit too well, often jarring the audience from the previous thought provoking scenes. Kids do like them and I don't think they're a wholly terrible idea for a Disney adaptation, I just wish they were less inspired by Aladdin's ADHD Genie.
It still holds up as one of Disney's most daringly artistic animated films, and surprisingly the Animated Storybook follows suit. The darker elements are even more toned down in this truncated form, but its presentation as if it were a puppet show hosted by the Gypsie jester Clopin Trouillefou gives it an extra gravitas. It works remarkably well and makes it stand out from all of the others in the series.
There are more puzzles than most others with a total of six. They are all fairly simple affairs targeted at 5 year old, but some actually had me guessing for a moment, however briefly. There's a segment when you carry Esmeralda down one face of the Notre Dame cathedral. It's a maze game where only certain walls can be climbed down. The easier levels are all marked out for you, but crank up the difficulty and levers and pulleys are added making your descent a little more taxing on the brains.
Another puzzles requires you to escape a prison cell and plays like a game from The Crystal Maze (remember that?). After a simple sliding block puzzle, you then need to find the correct shaped key to exit. It's position is randomised and there's no penalty for guessing wrong, but the well drawn graphics and animated asides does inspire a great sense of atmosphere.
This might be my favourite of the entire series, but it does come with one rather disappointing caveat. There is a point at the Festival of Fools section where the game crashed. You can easily skip it once you get to it, but any attempt a scrolling the page results in being booted back to Windows 3.1. I don't know whether it's an emulation problem or a fault with my original disk, but I don't think you're missing much.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox running Microsoft Windows 3.1 to get the game working on modern systems. Manual included. Tested on Windows 7.
File Size: 416 Mb. Install Size: 760 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Disney's Animated Storybook: The Hunchback of Notre Dame is © Disney InteractiveReview, Cover Design and Installer created by me