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GENESIS Reviews: Disney's Aladdin


For those reading one of my Genesis review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

I already reviewed a bunch of SNES games, so its natural that I am going to review the games of its prime competition. Does the SEGA Genesis stand a chance against the legendary SNES library?

My review series is based on the top 100 list of Retro Sanctuary

Originally, I post most of my stuff in a football forum"Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

30: Disney's Aladdin:
Year: 1993.
Genre: Action Platformer.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Virgin Games.

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Of the many Disney licensed games in the 16 bit era, none are more famous or well regarded as the pair of Aladdin games on the Genesis and SNES. The fact that both games were considered good meant a comparison between the two always took place in the middle of the larger console wars debate.

Aladdin on the SNES was a good game, but Aladdin on the Genesis has some more obvious qualities that helped it get considered as the better game in the general consensus. Even if not by such a large margin.

"In Agrabah, a faraway land of wind and sand, a young street-rat named Aladdin must steal to survive"

Obviously, a licensed Aladdin game in 1993 would basically try and cover the plot of the film's story to the best of its ability. Aladdin on the Genesis does mostly that, and by borrowing some of the talent in Disney, it manages to convey the style of the film as well.

For the game to actually benefit from its license, its not enough for it to follow the basic plot, which it does in a very rudimentary 16bit game style. It should also convey its style. Which is what this game does.

Abu's animation and facial expression convey exactly how much style was lifted from the movie

The guards, who serve as basic enemy fodder, walk around and behave like they do in the movie. If you see a guard accidentally walking on burning coals, they prance about just like they did in the first song. Elsewhere, the game's levels, music, animation, and general style fits in really well. Even the gameover screen manages to convey the wonderful comedy of the Genie for a bit.

Unfortunately, that game over screen and one ugly level are all of the Genie's contribution to the game. Even Abu has more screen time, ignoring the fact that Aladdin would be a poor movie if not for the brilliance of big blue.

Good Use of the License: +4

"Infidels...Now you will never see the light of day again"

No matter how well you you use the license, it doesn't matter if the gameplay is not good. Thankfully, this gameplay in Aladdin is good. More focused on action than platforming, Aladdin goes through many stages where he has to defend himself with his trusty sword. He can also throw apples.

The sword is good, and its ability to deflect attack and projectiles make it much more useful than you would initially think due to its short range. Using it is also cooler than throwing apples.

Movement is fluid, especially with such a good animation, and you are almost always involved in doing something in these varied levels. However, I feel that just as with many games in the 16bit era, this could have benefited from a level or two more. It is just too short.

One disappointing aspect of the game is the boss battles. They are rudimentary at best, but that is being very generous. Take the final boss for example, you can only defeat him using apples. Since apples are a consumable item, your supply could run out before you defeat Jafar (spoiler alert, Jafar is the final boss). When you then die, you go to a checkpoint near the boss, with only 10 apples, which are not enough to kill him. Meaning you must go backtrack through the level picking up apples like some damn part time fruit picker. Worst of all, the fight is mind numbingly boring.

The boss battle might look great, but it is very boring, I don't think Aladdin would make it agains JAfar with just three apples

Other than that, the gameplay is fun enough, with some variety sprinkled in. Abu's bonus stages are a singular highlight, especially with their soundtrack, but other attempts at variety are also good if not particularly effective.

Fun Gameplay: +5
Bad Boss Battles: -2
Short: -1

"Free from the magic lamp, the Genie helps Aladdin escape the cave of wonders"

I would argue that what made Aladdin such a memorable game from the 16bit era. Probably, the most memorable of licensed games, is its impeccable art direction.

It is simply one of the best looking (if not THE best) games on the SNES. The clear, large, and detailed sprites are nice. However, its how they move that makes them especially unique. No surprise then to learn that actual Disney animators worked with the development team on this.

While not the same level of care was given to the backgrounds of the game's stages, the fact that every sprite was carefully designed and animated to be faithful to the film makes this a beautiful looking game.

This is what allows it to easily imitate the playful spirit of the film into the game.

With graphics as good as this, even traditionally boring stages such as lava stages look good

What seals the deal though is the game's musical score. I don't know how they did it, but Aladdin manages to transform all of the songs in the film into a 16bit score wonderfully. Listning to "Prince Ali" while jumping around in the streets of Agrabah is of course a delight.

I didn't particularly like the level inside the lamp, but "A Friend Like Me" pushed me right through it with a nostalgic smile in my face.Even tracks unrelated to the movie, such as the one playing in Abu's bonus stage, are good track (Even if they don't fit with the rest of the soundtrack).

Definitely, the game's graphics and musical score are its greatest assets.

Great Graphics: +4
Great Sound Track: +4

In Conclusion:

I still have not decided which game I prefer from the two 16bit Aladdin games. I know that I like both, and I know that outside of their use of the license, and the very good production value, both are not actually very special games.

However, they are good games, and are very good examples of a license being used well. The Genesis Aladdin lacks the polish of the SNES version, but it makes up for that by Disney's own help in its production.

Final: 39/50


Jafar Jafar he is our man, if he can't do it then.... GREAT



1- Apples are the best way for dealing with bosses.
2- You can use your sword to deflect most projectiles.
3- Make sure you have an adequate supply of apples for the final boss, you cannot defeat him without it.

Next Game:

Between the 2 16 bit Aladdin games, I can't really decide which I actually prefer. Both a re good games that use the license well, and both are good games that sadly rely on that license doing most of the leg work. Of course, the Sega version won commercially, with Aladdin on the Genesis being the 3rd best seller in that system.

Next game is one that is compared to A Link to the Past, at #24, Crusader of Centy is obviously not considered as good, but it looks very interesting indeed. Its made by Atlus, which makes it one of the earliest games that have been localized by that company

Stay Tuned

For Previous Genesis game Reviews:

The List

 For More Screenshots:

See Here

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About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Seeing as my top 10 games of all time would change depending on the day you ask me, I am just going to put in Random games I don't think are in anyone's top 10 list:

-Blood Will Tell
-Mega Man Legends 2
-Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
-Donkey Kong Country 2
-Suikoden 2

Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs