Title: Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox, and Steam
Release Date: October 29th, 2019
Version Tested: Switch
Where to Buy it: Steam and Retailers Everywhere
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King is a nostalgic good time for those who want to relive ‘90s greatness. The collection contains several versions of each game, along with a slew of bonus features, and tracks from their respective in-game musical scores. The pair of classics are just as challenging as they were decades ago and can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. Since this collection is comprised of two completely different games, I shall break up this review and discuss each title separately.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin
What You Get
I have been and always shall be a member of team Nintendo. I never had a Genesis and never wanted one. To me, the Sega Genesis was an inferior system, muddled by inferior graphics, poor sound, and a terrible pack-in controller. All of the future add-ons never helped its case either. It wasn’t until the Dreamcast that I finally gave the company a chance. With that said, there are a few games that I was always jealous of my Sega friends for having. One of these was the Genesis version of Aladdin.
Aladdin for the Genesis was far superior to the SNES version. They were two completely different games. The Sega version looked better, sounded better, and was simply more enjoyable. The reason for this was that they were developed by two different companies. It’s slightly confusing and irrelevant to this review, but I needed to get that out there.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin, much to my happiness comes with six versions of the game. Players get to choose from the original Sega version, the Final Cut Version, a Demo Cut of the game, the Japanese version, and both the regular and color handheld editions. Since the SNES version was developed by a different company, it is not included in this collection.
The original Sega port is exactly as you remember it from all those years ago. There have been no changes, just an exact port of the original game. The Final Cut of the game was made especially for this collection, which includes difficulty adjustments, camera refinements, bug fixes, and a few more additions to please fans. The Demo version was an early dev shown off at a trade show in Chicago in 1993. The Japanese version of the game seems identical to the American version, just with all the writing in Japanese instead of English. Finally, there are two handheld versions, which was a nice little bonus to round things out.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin is just as challenging as it was oh so many years ago. The platforming is well balanced and the pacing is spot on. It was and still is one of those games that’s simple and simply fun to play. The Final Cut version does look smoother and fixes some of the camera issues, but overall, it’s the same game. It took me a while to get used to the old play mechanics, so I definitely bit the dust a few times out of the gate. Once I got used to it, I was flying through the streets like a pro. Each level has lots of hidden areas filled with power-ups, bonus materials, extra lives, and more. I enjoyed finding these areas and they definitely add to the games longevity.
Why is There a Demo Version?
I think it’s pretty cool they included the demo version in this collection. Playing it feels like a bizzaro world where everything is the same yet different. The animations are slightly off, some of the character designs are different, and the level builds don’t look quite the same as in the final version. It’s a great way to look into the early part of the development to see where the creators were going with it and how the whole thing evolved into what we eventually got.
Along with a plethora of versions of the game, players also get a whole magic carpet load of extra features. The aptly titled Museum section contains making-of videos, game art, and movie art. The videos feature fantastic interviews with the creators that are pretty insightful. It’s amazing what you learn about how these games were made back in the day. The in-game art section has its own little written commentary on each slide. The movie art has a nice collection of stills from the actual theatrical feature along with color guides.
This might sound petty, but the one issue I had with the bonus features came when watching the videos. The movie player never fully disappears. As videos play, you always see the faded progress bar and control buttons. There is no way (that I found) to make it go away. It’s a minor gripe, but I always find it very distracting.
There’s not much to say here other than it’s exactly what it sounds. For those hoping it was music form the actual movie, you will be very disappointed. The Soundtrack menu only consists of tracks from the in-game music and nothing more. It’s interesting to see what each piece of music is called as well as have the ability to hear it isolated from the rest of the game music and sounds. The inclusion of this is a nice touch, but nothing that’s really going to make or break the collection.
Disney Classic Games: The Lion King
What You Get
Disney Classic Games: The Lion King comes with both the SNES and the Genesis version of the game as well as the Japanese version. Like the Aladdin collection, you also get the regular and color handheld editions. I won’t go into a long diatribe this time around, but it’s my humble opinion that the SNES version was and still is the far superior game.
The SNES Lion King looks better, sounds better, plays better and is all around a higher quality game as compared to the Genesis version. I am not sure if this is due to the Genesis limitations or what, but it’s obvious as soon as you see the intro screen. The graphics are noticeably different when doing a side by side. This isn’t to say the Genesis version is far less enjoyable, but it’s clearly lacking in several areas. I should note, the games are an exact port of the original and so they look and play exactly as they did on their respective consoles. The Japanese version appears to be the SNES one and looks/plays the same. This is all just my opinion and I welcome a healthy debate on which one is the better game.
Ask anyone who played The Lion King back in the day and they will tell you it was a hard game. The platforming can be a little uneven and get frustrating at times. The third level, in particular, has a part that can get downright infuriating. It’s one of those games that although not Battletoads hard, it’s certainly on top ten lists. This is not to say the game isn’t fun, because it is. Like Aladdin, it was a well-developed titled and offered something different back in the early ‘90s. It looks great (especially the SNES version), and the music is fun.
Like the Aladdin collection, this too has a bonus features area. Interviews, game and movie art, as well as soundtrack options, are all available in the special features area. There’s not much to say here that would be different than what was mentioned above. I have the same gripe with the video player, but it’s minor.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King has screen options for both games. Players can choose between having a sharp screen, full screen, or stretch everything to fit. There are also LCD, TV, and monitor filters. If you chose to play the game in its original aspect ratio you can turn on or off the background border. I played with it on, but some players might find it distracting.
The collection also comes with a save feature that allows you to quickly save your progress in each of the games and continue whenever and wherever you want. I love this aspect and it allows players to put the game down at any point. Help’s out when things get frustrating.
Verdict: Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King is quite the collection. Between the two titles, there are a total of 11 versions to choose from. Whether you’re a Sega fan or a diehard Nintendo loyalist, there’s something for everyone here. The handheld versions are a nice touch and fun in their own right. It’s nice to take a step back in time and remember the great games from back in the day. Aladdin and The Lion King were fun and well-developed platformers that still hold up today.
- A perfect port of the originals
- Multiple versions of each
- Fantastic bonus features and extras
- SNES version of Aladdin not included
- Distracting video player in extras