Disney's Aladdin
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Developer:
    • Capcom
  • Publisher:
    • Capcom
  • Released:
    SNES
    • US 11/21/1993
    • JP 11/26/1993
    • UK 01/27/1994
    GBA
    • JP 08/01/2003
    • UK 03/19/2004
    • US 09/28/2004
Score: 85%

This review was published on 02/25/2017.

Disney's Aladdin is a side-scrolling platform video game developed and published by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Famicom. It was originally released in North America on November 21, 1993, Japan on November 26, 1993, and Europe on January 27, 1994. The game is based on the Disney animated film of the same name, which was first shown in theaters on November 25, 1992, and became the most successful movie that year, earning over $504 million in revenue worldwide; over $217 million of that was earned in the United States alone. Some even consider this to be the best Disney movie ever made. Due to that, Disney licensed a few different companies to make Aladdin games on various platforms. Disney gave Capcom, the company behind Mega Man, the task of making the SNES version. By this point, Capcom had already made countless Disney games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, like DuckTales and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, and a few on the SNES, like The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse and Goof Troop. Most of these games were outstanding. It's no surprise, then, that Aladdin on the SNES turned out to be outstanding, as well.

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The movie is based on an Arab styled folktale known as Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, which was added to The Arabian Nights book in the 18th century by Frenchman Antoine Galland. The Arabian Nights is a collection of folktales compiled in Arabic over the course of many centuries by countless different authors. Disney's interpretation of Aladdin takes place in the fictional sultanate of Agrabah and stars a man living in poverty named Aladdin. During a normal day of thievery, Aladdin meets with Princess Jasmine, and they fall in love. The evil Grand Vizier of the Sultan, Jafar, captures Aladdin and sends him off to prison. Jafar seeks a magical lamp hidden deep within the mystical Cave of Wonders, and learned that only Aladdin can obtain it. Disguised as an old man, Jafar frees Aladdin and tricks him into getting the lamp. Inside the lamp was a genie named, well, Genie, and he offered Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin uses one of his wishes in an attempt to win over Jasmine's heart. Meanwhile, Jafar is still up to no good. The game simply follows the plot of the movie, albeit in a very loose manner.

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This game is a real looker. It's got incredibly intricate backgrounds, foregrounds, and some fancy parallax scrolling. The backgrounds are especially detailed, like how the marketplace of Agrabah has a bunch of villagers doing stuff in the distance. Everything is also very well animated. You'll often see Abu, Aladdin's pet monkey, running around in the background, giving you an idea on where to go next. He even has a worried expression on his face whenever Aladdin dies. You'll also see him throwing punches in the background during the first boss battle. Abu's adorableness knows no bounds. Enemies are expressively animated, too. There are some palace guards early on that throw barrels at you, and they laugh if they hit you, but get angry if they miss. The attention to detail here is astonishing. All of this makes the game almost as expressive as the movie. The music is also pretty good, with chip tune renditions of songs from the film.

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You control the titular Aladdin for this fantastical journey. Left or right on the d-pad makes him walk in those directions, down has him duck, holding the Y button while moving causes Aladdin to run, and the B button commands him to jump. Much like Mario, Aladdin is able to defeat most enemies by stomping on them. He can also throw apples with the A button to temporarily stun foes, but these are in limited supply. However, more apples can be found within jars placed throughout the environment. Aladdin can also grab onto, hang off of, and climb up ledges, which was a rarity for the time. All you have to do to make him grab onto a ledge is jump towards it, and then pressing up on the d-pad will make him climb it, whereas pressing down makes him drop off. The controls are simple and precise, which is precisely what you want for a platformer.

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The main highlight of the controls is how they capture Aladdin's acrobatic nature. He can somersault off enemies and various objects, like jars, vertical poles, stalagmites, and so on. Jumping towards certain poles will cause Aladdin to grab onto them, at which point, he'll automatically begin swinging back and forth. Not only can he jump from a swing to gain height, but if an enemy walks into his feet while he's swinging, he'll defeat them with a righteous kick. On top of all that, you'll often find a rug power-up that allows you to slow the descent of Aladdin's jumps by holding down the R button. This rug is immensely useful, and you even keep it if you die. However, you do lose it when continuing after losing all your lives, plus you won't have it when continuing from a password. While it isn't required, the rug adds a whole new dimension to Aladdin's acrobatics, allowing for some sophisticated platforming.

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There are a number of helpful power-ups and items Aladdin can find along the way. Goodies are sometimes found by tipping over jars or opening treasure chests, both of which is done by jumping on them. Such things include the aforementioned apples that Aladdin can throw at his foes, a loaf of bread that refills one heart on his health meter, a roasted chicken that refills the whole thing, lamps that grant 1ups, and a power-up that increases his maximum health capacity by one heart. Collecting 100 emeralds also increases max health capacity. However, if you already have the absolute maximum of ten hearts, you'll get an extra life instead. There are also golden scarabs that, when collected, let you play a "spin the wheel" bonus game with Genie in between stages to win 1ups and extra continues. Additionally, there are ten red gems per stage, and the more of these you have, the better your ending. This adds a tiny bit of replay value to the game, which is nice.

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Stages are tackled in a linear order and are linear romps with plenty of platforming based challenges. Many of the key locations from the film show up here, such as Agrabah's marketplace, the Cave of Wonders, and the palace. However, some stages are set in locations not from the movie, like a sandy pyramid and a fantastical world within Genie's lamp. Every stage is filled with interesting design tidbits. In the marketplace, men will occasionally peek out of windows in the background and you can bounce off their heads to reach higher areas. There's one part on the rooftops of Agrabah where you grab onto a cloth and slide down a clothesline, eventually landing on a guard's face. In the Cave of Wonders, you swing across stalactites that often crumble away after you touch them. Another section in that same stage has you ride logs across a river, but you have to sometimes grab onto ropes to pull open wooden barriers that bar your path. It gets even better.

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The most creative of all the stages is the Genie one. Here, you'll jump on disembodied Genie heads that'll change their expressions when you land on them, grab onto Genie balloons that pop if you bounce off them, and even run along Genie's extending and retracting tongue. The pyramid stage is also fairly creative, featuring bats made out of sand and rotating snake statues you must bounce off of. These stages really accentuate Aladdin's abilities to climb ledges, swing on pole-like objects, and acrobatically bounce off various other things. Successfully completing these challenging stages is exhilarating. Strangely, bosses are few and far between in this game. In fact, there are only two in the whole game! The first one is the fruit vendor from the movie, and he's surprisingly tricky for a first boss, because he holds a sword above him at all times, preventing you from stomping on his head. You have to attack him either right before or right after he swings his sword. The final boss, Jafar, is divided into two phases, the second of which has him transform into a giant snake. It's a cool battle, because his slithering body acts as the floor, bouncing you up and down. It's like Snake Man's stage from Mega Man 3, only more impressive.

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Only two stages in the game have you riding on the Magic Carpet from the movie. These stages scroll automatically and control a little differently; you press up or down to fly in those directions, left to slow down, and right to speed up. The first Magic Carpet stage plays out like the scene in the movie where Aladdin escapes the Cave of Wonders as lava chases after him. This is by far the hardest stage in the game, because touching absolutely anything kills you instantly. Don't be surprised if you burn all your lives and continues on this stage. If you get a Game Over anywhere, it'll likely be here. Luckily, the stage is fairly short, but it requires some memorization and is a little too unforgiving for its own good. Thankfully, the second one of these stages is a relaxing gem collecting bonus game that's free of danger, mirroring the love scene from the movie where Aladdin and Jasmine ride on Magic Carpet together. The Cave of Wonders escape sequence is the only blemish to an otherwise perfect game.

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Quite a few Aladdin games were made back then, most of which were made by different companies. There's an Aladdin on the Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, SNES, and more. Despite sharing the same name, most of these are entirely different games. Out of all of them, the Sega Genesis and SNES versions of Aladdin are the two most well known ones, and also the two best ones. However, out of those two, the SNES version is easily the best one. In other words, this is the best Aladdin game ever made, and is just a good game all around. Interestingly, this game was designed by Shinji Mikami, the same guy who later went on to direct the survival horror game Resident Evil, which was originally released on the PlayStation in 1996. The more you know.

Word Count: 1,746

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