It's sometimes nice to see a piece of your childhood bought back in modern times. It's common enough these days with virtual consoles and numerous remasters or re-releases. Then again, it's sometimes painful when you remember how difficult games used to be back in the day. Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King was announced back in August to much fanfare. I can only assume that, upon release, people suddenly remembered what The Lion King on SNES actually was before quietly weeping.
Aladdin and The Lion King were two of the most popular movies of the 'Disney Renaissance' back in the 90s. They each received popular games on both SNES and Sega Genesis. Both were platformers and both very closely mirrored the animations of their source material. To this day these games both still look great. The reproduction Disney artwork still looks smooth, almost exactly like a pixelated version of the movies they're based on.
Disney Classic Games Provides So Many Versions of Each Game
Disney Classic Games: Lion King And Aladdin collect several versions of each of the games in question. The Lion King comes with both the Nintendo and Sega versions, as well as handheld versions in color and monochrome. Aladdin unfortunately only includes the Sega version of the game, possibly because Capcom made the Nintendo version. To make up for it, Aladdin comes with an extra 'final mix' version, as well as an early demo version of the game, alongside the handheld modes. Both games also include the Japanese versions.
As you can probably tell, this is a pretty damn comprehensive collection. The real question is, do these games hold up today? The answer is complicated but the short version is 'yes'. Both games in question are beautifully crafted, although Aladdin is probably closer to the movie. No matter if you're rocking their original resolution or the stretched-out modes with various filters, each version looks great. The handheld games look...acceptable. Obviously, they are less powerful, so stretching them onto a modern screen doesn't do them any favors.
Realistically some of the extra versions do feel a little superfluous. The final mix and Japanese versions differ very little from the regular versions. Each one seems to have some altered item and enemy placements, but they're not particularly harder. They also don't seem to change level design at all so it doesn't really feel that distinct. The handheld versions are also a bit odd. It's nice to have them around for completion's sake but I can't imagine actually sitting down and playing them for enjoyment.
Aladdin and The Lion King are as Tough as Nails at Times
Many retro games can be as tough as nails. As much as many gamers will try to tell you otherwise, this isn't because players were tougher back in the day. The real reason that older games can be such ball-busters is that they had little space, and had to make the games last as long as possible. Both Aladdin and The Lion King can be completed in 30 minutes if you're good enough, just to give you an example. Having said that, both games have their tougher moments, in the case of The Lion King, notoriously so.
Difficulty doesn't come from the controls. Controlling the characters is smooth and fluid, and with practice, you can beat any obstacle without taking damage. This is more so the case for Aladdin which just about has the edge on The Lion King when it comes to smooth controls. The difficulty, in this case, comes from the level design. In the case of Aladdin, you hit a point about mid-way were the levels start throwing crap at you which is a little unreasonable. Specifically the moment you have to escape the cave of wonders on a flying carpet.
The Lion King in many ways is much worse. The point of annoyance comes much, much earlier. Around level 2. It'll be a moment familiar to many from their childhoods. Attempting to make your way through a maze of monkies who throw you around the trees. It almost seems intentionally obtuse to the point of frustration. Trying to simply figure out what you need to do to escape is a total nightmare, or at least it would be if the internet hadn't solved this particular riddle years ago. Thank god for walkthroughs.
Aladdin and The Lion King Are Still Great Fun to Play
The most important factor to consider when examining a re-release like this is if the games are still fun to play. Luckily, Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King collects two games that still stand up to this day. While both games have their overly difficult moments, the level of frustration is cut back by the ability to rewind your gameplay when you make a mistake. Carrying the collections additional features, the smooth control and beautiful graphics of the original games is allowed to shine through.
Along with additional mechanical features the bundle also includes a whole host of extras. There are production files, 'making of' videos, concept art, style guidelines, and even a selected soundtrack. If you've ever found yourself wondering about how these games were made or about how Disney collaborated to ensure a product that matched their art style then you'll certainly find your answers here. In short, this is the definitive collection, in terms of both gameplay and added content, for Disney and retro fans alike.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King Review | Final Thoughts
Without wanting to put too fine of a point on things Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King is a great collection. Featuring almost every conceivable version of both included games, as well as enough extras to keep you occupied for days. Both games are still incredibly fun to play, and the addition of saving mechanics and the ability to rewind past mistakes prevent almost any frustration from bubbling to the surface. If you've ever been a fan of either game in the package then this collection will blow your mind. If you're trying them for the first time then you're in for a lovingly-crafted treat.
TechRaptor covered Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher.
- Gorgeously Done Graphics And Sound
- Smooth Gameplay
- A Wealth Of Extra Content
- Clunky Handheld Versions
- Both Games Still Have Overly Difficult Moments