REVIEW: The Lion King (1994, SNES)

Greetings, retr0pians. Keeping in line with this month’s theme, we’ll be taking a look at a game based off of what many consider to be one of the greatest animated films ever made. That’s right, get ready for a safari in the Pride Lands, ’cause today we’re gonna take a look at The Lion King.

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Can this game manage to hold out after the many years of its release, or does it just belong with all of the other soulless, licensed pieces of crap that I’ve reviewed? Let’s find out, shall we?

THE LOOKS – One interesting thing to note about this game is the fact that the graphics were actually done by the Mouse House themselves. This in turn would explain the VERY detailed backgrounds and art design, as well as the fluid and natural animations of the character sprites. The backgrounds also do a great job of adapting many different scenes and sequences from the film, great examples being the Stampede level, the I Just Can’t Wait to be King level, and so forth. Sure, it might not be THE best, especially when you compare it to something like Killer Instinct or the three Donkey Kong Country games, but the graphics are still very impressive for what they are.

THE SOUND –Something that a lot of Disney games appear to have in common is a great soundtrack. This game is no exception. Being a tie-in of a musical, it would make perfect sense that most of the level themes are based around the songs. But the one problem is that pretty much every Disney fan and their mother knows about the songs and how good they are, so I can’t really say anything much here, unfortunately.

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Simba making his way across group of smug giraffes.

THE GAMEPLAY – With all of the good things I’ve said so far, you’d think that I would have a lot of positives to ramble about with the gameplay, right? WRONG. I can’t even begin to describe how much of a mess this game is on a technical and design level, but I’ll try. Starting off with Simba’s controls, it’s actually kind of difficult to say wether they’re loose, or just stiff. As you could guess, this makes platforming WAY more annoying than it should be. As for the levels themselves, not only are they extremely generic in terms of design, but there are times when they decide to just ramp up the difficulty to absolutely ABSURD levels, the worst offenders of this being the Hakuna Matata level, and the I Just Can’t Wait to be King level. As for attacks, you can either jump on your enemies in a Mario-like fashion, or you can roar at them. Unfortunately, the roar doesn’t really do much most of the time. There are also four mini games with Timon and Pumbaa where you have to catch falling bugs and other stuff, but they don’t last that long and are just not worth talking about. This alone shows that having good graphics isn’t an automatic “Get out of Bad Game Jail Free” card.

THE BOTTOM LINE – The Lion King may talk the visual and auditorial talk, but it simply can’t walk the walk in any other areas. Sure, there are definitely worse games out there, but there’s really no reason to settle for this when you could just watch the movie instead.

4/10

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9 Comments

  1. If you’re wondering why I chose to get this one out of the way so quickly, it’s because this game really didn’t give me that much to talk about. Trust me when I say that the next review will be much longer and worth the wait.

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  2. This was one of the first Super Nintendo games I had. Though to be honest, I don’t remember it too well as it has been well over a decade since I last played it. Considering another game I got with the Super Nintendo was Donkey Kong Country, I can at least say it didn’t take long for it to be outclassed. It’s too bad really, because the movie scenes actually make for interesting levels, but that means nothing if the execution is lacking, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I played this game directly on PC and I think I never finished it. It was a good game (I think) only because I saw the cartoon a few months before, but actually it didn’t engaged me that much. I liked (a bit) more Aladdin a couple of years before, always played on PC…

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  4. I just best Lion King for the first time after 22 years… I don’t hate it, but it just isn’t good. I don’t understand why it is one of those games everybody tells you to buy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In cases like these, it’s usually due to a heavy amount of nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with looking back fondly upon games you liked as a kid, but sometimes there are moments where some games haven’t really aged all that great from a technical standpoint.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found the worst aspect the slightly broken platforming when you do the ledge jumping. The hit box is wrong , so you’ll miss the ledge.

        And that jump on level 2…

        Liked by 1 person

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