Just in time for the VHS release of their most critically acclaimed feature animation to date, Disney Interactive and Infogrames teamed up to release a collection of mini-games called Beauty and the Beast: Be Our Guest. Well, actually, in 1992 if didn't have that subtitle. It was the only PC game that had the license so it didn't need it. It was only for an improved re-release in 1994 that it was added, perhaps to hide the fact that it was a two-year-old game.
So, what had changed? The graphics, gameplay and music are all the same. Everything right down to the presentation were all great for 1992, though by 1994 I suspect it wasn't blowing anyone's minds. This release added speech to the floppies. In a year where CDs were getting more and more attention, it was unusual for a game that came only of floppy disks to have full speech, but they managed it here. It's been hugely compressed so it's not always clear what they're saying under the crackle but it adds a lot more personality to the game.
And speaking of the game, it's obviously catered towards the very young. It sets the template of Disney's mini-game compilations and Activity Centres that were to come. There are five games that can be completed in any order before a final cut-scene can be viewed. Without exception none of these games are remarkable, but coupled with the Disney license they're oddly endearing.
You select each game by visiting a particular room in the castle that's represented on the main menu using a gorgeous stained glass window. Let's start with the Dining Room. As the French candlestick Lumiere, you're tasked with collecting cherries that appear on a tiered cake while simultaneously avoiding dancing tableware. All in order to perfect his show-stopping dance number. Lumiere's sprite is very large and lumbering compared to the beer tankards and napkins that frolic around you. Avoiding them requires a considered use of the different tiers on the cake. If you get hit, you drop down a level. If you're on the bottom level you die. Dinner is ruined.
Cogsworth resides in the Library with a Simon Says style matching puzzle, all in the name of finding some good music for the evening. He reveals some symbols in the pages of his book and you're tasked with finding them in the right order. It's another simple game that won't tax many gamers. There's no time limit or other restrictions while selecting the correct symbol so the only hurdle is your memory. Fail enough times and you're out! Dinner is ruined!
Fifi the Feather Duster also plays host to another rather basic game in the garden. The snow of winter has covered the flowers in the flower beds. Brush away the white powder by matching two identical plants in a row. Once complete, winter will fade into summer at an alarming speed (who said global warming wasn't real?). Essentially it's a game pairs. Again there's no time limit, so you can play for as long as you want. But remember, if there's no bouquet for the big night, dinner is ruined!
The Laundry Room has a rather more interesting matching game. Differently coloured squares of cloth fly down a clothes line towards Madame Armoire. Swap the colours around to get three of the same at the front (or a combo of four when playing the harder difficulty) and the opera-loving wardrobe will swallow them. To make things a little harder, you have to match the right colours in the order given on the top right of the screen. You're not penalised for matching the wrong set, but if you let the clothes line fill up, game over man. Dinner is ruined!
The best, and most difficult, mini-game resides in the Kitchen and is hosted by Mrs. Potts herself. This has the gameplay of Lemmings with an added pinch of a Rube Goldberg style machinations. You have to guide a bunch of suicidal sentient eggs to the cake bowl so they'll fulfil their destiny in becoming the sugary treat for the dinner. You know what happens if they do not. There are three levels, and each is a chaotic scramble to put everything in place in time. Even the most ardent puzzle fans will probably lose a few times before finding the correct path and timing it correctly. It certainly took me a fair few tries.
If at first you don't succeed, dinner won't be ruined like my running gag may imply. You have an infinite number of retries which is perfect for the intended target audience. Anyone over the age of eight won't struggle too much with what's here, but the closer to that age (mentally or otherwise) will more than likely love the game.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to bring the game to modern systems. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 6 Mb. Install Size: 10 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Disney's Beauty & The Beast: Be Our Guest is © Disney Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me