Genre: Platformer Developer: Virgin Interactive Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1 Released: 1993
Aladdin was released for the Sega Genesis in late 1993 and is a 2D side-scrolling game based on the legendary Disney movie of the same name that was developed by Virgin Interactive and published by Sega. The movie was made famous for its characters, and the game for its breathtaking graphics, which still look amazing today.
Gameplay takes place in an amazingly detailed 2D side-scrolling world. The diverse levels range from markets to dungeons, and all of them are filled with subtle details that suck you in and never let go. The market area, for example, has merchants in it, and the dungeon has skeletons. These little touches add quite a bit to the feel of the game. There are many enemies and they can be taken down with one of two weapons. You can use a sword or apples to thwart your foes. The sword is the more powerful of the two but it has a limited range of attack, while the apples have less power but more range than the sword. Be careful though, your apple supply is limited, so you’ll need to use them wisely. This adds an element of strategy to the game. You have to decide whether or not to use the more powerful weapon and risk injury, or use a lesser weapon and take longer to eliminate your foes. There aren’t all that many bosses to fight, which is a bit odd for this type of game, but it fits the movie better. There is only one true antagonist in the movie, Jafar, and he’s the only real boss in the game. This is one of the few games that can pull off only having one boss; and it does it flawlessly.
Speaking of flawless, the game handles like a dream. The controller will seem like an extension of your hand when you play this game because of the spot-on control. There is nary a moment of hesitation between your button press, and the on-screen action. This means you’ll be able to jump when you want and not when the game says it’s OK to jump, and that you can attack an enemy at your will and not be at the will of the game.
The graphics in Aladdin are absolutely breathtaking. The characters look nearly identical to those in the movie, replete with all of the little touches that define their personalities. Aladdin has patches on his pants, just like he did in the movie, to signify his poor status in the world and it adds an extra element to the character. The levels, as I mentioned earlier, are chock-full of details that bring a lot to the game. Even the enemies are full of details and humor. If you hit one of the larger guards with an apple, his pants will fall down, revealing white boxers with red hearts on them. This is one of the funniest things in the game, and it goes a ways towards retaining the atmosphere of the film. The character animation used has achieved legendary status, as it should, because each and every frame of animation was done by the Disney animators that worked on the movie. The animation is some of the most fluid I have ever had the privilege of seeing, and it is truly astounding. There are some really subtle animations that most won’t even notice, such as the animation of an apple being cut in half. If you throw an apple and an enemy blocks it with their sword, the apple will be cut in half. This is just one example of the thorough animation in the game. There are tons of little animations that you probably won’t notice unless you pause the game, like the animation of an apple being thrown. If you pause the game as you start to throw an apple, you will see three of the frames of it as it’s thrown. This translates to three frames of animation in each frame for an apple being thrown. By comparison, most games, even today, just have one frame of animation for each frame. The look of the final product is amazing, you must see Aladdin in motion to truly appreciate the splendor that is the animation in the game.
The music is lifted right out of the movie, sans lyrics. All of it have a crisp and upbeat sound and fit the game’s theme perfectly. The quality of the music leaves a little bit to be desired, since the lyrics added a lot to the songs in the movie. The lack of lyrics doesn’t hurt the overall package all that much and it still adds a lot to the look and feel of the game.
Aladdin isn’t the hardest game ever. In fact, it’s one of the easiest. This flaw is easy to overlook given the targeted age group of the game, and may also explain the game’s lack of bosses. Most kids don’t want to deal with a boss at every level or brain-teasing puzzles.
Despite the lack of challenge, Aladdin is one of the most replay-laden games out there. Once you beat it, you will come crawling back just to look at it one more time, if only to notice some of the more subtle animations in the game. I’ve only scratched the surface of the animation but I’ve got to leave you, the player, with something to find for yourself! You’ll have a great time looking for the more subtle animations, I guarantee it.
All in all, Aladdin is one of the finest platformers ever. It combines pick-up-and-play gameplay with one of the smoothest game engines out there, as well as some of the most detailed graphics ever. The music captures the spirit of the game, and really adds a layer of depth.
Aladdin performs like a dream on the Nomad. The graphics are still breathtaking, and the more subtle animations are easier to spot on the Nomad. The blurring of the screen is barely noticeable during game play and is only distracting during the credits, the text in the menus and on the cinematic cut scenes can be read easily. The music is still amazing and the game still controls like a dream. If you own a Nomad, this is one of the finest purchases you can make for it.