Capcom faithfully ports the SNES game based on Disney's hit flick, but are there too few additions to care?
Well, it's been over ten years since Disney released their animated epic Aladdin, enthralling audiences with a sense of wonder and tickling their funny bones with the comic talents of Robin Williams and Gilbert Gottfried, both lending their voices to the proceedings. Now, the film's found a release on DVD, and looks to be an amazing effort. To take advantage of this release, Capcom's gone and restructured their classic SNES platformer based on the film and have ported it over to the Game Boy Advance with Disney's Aladdin. Is the end result a whole new world? Well, not really, but kids and fans of the movie are bound to have a good time with it anyway...while it lasts.
The game puts you in control of Aladdin as he makes his way through the streets of Agrabah, fighting guards and eventually earning the trust of a beautiful princess named Jasmine, on the run from her controlling father. As his quest continues, Aladdin runs into Jafar, the sultan's twisted advisor, who's thirsty for a rusty old lamp hiding within the Cave of Wonders. He needs Aladdin's help to get the lamp, but somewhere along the way, the Cave closes in on him, and Al must rely on the help of a genie, an inhabitant inside the lamp, to get back to freedom, stop Jafar's nefarious plot, and win the day.
The game unfolds through different levels that follow the movie's plot rather closely, although not as closely as the Sega Genesis version that came out so many years ago. When comparing the two, Sega's version has an edge up, using more detailed animation, a bit more inspired level design, digitized samples, and the "David Perry touch", something that earmarked a truly achieving platforming effort. That's not to say that Capcom's game was bad, however.
The game does feature graphics that are faithful to the film, large levels with gems to find, enemies to defeat (by stunning them with apples or bouncing on them to eliminate them), and the occasional boss to face. Aladdin can also pick up a scarab that allows him a spin on the Genie wheel, which can earn him one-ups and other prizes at the end of each level. The port survived with most of the details intact, and an option to fit TV screens via the Game Boy Player with ease.
However, the sound has seemingly suffered in the port. There's no voice samples of any kind (past the simple "Whoa" Aladdin belts out upon being hit), minimal sound effects, and a soundtrack that relies a bit too much on the sound processor, coming across with too many horn and synthesizer effects that don't really make anything memorable.
The gameplay is pretty basic, run-of-the-mill hop-and-bop action with the occasional nifty move thrown into play. For instance, Aladdin can swing on pistons, allowing him to gain momentum to grab higher ledges or swing-kick an enemy off the screen with an effective "thud". There's also a neat flying stage with the magic carpet, and the genie stage, where you interact with tons of objects featuring the blue guy all over the place, and his hilarious expressions when you meet your demise (jaw drops, look of upset, that sort of thing). On top of that, the GBA version features a new stage that isn't entirely impressive, but is worth a play-through.
Another slight little improvement that is worth mentioning is the game's battery save, taking over the previous game's password system. It's a nice touch, but a bit unnecessary. After all, the game only does contain a few levels, and, aside from adjustable difficulty, there's not much to come back to. No unlockables, no movie clips, no extras... nada. You can play through the game again but that's about it. It's like giving a lithium battery life to a Speak and Spell - a nice touch but not really worth it in the end.
Disney's Aladdin isn't a bad game. It's good for kids and fans of the movie. It's just run aground with age in terms of its gameplay, its presentation, and its length. You'd think that we would get something more out of the port aside from a small new level and a battery ability. But I guess the wishing well ran dry when the development was in progress. Oh, well, it could have been a lot worse than it is. Like The Return of Jafar direct-to-video flick. Yeesh.
What's Hot: Faithfully follows the film, adds a battery save, and a brand new level.
What's Not: Easily beatable and a lack of any extras makes it disappointing.