369: Disney's Aladdin

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JaySevenZero
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369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of Disney's Aladdin (MD/Genesis and SNES versions) for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by Magical_Isopod » January 28th, 2019, 7:49 pm

As I write this, I've just received my new copy of Aladdin for the Super Famicom in the mail, and I've just been hit with this intense wave of nostalgia. Of course, I played the SNES version as a kid, but the Japanese import was like $30 cheaper on eBay, so... Perhaps label me a miser.

Anyway. This game, for me, has a very specific attachment to a very specific place. Growing up, we would usually spend all the important Orthodox holidays - Christmas, Easter, in advance of weddings and baptisms, etc. - at the home of my Teta Kim and Uncle George in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. The adults would usually talk about worldly matters upstairs in the dining room (usually with a healthy mix of English and Macedonian), while my cousins and I would head down to the basement. I distinctly remember: This basement was huge - there was a big, cavernous TV room that took up most of the basement, and a second, smaller room where they had all the gaming stuff. On one side, there was the Super Nintendo - I know they had Mega Man X, Turtles in Time, Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Mega Man Soccer - and Aladdin of course. On the other side, they had a PC with DOOM and Putt-Putt Goes To The Moon on it. This would have been somewhere between the age of 3 and 6 for me - so aside from maybe the arcade, my very first memories with gaming occurred in this room, in this house.

My memories of Aladdin - the only game my brother and I could really figure out how to play at the time - are deeply intwined with the smells and sounds of that house. When I hear the intro level music, I can hear family members arguing in Macedonian, probably over trivialities. When I hear the sound of bouncing off a city guard's head, I can hear the very distinctive sound of the security system chiming when someone went out for a smoke. And as a really weird matter of fact, when I was a toddler, before I had even formed memories, I apparently managed to bounce around in one of those Jolly Jumpers so energetically, I happened to fall down those stairs to the basement - where I would have landed right in front of that gaming room. So in a really weird way, basically the first 6 or 7 years of my life are so heavily tied to this place, which in turn are so heavily tied to this specific game... I can actually connect a scar just above my hair line, from when I apparently fell down those basement steps, to a licensed Disney game from the early 90s. Isn't it utter madness, how the human memory makes associations?

(I'll probably update this when I actually get a chance to play Aladdin again, but I really had to write all this down - Back to RE2make now!)

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by The Baboon Baron » January 29th, 2019, 2:16 pm

For some reason only known to my 90’s child brain, I bought Aladdin on the Game Gear first. It was the first games machine I ever owned, and the portable, colour Sega machine was the ultimate gaming machine in my youthful eyes. It was the magic carpet level that drew me towards Aladdin- the adverts on Saturday mornings as well as the footage on Games Master all showed this white-knuckle thrill ride whilst being chased by a wall of fire, all whilst Robin Williams’ genie cracked wise- It looked like heaven.
So, spare me and others like me a moment’s thought that we bought the Game Gear version. It lacked a lot of the pizazz and flare of the console versions- no voice work, no walls of flame, no “hilarious” monkey Bonus stages. But despite this, there was still a solid core of 2D platforming & enjoyable chip tunes. The Magic Carpet section was a damp squib on the hand held, and the overall package was a far cry from consoles’ diamond in the rough.
The Game Gear got flogged at some point, and a shiny Mega Drive took stage centre. Even in black and white (the only spare tv) Aladdin looked impressive. Plus, on the Mega Drive version he had a sword for attacking enemies. Truly Sega did what Nintendon’t.
Its hard to articulate the power these 16-bit Disney adaptations had at the time- the palette of colours now made it look just like the film, and the atmosphere translated very well, ranging from the quite playful chaos of Agrabah to the genuinely spooky dungeon section and final boss. Also, its worth flagging that from the moment the game boots, the genie shoots a bird out of the sky, making sure a sense of humour is front and centre from the start and throughout, a key element of the film the game was aping.
Aladdin himself had plenty of charm and controlled quite well, with the era’s floaty jumps present and correct. The plot of the game followed the film’s story well, making full use of locales to ensure that the player was always interested in what would come next. A multitude of power up’s kept things interesting, and a fair difficulty curve ensured replays, though the previously mentioned Game Gear version is far too hard for most players.
I would struggle to pick between Aladdin or Lion King for best Disney game adaptation- both embraced the 2D cartoon approach which ensures that they’re both not only playable, but visually solid even today. The subsequent era of 32 & 64 bits has aged horribly by comparison. Aladdin should be remembered as one of Virgin Interactive’s classics, part of that golden era of successful tie ins like the mighty Cool Spot. To a certain age group who grew up with both a great film and a great game, this is a timeless classic.

3WR- PHENOMINAL COSMIC POWER

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by Alex79uk » January 29th, 2019, 5:43 pm

Megadrive Vs SNES, this is one of those games that really split people down the middle. Me, I'm firmly in the Megadrive camp. Absolutely gorgeous visuals and animation that truly stand the test of time. I replayed the game fairly recently, and it's still as fun as it ever was. I remember at the time feeling like I was genuinely playing a cartoon. As far as movie tie-in games went, this was a genuine high spot. Not just that either, it's a fantastic platformer in its own right. A little on the easy side, sure, but if you want to wallow in some early-90s nostalgia for a while, Aladdin will see you right.

THREE WORD REVIEW: Magic carpet ride.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by Alex79uk » January 29th, 2019, 5:45 pm

The Baboon Baron wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 2:16 pm
I would struggle to pick between Aladdin or Lion King for best Disney game adaptation
The Jungle Book was excellent, too.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by KissMammal » January 29th, 2019, 5:54 pm

I imagine this episode will at least in part be a comparison of the Mega Drive/Genesis and SNES versions of the game, and as the common consensus these days seems to be that the Mega Drive version was superior, I’ll go to bat for the SNES version.

Yes, the Mega Drive version looked better - it still looks incredible even now, despite the relatively limited colour palette. Yes, it was slicker and ran smoother. And yes, you got a sword. But I never really got on with how it actually played. The SNES version just seems a lot tighter and more satisfying to me in terms of its controls and platforming. But then in all honesty, I never really rated any of the Shiny/Virgin Interactive games aside from how they looked, and always thought they were a bit style over substance. They always seemed like more a showcase for their animation rather than gameplay mechanics.

But hey, personal preference and all that - I suspect as is usually the case with these things a large part of it comes down to which one you played the most as a kid.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by ratsoalbion » January 29th, 2019, 6:21 pm

It’s definitely not going to be a ‘which is best?’ show - we’re not interested in that - but no doubt we will have our preferences and will compare the two different approaches (American and Japanese).

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by KissMammal » January 29th, 2019, 6:43 pm

For sure.

No doubt the MD is the more well-known and iconic game - I just feel that the SNES version often gets somewhat overlooked as a result. Great that you're covering both.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by OneCreditBen » February 3rd, 2019, 11:28 am



I did the SNES version ages ago for the channel. Loads of fun and I keep meaning to dig the MD version out again and get that done too.

*Disclaimer*
This video contains a Michael Barrymore Joke.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by ratsoalbion » February 3rd, 2019, 11:35 am

Going to assume you mean a joke regarding the controversial circumstances surrounding the once popular comedian, rather than a repurposed old gag from Barrymore’s routine.
😉

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by Alex79uk » February 3rd, 2019, 2:39 pm

I think they should get Barrymore back on the telly. I caught an old episode of Strike It Lucky the other day, and the man was a genius light entertainer. Very quick, and whilst not hilarious in the same way perhaps Lee or Kitson are, he's a born funnyman. Genuinely.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by OneCreditBen » February 4th, 2019, 9:19 pm

ratsoalbion wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 11:35 am
Going to assume you mean a joke regarding the controversial circumstances surrounding the once popular comedian, rather than a repurposed old gag from Barrymore’s routine.
😉
The last time Michael Barrymore got Aladdin he nearly went to prison.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by Mr Ixolite » February 11th, 2019, 8:29 pm

I only just recently found ot there was more than one Aladdin platformer. To me there was just “the floppy-disk one I played on my parents old computer”, and its simplified Gameboy port -which is weird in hindsight, considering it was apparently the Genesis version.

At the time I considered the game a gorgeously faithful rendition of the animated film, and it still looks good, with eye-popping colors and fluid animations. I particularly enjoyed the small touches, such as guards burning their feet on hot coals, and Genies face serving as a supplement to your health bar, as he grows increasingly panicked as you near death.

The inviting visuals were likely a big asset for the game, as my younger self found it extremely difficult, being stuck on the carpet-riding escape from the Cave of Wonders in particular for ages. And when you finally beat that you need to face a hellish obstacle course conjured up by genie inside his lamp, which caught me completely off guard. “This wasn’t in the movie! Why is Genie trying so hard to kill me? I thought he was my friend!”. Of course the challenge makes sense from a gameplay perspective since the game is almost over, despite the movie only being half done at this point. As a kid I didn’t think much of these differences, but looking back they give the game a weird, unique identity which only superficially resembles the original– Theres purple bomb-throwing skeletons! One of the bosses is they guy who dies in the first scene! Aladdin cuts down guards by the dozens! But hey, since you’re already taking liberties making the movie a game, better go all out.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by Suits » February 11th, 2019, 8:38 pm

OneCreditBen wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 9:19 pm
The last time Michael Barrymore got Aladdin he nearly went to prison.
Wow.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by psychohype » March 14th, 2019, 10:53 pm

I miss the days when it was possible to have two separate developers take a crack at the same license, thus resulting in two distinct but contemporaneous games releasing on roughly parallel platforms like the SNES and Genesis/Mega Drive. Even back then, I don’t think it happened very often, but the curious case of the two 16-bit Aladdin games still stands out in my memory—largely because I think they both happen to be quite decent. Capcom’s SNES version may have moved at a slightly slower pace, but its emphasis on swinging acrobatics seemed appropriate to the spirit of the Disney film. The choice to give Aladdin a sword in the Virgin-developed Genesis version may have seemed like a questionable decision at first, but when you play it or see it in action, it doesn’t feel out of place.

If it comes down to a vote regarding which is the superior game, I have to nod my head to the Genesis version. I do appreciate its faster, smoother animation, as well as the more saturated color palette. It’s certainly not without its drawbacks though. It suffers from a lot of the same general player feedback issues that would go on to frustrate the experience of games like Earthworm Jim, made by many of the same people, or Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. The levels, characters, and objects all looked great, but it was sometimes hard to distinguish things like the character hit boxes or what constituted a platform and when. I hated the Genesis version’s magic carpet level for its cheap one-hit deaths. Am I crazy, or do I remember the game just let me skip that level after failing so many times? I can’t recall if I ever made it out of the genie’s lamp alive, but I know I never managed to beat the game. That said, I did pick up a used copy at a retro game store a few years back, so I’ll probably give it another effort eventually.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by duskvstweak » April 9th, 2019, 2:38 pm

I loved the SNES Aladdin when I was kid. It was one of my favorite movies then (and now) and it was a game I could play and beat fairly quickly, meaning I played through it a few times. In my later teen years, I found a copy of it and replayed it, surprised but how much I still enjoyed it.

As a seven year old, it wasn't just how much fun it was to play, it was the fact that it LOOKED like the movie. The backgrounds, the characters and most of the music were faithful to the film and that was a huge factor in why I replayed the game so many times. That and the fact that the magic carpet scenes were so much fun and that Jafar looked so menacing in his snake form.

Also, as a slight loner of a seven year old, I didn't know anyone with a Sega, which means I didn't even know there was a different version of the game! I've still never played that version, because it wouldn't be MY Aladdin game, the game that I have nothing but warm memories of.

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Re: 369: Disney's Aladdin

Post by BlueWeaselBreath » April 16th, 2019, 1:45 am

If you’d asked me in the 90’s which was better, the Genesis or the SNES version of Aladdin, I’d say it was a no-brainer. The Genesis one, obviously! I hadn’t played either, only seen the screenshots in magazines, and the beautiful, colorful Genesis sprites looked so much better than the small, muddy, drab SNES sprites. I played five minutes of the Genesis one as a kid, and that cemented my opinion.

I’ve still never played the SNES version, but after finally delving again into the Genesis Aladdin late last year, for real this time, I have to say, the SNES version probably has superior gameplay. After save-scumming my way through about half the Genesis version, I realized I wasn’t enjoying the experience. Sure, it was beautiful, and the ludonarrative dissonance of the pure-of-heart Aladdin hacking dozens of guards and merchants to death with a scimitar was a hoot! But the hit detection was completely wack. I couldn’t tell how close I could get to a pit before falling in. Each new level started to get visually repetitive after about sixty seconds. I was dying constantly, not able to dodge or attack deftly enough. In spite of my love of the movie and my theoretical attraction to this version of the game, I wasn’t having fun! I kept meaning to go back and finish the Cave of Wonders, but I still haven’t yet. I’d love to give the SNES one a try someday.

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