Friday, February 15, 2013

Aladdin (Sega Genesis, 1993)

For 1993 I'm reviewing a game that existed on both the Genesis and the SNES. You'd think that this is one of those cases where Sega... does what Ninten-does. However, it was an entirely different game on each system. While the SNES version has Aladdin jumping on the heads of enemies to defeat them ("plzdon'tsue" said Nintendo to parents), the Genesis version has Aladdin slicing foes up with a scimitar. Bad-ass!

Disney is no stranger to the video game arena. Much like LucasArts, they have thrown their hat into it a number of times, with generally good results. And then there's... Virgin Games. Hee. Hee hee.

Here's the "explain how the game works" screen. It's nice and to-the-point. One of the best I've ever seen. Look at Princess Jasmine. Being a princess and all, she needs rescuing.

I already mentioned that this game existed on both the SNES and Genesis, with some pretty major differences between the two. Here's a video comparison, if you're interested. I have no intention of playing the SNES version, since I already played it as a kid and wasn't all that impressed. It's very average. The Genesis version here is all new to me, and a better game.

THE PLOT. Aladdin was one of Disney's best movies to begin with, and they did a good job bringing the same feel to this game.

Right off the bat, a few things are clear: A) The play controls are pretty loose, a common thing from this era that I'm not crazy about. B) The animation is INCREDIBLE. Good God. This game makes the Genesis look on par with the SNES graphically. C) While Aladdin sports a sword, his most formidable weapons in this game are... apples. You have a limited ammo supply of the things, though.

The enemies in this game are SO WELL ANIMATED. It's like being in a cartoon. There are lots of ropes, too. Reminds me of Donkey Kong Country. Also, all of the music sounds like the Cantina theme from Star Wars.

When you lose a life, Abu exposes his junk to Aladdin while he's out. Someone arrest that monkey!

There's even commerce in the game. I don't know what "WISH" does, so I spend all my jewels on extra lives. I should have at least tried "WISH" to see what'd happen. A three-way with Jasmine and Mulan? Make it so, Disney.

During a post-stage minigame, I realize something: The Genie is a creepy dude. The fact that he's got someone's severed head in his mouth here is most likely the least of his crimes.

During one stage, I get to play as the murderous, bloodthirsty Abu. He goes on a sword-swinging rampage not unlike the infamous Pint-Sized Slasher of Fallout 3.

The next area is a desert. One thing that I've noticed the Genesis has a lot of? Yellow. It's a color that you rarely see in SNES games, but it's all over the place in Genesis games. Come to think of it, the Genesis in general seems to have more pastel colors.

Aladdin finds an oasis. But is it all an illusion? And is Jasmine his Wonderwall?

Ruins. Not much to say here, but I'm really liking this level. This is one of the happiest games I've played in a while.

...and on that note, what the hell? You're supposed to do your business INSIDE the tent, Aladdin!

The world of Aladdin has a separate bathroom for genies. Meanwhile, Abu beats down a guard for rent money. "Sometimes you just gotta smack a bitch" says the rough-and-tumble simian.

A boss fight? WHOA. Took half the game for one to show up. Doesn't look like much of a boss, but he is. Aladdin defeats him, and Jasmine is saved. Right?

"Sorry Aladdin, but your princess is in another castle!" says Toad. Then, his slimy inner jaw slowly extends out and snaps at the air a couple of times.

Next stage is the Cave of Wonders. I definitely remember this from the movie. I like how versatile Aladdin is. He can climb across ceilings, climb ropes, cross balance beams, and do all kinds of things... all with some sick animation. I don't think this game knows how to look bad in a screenshot.

This statue... all I can say is that Shiva from Final Fantasy (or rather, from ancient mythology, like everything else in Final Fantasy) really let herself go.

The vicious, psychotic Abu (who bears a vague resemblance to former president George W. Bush here) angers the cave and it ATTACKS.

A boulder chases Aladdin out. RUN, ALADDIN! RUN!


As the Cave of Wonders collapses, we get a rail stage (sort of) where you ride the carpet and have to dodge obstacles that zoom up with very little warning. It's no Battletoads, so no worries.

The sun laughs hysterically as Aladdin leaps around in Genie Land. Yep, that's the world's biggest Sega Genesis in the background treasure trove.

Here, the ceiling consists of animated genie balloons. He's basically everywhere here inside his lamp world. The Genie is like Q from Star Trek.

Remember what I was saying about the genie being creepy? My God. Just... My God.

 "I've had enough of your antics, Q!"

Next stage. The Sultan's palace of pleasure is full of pink flamingos and giggling, girlish eunuchs.

The homicidal, genocidal Abu is imprisoned here. Finally, justice for all those people he murdered!

Aladdin soon finds himself locked in combat with Iago, Jafar's parrot. That's right, Iago is a boss in this game. He sics ghosts on our hero. The fight isn't much to write home about, and is over quickly. Iago would go on to appear on many boxes of Froot Loops under his witness protection alias.

And here we are at Jafar's Castle, the last level of the game. It's a bit more sinister than the Sultan's palace of pleasure and flamingos.

Didn't get a shot of Jafar in his standard form, but he quickly transforms into a serpent. This happened in the SNES version too, but in this one he's REALLY DIFFICULT. He scorches the floor of the entire room, meaning you can't stand still for more than half a second in any particular spot without taking damage.

Making things worse, you can only damage him with apples, so if you get here with a low supply of them, good luck. One of the tougher final bosses I've faced lately... but only because Toad is barred from being a final boss by the authorities.

Virgin Games... hee. Well, one thing is for sure: the company name has zero relation to Princess Jasmine. This clearly isn't the sassy minx's first rodeo.

Similar posts from around the site:


  1. I found this exclusive video of Abu:

  2. I played the SNES version, so this is new to me, and it looks awesome. The game seems to flow better with cutting instead of jumping, though I did like the way you bounced guards off the screen in the SNES version. Anyway, even the levels have changed. The Genie level was a lot brighter and more trippy in my SNES memory, and the desert and Sultan's palace levels I don't remember. I think the magic carpet level used Mode 7 but maybe I'm making that up. Astute observation that the Genesis had more yellows and pastels; that's definitely due to design differences. Aladdin is better suited to gaming than most Disney heroes, indeed. Also, you never turned into Prince Ali!
    Excellent ending screen. By showing a kiss, it did what Nintendidn't.