Aladdin (Virgin video game)

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Aladdin

Aladdin - GEN - USA.jpg

Genesis - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Virgin Games
Publisher Sega
Published 1993-11-12
Platforms Amiga, DOS, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Genesis, Windows
Genres Licensed, Platformer
Themes Adventure, Cartoon, Middle Eastern
Series Aladdin
Distribution Commercial

Aladdin is a platformer developed by Virgin Games and published by Sega on 1993-11-12 for Genesis, then ported to several other platforms. The game is one of three games released around the same time that were based on the animated film and part of the Aladdin series

The game follows the plot of the film pretty closely. You play as Aladdin who becomes interested in Jasmine, but finds himself caught up in the evil plans of Jafar who is plotting to usurp the sultan of Agrabah through the exploitation of a genie in a magic lamp.

Personal

Own?No.
Won?Yes. Genesis port, normal difficulty.
Finished2023-10-07.

I saw this game on a list of easy Genesis titles, and, having already finished a couple others on the list, I decided to try it. Although the first couple levels aren't too difficult, the game became frustratingly hard later on. Had I known this beforehand, I wouldn't have even tried it, but, having made it so far, I decided to push through it.

Review

Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
5 4 9 7 3

Best Version: Genesis

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The pixel art is fantastic with beautiful backgrounds, amazing still-frames from the film, and smoothly animated characters. The drawings have the same humor as the film, and everything looks spot-on.
  • Unlike a lot of licensed games, nearly every scene, enemy, and is taken directly from the game.
  • The music is a collection of songs from the film along with alternate renditions for variety. The new songs are in the same vein as the film's score.
  • There are a lot of Disney and video game-related Easter eggs in the background art.
  • I like how guards can cut apples out of the air.
  • The game has a nice amount of settings. There are three difficulty levels, you can configure your controls, disable sound, and there is also a sound test.

Bad

  • Although the controls for Aladdin are varied, and his jumps feel nice, his collision with platforms is bad. There are a number of places in the game where my jump looked like I was going to land on a platform, but I instead fell. This happened repeatedly with the disappearing platform in the Sultan's Dungeon. Similarly, I frequently found myself timing my jump too late and falling off a ledge instead of jumping at the end like I intended.
  • Sword combat was poorly developed. With most enemies, it's hard to time your swings because it's difficult to know where their hit box is. It's better to just throw apples since they have far more range and ridiculously do as much damage as your sword. However, you can't throw apples during your sliding animation, so, if you're trying to change direction or stop moving, your attack won't work. This is particularly annoying on bosses. An apple is also a dumb ranged weapon, and, while they did technically exist in the film, they didn't play such an important role to Aladdin's primary means of attack.
  • The bats blend in with the background very well and they flit around so quickly it's hard to target them. This is also one of the few enemies that didn't have anything to do with the film, so they are doubly annoying.
  • Carpet flying isn't fun. In all but the escape scene, it moves completely outside of your control, goes way too fast to process anything, and you can't jump because it will fly on without you. This leaves the player stuck just mashing the attack button in hopes of killing enemies or deflecting their thrown knives.
  • The first couple bosses are incredibly easy, easier even than some of the regular enemies.
  • Neither of the bonus games are satisfying. In the slot machine, getting a Jafar icon loses all your remaining attempts that you went out of your way to get. It's especially infuriating when this happens on your very first try. Getting an apple isn't exactly a prize, and you're capped at nine lives, so they're sometimes useless too. Abu's bonus game doesn't give the player enough time to react to the hazards, so you won't get far until you memorize them. But, since you only ever get a single attempt each time you play the game, you'd have to replay the game dozens of times to learn the pattern.
  • Normally in games, when you press a button during a cutscene, it skips the current page of script, but, in this game, every button skips the entire cutscene. So, your options are either, wait for the incredibly slow text, or not see it at all. I would prefer it if the A, B, C buttons skipped just the current text, and start skipped the whole scene.
  • The quarter of an apple slice in the carpet escape level is very unimpressive.
  • In the Escape level, you can see place-holder graphics over lava pits near the bottom of the screen.
  • Most of the levels focus only on the first half of the film.

Ugly

  • The camera tracks Aladdin too slowly. When you move quickly, the screen will mostly display where you've been, not where you're going. This makes it easy to injure yourself on something because you didn't react within the few milliseconds you have. Aladdin can take a lot of hits, so it doesn't become fatal until the later levels where falling to your death becomes quite common. It's clear the designers expected players to die in the levels a few times until they memorized the layout, and then react to the hazards before they actually appear. This wasn't uncommon at the time, but it's extremely frustrating now.
  • The Escape is a grueling gauntlet of a level without a single checkpoint and it makes heavy use of trial and death. The first time I reached it, I burned through all the continues I bought and had to restart the game. The second time, I had 9 lives when I reached it, but lost them all and still had to continue before I finally beat it. There are a bunch of traps where you're given very little time to react, and a single timing error almost always means death and having to restart the entire level. It's not fun.
  • Jafar is too hard, even for a final boss. Once you figure out how to defeat him, he's not impossible, but, because he's constantly pelting you with stuff, you don't have enough time to learn how to hit him safely. It took me several lives to get him to his snake form, then a dozen more to figure out how not to be burned to death (because the solution didn't make much sense). Then, I couldn't figure out how to damage him until I realized he had to be attacked while he was mostly off-screen. I died a lot, and, each time you die, you have to repeat the dumb magic carpet ride which is a crap shoot on it's own, and, each time you have to continue, you have to repeat the entirety of Jafar's Palace. It's a very frustrating finale.
  • The NES, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color ports look awful, not just from their poorly colored graphics, but in the horrible frame rate.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Longplay - Amiga.
Longplay - Game Boy.
Longplay - Game Boy Color.
Longplay - Genesis.
Longplay - Mega Drive - Japan.
Longplay - MS-DOS.
Longplay - NES.
Longplay - Windows.

Play Online

Game Boy (Europe), Game Boy (USA), Game Boy Color (Europe), Game Boy Color (USA), Genesis, MS-DOS

Representation

Strong female character?FailJasmine is strong in the film, but plays a bit part here and again acts as a reward.
Bechdel test?FailThe only woman who speaks is Jasmine.
Strong person of color character?PassThe protagonist, Aladdin, is Middle Eastern.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Aladdin
Japanese アラジン Arajin Aladdin

Links

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