Superman 64 left a really bad taste in my mouth. Come to think of it, I’ve been playing way too many shitty games lately… I guess I’d better cleanse my palate with a good one.
In 1992, Disney released their animated adaption of Aladdin. It was both a critical and commercial success, spawning toys, sequels, and, of course, games. Quite a few games, in fact… but the one I’m talking about today is the SNES game, developed by none other than Capcom.
Capcom and Disney were good pals back then. Capcom was at the top of their game, and made tons of fantastic video games based on Disney properties… Duck Tales, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Goof Troop to name a few. And, of course, Aladdin on the SNES. There were also Aladdin games on the Genesis and Game Gear, but those were made by separate developers and had little resemblance to the SNES version.
Aladdin is a platforming game, and quite a well-flowing one at that. Owing to his acrobatic nature, Aladdin can run, jump, swing from poles, climb ledges, vault off of enemies, and generally Assassin’s Creed his way through the stages. Speaking of which, the stages are all vibrant and unique, maintaining the look and feel of the film without sacrificing the platforming gameplay.
In addition to jumping on enemies’ heads, you pick up apples that can be thrown. While the apples will kill most of the smaller enemies, they only stun larger enemies like the guards.
You can also pick up a piece of cloth, which you can use as a parachute to slow down and control your fall. It goes without saying, but you really want this fucking parachute, especially in the later stages.
Some stages have a hidden Scarab that can be collected. Getting the Scarab grants you with a bonus stage when the level ends, a roulette wheel that can give you lives, credits, or health.
There’s only a handful of bosses in the game. The first is the Shopkeeper from the movie, and he’s not too hard.
The passwords are short and sweet, as they should be. It may seem like a minor thing, but way too many games have ridiculously long and complicated passwords.
The game follows the movie pretty damn closely. Pretty much every key scene is represented in some fashion, and the stages follow suit. And yes, like the movie, once Abu grabs the gem all hell breaks loose…
The Cave of Wonders starts collapsing around you, and you’re forced to navigate a treacherous sea of lava. Better hope you grabbed the parachute earlier. There’s also a flying carpet segment, which is just short enough to not feel too frustrating.
So of course, Aladdin meets the Genie when he accidentally rubs the lamp. And then…
After that little aside, you get to work escaping from an… Egyptian pyramid? Huh. Well, odd as it is, it’s fun to play and looks pretty awesome to boot.
You actually get to play the “Whole New World” segment as a stage, and man is it soothing. After the perils of the Egyptian temple, this level relaxes you somewhat. There’s no enemies to fight and no obstacles… the only goal is to gather gems.
Of course, things turn bad pretty quickly as Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp. He teleports Aladdin to a frozen wasteland, and, unfortunately, there’s no stages here. Aladdin finds the flying carpet and returns to Agrabah to face Jafar.
The stages leading to Jafar are some of the most difficult yet, but you’re in the home stretch. Aladdin’s not a very long game, but that’s fine by me… I’d rather see a handful of stages done well than a lot of stages done poorly.
Soon, you’ll face Jafar. He’s tricky, but by this point you’ll have mastered the skills necessary to defeat him. And once you do…
Jafar uses his new powers to show you how sssssssssnakelike he can be. You fight on top of his body, which writhes about in an attempt to send you into the fire below. His attacks consist of lunging bites, as well as spitting out eggs that can be vaulted off of to reach his head.
Hit him enough times, and he’ll fall.
The ending follows the movie directly, with Jafar wishing to become a Genie, only to be sucked into a lamp himself. A bit of a shame you don’t get to fight him in his genie form, but I guess the Kingdom Hearts series makes up for that.
I really like this game. A lot of people tend to prefer the Genesis version for some reason, but I’ve always felt that the SNES game was far superior. The graphics and sound are fantastic, the controls are tight, the gameplay is flowing and easy to get into, and overall it just feels like a more well-designed game than the often-clunky Genesis version.
This game was eventually ported to the Game Boy Advance. While it’s a nice gesture, the GBA version doesn’t have any of the music from the movie! I’m assuming it was some sort of rights issue, but you really can’t have a game based on an animated musical without actually featuring any of the songs from said musical.
Anyway, Aladdin on the SNES is a fantastic game and everyone should play it. Especially if you need something to get the taste of Superman 64 out of your mouth.