For those of you who were still crapping in your own pants in 1992, let me explain that Disney's Aladdin was FUCKING HUGE. It made a shitload of money, thanks to the fact that it was one that boys and girls alike to enjoy (though I am ashamed to admit I liked The Little Mermaid as a kid. Also check out the NES game, it's actually damn good.).
It's great. Shut it.
So after playing a summer of stuff like Star Fox, Doom, and Link's Awakening (Check out my other blog post for that overrated... thing), seeing Disney's Aladdin for the Sega Genesis in the latest issue of Game Players was mind blowing. Hand-drawn graphics! A level inside the Genie's lamp! You can make the guards' pants fall down! Even though I loved my Super Nintendo and was a devout Nintendo fanboy (although early screens of Sonic CD and Sonic 3 made my mouth water), I had
to have a Sega Genesis. It went on my Christmas list, making Christmas '93 a rather uncertain year. Both
SNES and Genesis under one roof? I felt greedy and fat.
Come Christmas Eve, I had trouble sleeping (I still do on that night). For the first time ever, I snuck downstairs to confirm my hopes. There it was: the Sega Genesis 2 and Disney's Aladdin. Oh, and a six button pad as well! Bonus! I ran back upstairs only to meet my very upset mother at the top of them. Yeah, she was pissed.
Not that I cared. Aladdin was great and my sneaking down stairs was worth it to end that purgatory of uncertainty I had that night.
But this is about the SNES's Aladdin! I actually played this game before ever thinking about sneaking down any stairs. I rented it with my expectations in check after reading the latest Nintendo Power and discovering that this was not the Genesis game. There were no hand-drawn graphics, the Genie's level had no Column A (or Column B, for that matter), and there were no chubby guards hilariously losing their pants. A fun game, but it wasn't what I was looking for at the time.
Fast forward a decade later and beyond, where I'm still dragging out my old systems and basking in their beauty. Among the Zeldas and the Duck Tales, I played both Aladdins (I borrowed the SNES version from my aunt and have yet to return it.).
And goddammit, the SNES version is actually the better game.
Graphically, this game doesn't touch the Genesis version. It also lacks a bit of the spirit of the movie. Genesis Aladdin was a prime example of Genesis games having more "tude" than SNES games. Stylistically, SNES Aladdin was pretty vanilla.
Still, it succeeds in every other category. The gameplay is much more fluid on the SNES, featuring a rather acrobatic Aladdin that made bopping on heads fun again. It really felt like you were playing the "One Jump Ahead." There's also the controversial blanket. By pressing the R button, Aladdin holds a blanket over his head mid-jump to slow down his speed. Many have said this breaks the game and makes it easier, but it's not like it's mandatory.
That shit is mindblowing!
And hey, minigames are more fun in this one. Actually, I should say they're just much more forgiving. The slot machine-ish formula of Genesis Aladdin was fun, but sweet fucking Christ did Jafar show up way too often, which ended the bonus match. The SNES version was simply a wheel that had to be stopped at the right time, but at least it didn't piss me off.
And fuck, the music! Yeah, this isn't fair to compare, as the Genesis has a pretty crummy sound chip and Aladdin very much fell victim to this. It had plenty of those trademark low-pitch notes that made it sound like your TV was farting (and is what the music from Sonic Spinball is entirely comprised of) and some of the non-music from the movie gets pretty repetitive. Anyway, SNES Aladdin is made by Capcom, so of course the music is going to be great. The music in the "Whole New World" level is probably one of the best-sounding compositions on the SNES. Graphically, it's also one of the most beautiful levels on the system.
Unfortunately there are only three bosses in the game, but the last two (Jafar and Snake Jafar) beat the shit out of the Genesis version. Thanks to Mode 7 graphics, the floor you stand on actually is a part of the boss. It slithers up and down and completely throws you off while trying to fuck Snake Jafar's face up.
Finally, I should point out that as a kid, I found the crummy cutscenes in Genesis Aladdin to be pretty disappointing. What was far more damning was the ending. No palace going back to normal, no Genie in a goofy hat, just Aladdin and Jasmine kissing for a solid five minutes as the credits roll. This ending is a prime example that the Genesis wasn't really a system known for its substantial game endings. The SNES version is much akin to the great Super Star Wars series where the cutscenes weren't exactly taken from the movie, but redrawn. The cutscenes are very well-rendered and aren't just talking heads.
Y'all want crack?
So this concludes my first "Criminally Underrated" review. Don't get me wrong, I love both games to death. In fact, I love Aladdin. It's my favorite Disney movie, and I have the soundtrack on my iPod. And if you can only read this because you skipped this entire review to post a message expressing your hate towards me, read the review. Better yet, play both games and see for yourself which game you like more without having the fanboy goggles on.
Also, Aladdin From Compton