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Aladdin – SNES

Aladdin – SNES

AladdinPlatform:  Super NES

Release Date (NA):  November 1993

Developer:  Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Genre:  Action, Platformer

Reviewed by StarSpangledEggs

The 1993 video game rendition of Disney’s animated film Aladdin is among the greatest of Super Nintendo classics.  Aladdin on SNES exhibits a mastery of great platforming elements, creates diverse and intriguing level designs, and entices players with 8-bit tunes from the film’s soundtrack all along the way.  The replay value of this simple yet satisfying experience is beyond my humble description, as I have beaten the game countless times and still find myself going back for more every so often.  What keeps me and countless other retro gamers diving back into this Arabian Night?  The same things that will likely warrant playthroughs of your own.

Aladdin is a platforming game published by Capcom, the company that also published some of gaming’s greatest hits like Street Fighter and Mega Man.  But, you might also remember Capcom to be responsible for the 5th hardest NES game of all time, Ghosts ‘N’ GoblinsGhosts ‘N’ Goblins received this rank for good reasons, most notably for its unforgiving Ninja Gaiden-esque death rate and hazard count.  While many a tear were shed and countless a soul were crushed by that infamous platformer, Capcom learned from its experience how to make platformers more accessible and attractive on the next gaming console.

Players assume control of the source film’s protagonist, Aladdin, for the duration of the adventure (hence the game’s fitting title).  Aladdin is a notably versatile individual, whose skills and abilities would put modern-day Olympic competitors to sorrowful shame.  Despite Aladdin’s precedent lifestyle of desolate deprivation, Capcom has granted him the godly offset abilities to vault a story high off a well-timed handspring, ignore momentum and wind resistance in his aerial arcs, leap fearlessly off tall structures to land unhindered by his fall, and even utilize a small rag as a parachute to traverse the terrains he encounters in his adventure.  These skills, exaggerated as they may seem, are all vital tools that our friend “Al” must utilize to survive each level.

Levels are grouped into chapters, each hosting a unique theme for the level design inspired by the movie’s chronology of events.  The game begins with Al hitting the streets of Agribah causing his usual ruckus with the city guards, and continues on throughout the main series of settings shown in the movie.  The film had many parts where levels were difficult to extrapolate from the source material alone, so Capcom used some creative license and added a few of their own to lengthen the gaming experience.  Such additions to movie-licensed games have been one of gaming history’s largest “hit or miss” variables in rating games, but Aladdin seems to keep the flow of the game going strong even between the major action set-pieces from the story.

AladdinThe best of these game-exclusive additions is the chapter in “Genie Land.”  Genie Land is the game’s unique interpretation of the first time Aladdin is introduced to the legendary genie.  In the film, viewers were treated to an explosive visual display of the genie’s magic and Robin Williams’s “singing” voice (which we were thankfully spared of in the game).  Instead, players get to explore a colorful, fun, and simply enjoyable magic-inspired stage while jamming out to the SNES instrumental version of “You’ve Never Had a Friend Like Me!”  Capcom really let their refined platforming finesse shine in this segment as they allowed Aladdin to swing from balloons high in the heavens, float on dissipating cloud platforms, handspring off giant playing cards, grip on gold rings for safety, all while having the nearly unnerving attention of hundreds of scattered genie faces staring and smiling at you (except when you die, they are simply aghast when that happens).

AladdinGenie comes to be one of Al’s best friends in the game, as he is also the face of the “Break Time” mini game that Prince Ali will have the chance to play in each chapter.  Players get to play “Break Time” if they find and collect the fleeting Golden Scarab beetle.  Break Time is much like any other wheel-spinning game, where the wheel is spun until it stops over an allotted prize that the spinner wins.  The wheel has everything from an extra heart to Aladdin’s health meter to a combo of extra lives, extra hearts, and a free continue upon losing all your lives (albeit hard to get).  No matter the outcome, Aladdin will always walk away with something useful as there is no “Bankrupt” slot, unlike another particularly sadistic wheel-spinning game that comes to mind…

There are other useful items scattered throughout each of the levels to be obtained as well.  Aladdin can also receive extra lives by collecting gems and jewels scattered throughout the levels.  These are the game’s generic Mario-inspired “coins” to give players something else to look for while going through levels.  Aladdin can also replenish lost health by finding loaves of bread and cooked chickens that will occasionally pop out of vases and chests.  Yes, apparently the denizens of Agribah store their cooked chickens in vases and then place them openly in the road for safekeeping.  I always imagined they would be pretty pissed off when they came back to a toppled vase and cannot find their chickens.  These design choices always struck me as odd since Aladdin would have a pretty easy and nutritious thief life in such a universe if littering gems and chickens were common practices, but I digress.

AladdinAladdin can also find sets of apples scattered about as well.  Strangely, these food items are not edible (although you will wish they were at times when you need health).  These apples are fashioned into ranged projectiles, thrown with enough force to stun a large guard and kill a small creature.  Apparently Al has quite the pitching arm.  Outside of small instances here and there, these apples are somewhat unnecessary as his main vaulting attack is his primary weapon.

AladdinIn proper Nintendo logic, you defeat your foes by jumping on their heads.  Aladdin does not stomp on them, rather he handsprings off of them, sending them to their off-screen demise. This is the standard of protocol for every enemy encounter the game, bosses included.  Just wait for the right moment, bounce off of their head, lather, rinse, repeat.  It is as simple as that.  Aladdin is shown clearly wielding a large sword on the cover art of the game cartridge (shown above) and displays some small swordplay in the Disney movie as well…yet here in the game, he never wields any weapon other than apples.  This is only a small facet of complaint considering how effective his handspring attack turns out to be by design.

While certain segments of the game provide challenge, Capcom definitely saved their platforming difficulty level for the Mega Man games.  The game was based on a popular Disney movie, so the game’s eased level of entry was to be expected.  Capcom instead focused on making a solid, satisfying, and fun adventure game that will stand atop the pantheon of perfect platformers because of their efforts.  It is legitimately difficult to find fair fault with the game.  Even aesthetically, the visuals were on par with the graphics of the time and the sound quality was on cue as well.  I highly recommend everyone give this game a try, as it is amazingly addictive through its simple yet sweet structure.  Think about it, some of the most popular gaming titles of all time are just simple and sweet (ex: Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Angry Birds, Call of Duty, etc.) because they allow for broad audiences.  In the end, Capcom’s Aladdin is a gentle but gratifying journey of apples and aerial aerobics through “A Whole New World” with Prince Ali.

Reviewed by StarSpangledEggs

Written by Nerd Bacon

Nerd Bacon

 
 

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6 Comments

  1. Nike Halifax says:

    It was hard to give Genesis Aladdin a 6. I absolutely love that game, but objectively speaking it’s full of small annoyances–which is true for all of Virgin’s Disney games from that era. I haven’t played this version in-depth, but I can already tell from limited experience that it’s much more polished.

    BUT WE GOT THE SWORD SO THERE.

     
  2. Ugh – I LOVED Aladdin as a kid, for sure! Aladdin was my favorite movie, so imagine my excitement in playing the game. Your review was exactly on point and funny.

     
  3. Pingback: The Jungle Book (SNES)

  4. Pingback: Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins – NES

  5. Great review StarSpangledEggs! I loved this game when I was a kid, although I never actually played the SNES version, I remember thinking highly of Aladdin for the Genesis. It was a truly fun experience, and I actually remember beating this game WITHOUT the codes. It was a great experience. Great review!

     

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