Time for a blast to the past… back to 1993. Back when movie tie-in games had a decent chance of being okay sometimes? Here’s a game that worked out quite nicely in video game form!
When I was a kid, Aladdin was the best Disney movie. Aladdin could not only Assassin’s Creed his way through a desert city where everyone was trying to kill him at once, he could do it while singing a really catchy tune. (Ezio seriously needs to step it up!) Who could be a cooler hero than Aladdin, a more menacing villain than Jafar, a hotter princess than Jasmine, or a more Robin-Williams Robin Williams than the Genie? At any rate, every kid left theaters wanting nothing more than to go straight to Saudi Arabia and start leaping off of buildings with the nearest rug they could get a hold of.
The cheaper and (slightly) safer alternative was to buy the video game of the movie! And while the SNES kids were left to mope when they discovered their Aladdin had to prance about the levels by jumping on enemies, the Genesis kids (the KEWL kids) got to live the dream, brandishing a scimitar and straight-up stabbing every guard, animal, and mythological creature in sight.
Just like in the movie!
This was definitely one of my favorite games back in the day, but I got to say… it was way harder when I was a kid than it is now. (It’s kind of a breeze now.) Did I just suck at video games as a kid? I guess I had to learn the ropes–and luckily, this was a good game to start with. It pretty much did everything right in regards to transferring the spirit of the film into a playable video game format. The graphics are great for a 16-bit game, utilizing an animation technique that really helped make it look like the movie. There were plenty of video game tie-ins in the past that worked well enough, of course… I mean, you could play Duck Tales and see, yeah, that’s supposed to be Scrooge McDuck. But it was clearly an 8-bit rendition of him, you know? However, by the time this Aladdin game came along, it really felt like–hey, that’s Aladdin. I’m playing the movie Aladdin. It was–and still is–pretty neat.
Perhaps what makes the game really shine though are all the little details. For example, if you’re a good distance away from the guards, you’re liable to see them stuffing their faces with ice cream sandwiches. Throw some apples at the guards while they chuck knives, and there’s a chance the apples will be sliced in half in mid-air. See a camel nearby? Jump on it and the animal will launch a hairball at enemies in the distance. Nastier guards will beckon for you to take them on (“C’MON”), and as you attack each other you’ll hear the metal clanging of scimitars. Deflect thrown knives with your sword, and you can send the projectiles straight back at enemies. And if one of those knives just barely reaches the guard, he loses his pants. Funny, right? It’s great to see the effort that was put in having everything interact in ways that meet the expectations of an animated film (or more specifically… the Aladdin film).
Way to rub it in, Aladdin!