Aladdin (SNES)

Aladdin (SNES)

In 1992 Disney’s Aladdin was practically the movie event of the year.  Featuring fantastic animation and a wonderful story it was one of the most successful movies of the year which meant a deluge of video games were soon to follow.  The Sega game garnered the most attention, and rightfully so, but the SNES game by Capcom deserves just as much attention.

Aladdin was released in the fall of 1993.  As Capcom still held the rights to make games based off Disney properties for Nintendo consoles they handled this version.  Following the plot of the movie closely with only minor deviations to make the game longer you follow Aladdin as he starts out as a street rat and eventually becomes a prince worthy of marrying Jasmine.  Though based on the same source material the SNES and Genesis games share some play mechanics but are completely different in execution.

Rather than swordplay this game focuses more on platforming.  Your primary means of attack is the ability to vault off most surfaces, from the heads of enemies to most platforms.  You can also throw apples but these serve mostly to distract or disorient the enemies for a few seconds to close the gap.  The controls are pretty tight giving you full range of movement no matter what surface you vault off of.  Early on you receive a blanket that can be used to glide over distances and generally save your ass from certain death at the last minute.   I must say Capcom did a very good job giving this a different feel to the more popular Genesis game everyone is familiar with.

The levels are taken from the movie and follow its plot to the letter.  From the streets of Aggrabah to the Cave of Wonders if it was in the movie it’s represented here.  2 of the levels take place on the magic carpet and almost feel like bonus stages for a nice change of pace.  In addition, a further 2 stages loosely based on the events of the movie have been added: a romp inside the genie’s lamp and a short trek through a pyramid to save Abu.  These fit in with the theme of the game perfectly and are a welcome addition.

Overall the game is a bit short at only 6 stages with multiple segments.  Even worse, the game is also very easy.  Although you aren’t thrown extra lives at a ridiculous pace you will rarely take heavy amounts of damage and there is generally food waiting to replenish your health when necessary.   The few bosses in the game follow simple patterns easily discernible after a few seconds.  For those seeking an extra challenge there are 70 red gems scattered throughout the game, many requiring precision platforming skill to reach.  The only downside is that these only slightly change the ending.

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Aladdin for the Genesis received many accolades for its animation and deserved every single one of them.  I mean c’mon, you have the Disney animators themselves assisting, there’s no way in hell it would turn out bad.  Capcom has done a splendid job of making sure their SNES game is not too far behind with every enemy animating as well as Aladdin himself.  This version is the polar opposite of the Genesis game, with smaller characters and beautiful backgrounds lush with color and detail.  The color palette of the movie is recreated perfectly with warm reds and blues depending on the stage.  The visual variety from level to level is also high with no 2 looking alike.  The soundtrack features a blend of original tunes and a few lifted from the movie, with both fitting perfectly.

Aladdin was one of Disney’s best animated movies and the video game adaptations all did the film justice.  Nearly all of the games are different enough that you can buy any of them and have a good time, wit this rendition near the top.  It is a bit easy but still fun for a few hours.

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