Greetings, retr0pians, and welcome back to Disney-Thon. Considering that the last time we looked at a Disney movie-based game didn’t go so well, I decided to look into Capcom’s expansive library of licensed games once again, with one in particular managing to catch my eye: a Super Nintendo game based off of one of my favorite animated films, Aladdin.
Can this game manage to rid the bad taste in my mouth left by last time, or was DuckTales really nothing more than a fluke? Let’s find out, shall we?
THE LOOKS – One thing that’s noteworthy about this game is the fact that not all of the versions are the exact same. For example, the Genesis/Amiga/DOS/Game Boy/NES versions are all Earthworm Jim-esque platform games, while this one is more Mario/Mega Man X-esque. Oh yeah, and I forgot about the Game Gear/Master System ones…
…needless to say, they’re pretty awful.
But getting back to the topic of hand, the reason I’m saying this is because when compared to all of the other versions, the SNES version trumps them all COMPLETELY. Never have I reviewed a 16-bit game that looks THIS good since Puggsy! But first, let’s start off with the character sprites and animations. While they do look good and flow very naturally in their animations, they do lack in detail and are a bit stiff when they’re compared to the Genesis ones, though that may be because the Genesis sprites and animations were done by Disney themselves. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the backgrounds. Not only do they do an excellent job in adapting the look and feel of the movie, but they are simply top-notch in every way. Every single stage, from the sandy streets of Agrabah, to the treacherous Cave of Wonders, to the wacky and imaginative world inside of Genie’s lamp, really take you in and make you truly appreciate the detail put into them. You know, I really got to hand it to the artists at Capcom; for a movie tie-in game, this looks WAY better than it should.
THE SOUND – Not unlike the Lion King game we reviewed last time, the soundtrack utilizes various songs from the movie itself, as seen by the rather catchy 16-bit rendition of “Never Had a Friend Like Me”. However, one major difference that this game has from last time is that there are more original tracks than there are remixes. And to be honest, that ain’t a bad thing at all, because the music to each and every one of the levels is FANTASTIC. They all really give you a sense of the action, danger, and world around you, making it all the more exhilarating to go through them all. Of course, like I said in my DuckTales review, you can’t be surprised by the music being great considering that it IS a Disney game.
Aladdin in the Genie’s lamp.
THE GAMEPLAY – Just when you think the game has already pulled every possible great thing out of its sleeve, the gameplay comes in to top it all of with a excellently-designed and polished experience. Starting off with Aladdin’s controls, they are very smooth and easy to get a hang of, making the already exciting levels more fun to get through. As for the levels themselves, like I said earlier, they are excellently-designed. They all really feel like you’re playing scenes from the movie itself, like when you’re riding on the carpet throughout the lava-engulfed Cave of Wonders, to when you’re fighting Jafar in his snake form. As for attacks, you can either jump on your enemies like any other regular platformer, or you can throw apples at them. You can also collect golden scarabs hidden in each level, which can grant you a bonus round at the end of the level. You can even interact with the environment as well, making each stage feel much more alive. Of course, I could go on and on about how much the gameplay gets pretty much almost everything right, but I don’t want this review to be too long.
THE BOTTOM LINE – Aladdin proves that if they’re put in the right hands, movie tie-in games and tie-in games in general can be something truly amazing, providing top-notch graphics, fun and engaging gameplay, and admirable level design, making it just as great, or dare I say it – even better than DuckTales. I’d definetely recommend this game to platformer fans and Disney fans alike.