Disney's Aladdin for Nintendo's SNes is a side-scrolling platformer based on the successful animated film of the same name, and developed by Capcom. Aladdin takes you through different locations which are featured in the film, or are slightly inspired by events in the film. Players will go from the streets of Agrabah, the Cave Of Wonders, a magical alternative Genie world, and for a magic carpet ride, to name but a few. The graphics for it's time are quite impressive, with stunning backdrops and awesome animation that does not look jittery or too pixelated.
In this SNes version, you play as Aladdin as he attempts to thwart the evil Jafar and win the hand of Princess Jasmine. You can choose to use your sword for a bit of melee combat, or your supply of apples which stun the enemies to give you a chance to hit them with your sword. You will be dealing with enemies such as palace guards and stall vendors, and as the levels progress, you'll see the enemies get a lot harder. You will use certain items to progress through the levels, such as swinging on ropes, bouncing on the roofs of stalls, and jumping over poles and pots. As you progress through the level, you will get the opportunity to pick up tokens, which come in the form of a golden scarab-you will probably remember this little creature from the very beginning of the film. These tokens allow you to play a bonus round with the Genie between levels, where you are prompted to spin a roulete wheel that the Genie is holding. Whatever the roulette wheel lands on determines what you will receive. It may be extra lives, extra items, or sadly sometimes, you'll walk away with nothing. There are three difficulty levels to choose from, and the chance to enter a password for a certain level if you wanted to start at a certain point.
I find that I am quite disappointed by game adaptations of films most of the time, but there are a few examples where the disappointment is replaced by satisfaction. This Aladdin game is one of those times fortunately. The game is very close to the film, although like most film to game adaptations, there will be a few extra bosses or levels added in just to make the game a little longer. For an old game, the graphics are quite impressive, and do not look too dated. The characters move fluidly, and the scenery in each level is vibrant and eye-catching. Due to this being a gameboy colour game, the buttons are very simple. Players will only have to use the control/d-pad to angle Aladdin left and right, look up, or press down to duck. The coloured buttons on the right side of the controller allow the player to make Aladdin jump over objects, throw apples at enemies, or use his sword.
The SNes version features 8-Bit versions of the film's songs, including the most famous song, "A Whole New World" during a rather fitting, and relaxing, carpet ride level where you guide the carpet up and down in order to pick up coloured gems. The game is available to pick up quite cheaply on eBay, normally for no more than £10, so if you still have your hands on a Super Nintendo console, then this is a worthy purchase, and you are not really breaking the bank to pick it up.
The game itself is relatively easy, although it does get a little challenging on the harder difficulty, especially for those who are not really that familiar with side-scrolling platformer games. I found it only took a few hours to complete, so you won't be stuck on this game for ages. Capcom have done a fantastic job of re-imagining the magic of the excellent Disney film, and fans should not be disappointed. This is a perfect game for anyone who loved the original Disney film, Aladdin, and children will be able to grasp the gameplay quite easily.
The inevitable 16-bit video game tie-in to Disney's 1993 film really holds no surprises for players familiar with other releases of the time such as 'The Jungle Book,' 'Pinocchio,' 'Ariel: Disney's The Little Mermaid' and later 'The Lion King' and 'Pocahontas,' including anything featuring Mickey Mouse and that bunch. Virgin once again set about translating Disney's feature film fairy tale to Sega MegaDrive format in the form of a platform game starring the story's main character, and adapting (or where necessary, making up) the plot to accommodate eight or nine levels of platform hopping and enemy busting.
In truth, the 'Aladdin' game is among the better of those listed above, and as a high profile, high budget game, it is consequently well designed and clearly well tested. Fans of the film will be thankful that the character designs are very faithful, even if the platform game format requires significant departures from the plot in many ways, including the seemingly endless cloning of the same three or four palace guards throughout. It's bright, colourful and doesn't appear rushed, but this is essentially a short-term money-making attempt by Disney and Virgin that doesn't seek to push video games forward, but is rather content to steal successful ideas from elsewhere. If not for the nice graphics and animation, there would be little to distinguish this from the countless run-of-the-mill platform games produced in the late eighties and early nineties.
The plot of the game roughly follows that of the film, although the major events are explained in-between stages by brief dialogue exchanges. The stages themselves are essentially areas that need to be successful navigated from one end to the other, although the second and third levels require specific items to be found for progress to continue. It's obvious that some aspects of the Disney plot are more suited to this style of game than others, such as Aladdin's introduction thieving from the 'Agrabah Rooftops' or the fast-paced flying carpet escape with the lamp from the 'Cave of Wonders,' while others such as the magic carpet ride with Princess Jasmine are conspicuously absent (the Princess herself only appears briefly in a couple of storyboards between levels). Elsewhere, entirely original sections such as the 'Desert' and 'Inside the Lamp' are introduced to better demonstrate the progress of the plot in game form, and to provide an excuse for some zany genie antics.
One issue with the game is essentially true for most platform games, in that there's an awful lot of repetition. Not only enemies, but recognisable obstacles appear again and again even in seemingly unrelated levels, and it's only really the madness of the 'Inside the Lamp' and 'Escape' levels that provide a vastly different playing experience. The last level in particular is disappointing, as it re-uses objects from multiple levels and assumes players won't notice if they are coloured gold, rather than dark blue. In terms of the gameplay itself, the large Aladdin sprite is more frustrating to control than the smaller heroes of other notable platform games, such as Sonic, Mario or even Superfrog, his wide stance making it very difficult to accurately leap onto falling or retracting platforms in areas where fast movement is essential.
The close focus on the character similarly makes it impossible, in many instances, to know what's coming next, and a common occurrence in the game is the 'leap into the unknown' off to the right of the current screen, which will mostly result in landing on a previously unseen platform, but can sometimes spell death. Thankfully, the generous helpings of extra lives and continues mean that the game can be mastered quite simply through a learning process as stages are repeated again and again. Aside from the basic left-to-right platform elements, the game manages to stay memorable by introducing mini-games, featuring Aladdin's simian sidekick Abu, and a pot luck, fruit machine type round at the end of each level, fuelled by grinning Genie heads the player has collected. A shopkeeper also springs up from time to time, even inexplicably in the depths of the magic lamp, where red gems can be traded for extra lives or continues.
The game is controlled with the MegaDrive joypad, and the controls, which can be changed on the Options screen, can be mastered within mere seconds of gameplay; the C button is the jump button, as with most but not all games of this type, while B will swipe Aladdin's sword in front of him, and A will throw any apples that have been collected. A combination of both these attacks is most successful for traversing the game, and later boss enemies, including the final opponent Jafar, can only be dispatched with fruit, which is generously replenished in these stages. Upon starting the game, the player is overloaded with information in the form of a static screen detailing every power-up and interactive object in the game, including Genie vase restart points and Abu bonus level tokens, but many of these are either obvious, or can be learned after playing a couple of levels. There's really no need to get out a notepad and start scribbling down that a blue heart balloon replenishes health.
The game music is a nice touch, comprised of a mixture of primitive synthesised variations on songs from the Aladdin soundtrack and original, generic pieces that evoke a 'Dungeon' or 'Desert' atmosphere. Particularly memorable are the renditions of the genie song for the 'Inside the Lamp' level, which noticeably lacks the addition of Robin Williams' singing, and themes used for the Agrabah rooftops and marketplace. There is a limited use of voice sampling for Aladdin's triumphs and disasters, and for enemy deaths and taunts, which is executed impressively free of the hissing and muffled distortion that befell many games of the time that attempted to feature human voice ('Altered Beast' remains the most hilarious example of quite poor execution).
As a player with a casual hatred of all that Disney stands for, but simultaneously a casual fan of generic retro video games, and more importantly someone who had the film on video when he was a child, this is probably the best job that could have been done in translating the film across mediums, providing a fairly interesting and compelling game that will satisfy fans of the film, which I never really was. In any case, there's nothing funny about me reviewing 'Aladdin,' it's far from the most embarrassing Disney film tie-in for a twenty-one-year-old to be playing. I never played the 'Little Mermaid' game for instance, and anyone who said I did is lying.
Aladdin....quite sadly.....was one of my favourite games on the SNES. Looking back now it really was a crap game, and actually even for its time it wasn't up to scratch compared to the Megadrive's Aladdin....he had a sword in that version..... but nevertheless the SNES's version of Aladdin kept me amused. The game followed the plot of the film and its a platform game that is so easy that sometimes I get it out now and can still complete it each time. On each level you have to collect the red gems. There are ten red gems hidden in each level and if you collect them all you just erm... have them all. You do get congratulated at the end if you do though (in REALLY bad english). The green gems that are EVERYWHERE enable you to have extra lives and the bread gives you energy. The bad guys that you are up against are mostly fat men running at you and bats. However the further you get in the game Jafar comes to try and stop you and the final game is a game against Jafar as a snake. All in all the game is pretty tame now, but back then it was really fun for me to play. The graphics were amazingly good for its time and the game is a good reflection of the film as it all ties in, ie a carpet chase, surreal levels when the genie first meets Aladdin to show him his talents and of course abu following you around all the time. Basically if you like the film you'll like this game, especially as the music ties in with the film aswell, so I'd reccommend this game, maybe not to the fan of newer games, but just as pure unadulterated camp fun.