Gamers that had a Genesis from way back may remember this game as one of the times a big-time studio like Disney and game developers had successfully married film with gaming. Whatever had happened at the time – the stars were right, the planets were in a special pattern the in the heavens, there were Disney people that had actually played games, someone had their tea with just the right sugar – worked magic.
The result was that Aladdin for the Genesis in ’93 wasn’t your typical movie tie-in. It also became a fantastic platformer.
The hand drawn, animated look of the characters brought them to life onscreen whether it was Aladdin running through the streets of Agrabah in his baggy white pants or the guard dropping his pants after being splattered with a thrown apple. The humor of the film came through its characters thanks to this kind of attention to detail along with some of the thrills whether it was flying through the Cave of Wonders or exploring the Genie’s lamp from the inside.
Musically, the game made the most of its collaboration with clever “game lite” renditions of the main themes such as Arabian Nights adding a lot to the atmosphere and the cutthroat action. It was challenging stuff, but not controller busting hard. Just enough to make it a lot of fun without frustrating the hell out of you. Besides, it was just awesome to stare at the great visuals.
A smoking lamp in the upper left corner indicated the health Aladdin had, there were checkpoints for if you die, and you also had a number of “tries” or lives. A limited number of continues were also available, though the number of lives you started out with could be adjusted from the options screen by dropping the difficulty.
There was even an in-game merchant that sold lives and wishes (which were additional continues) to you if you collected enough gems. Coupled with decent controls, simple gameplay, and a lot of atmosphere packed into this side scrolling adventure, it did gamers proud.
Aladdin’s two-page ad below did a really good job in portraying what the game was but the Genesis wasn’t the only place that the infamous thief found himself on. On the other side of the coin, the other iterations stood out on their own. Different developers took on the job of bringing Aladdin to the other platforms and also introduced their own ideas into the mix, but the Genesis really stood out for the quality of its animated pieces.
That’s not to say the other versions weren’t as good or successful, but the collaborative power behind it was particularly notable thanks to the “dream team” of innovators behind the process used to bring the animation to life. Steve Perry (Shiny Entertainment) along with a number of animators from Disney worked together to overcome the technical questions involved and the results speak for themselves. I just wish some of that rubbed off on the interludes in between each stage, but I still loved playing this game.