Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and the Lion King Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Aladdin and The Lion King games were made in tandem with their animated Disney movie counterparts and created in a way to feel like your playing a moving cartoon. Aladdin released in 1993 and in that time was a wonderfully inventive 2D platformer. In this collection along with the multiple versions of the game, there is also a Final Cut version of Aladdin which comes with bug fixes and slight changes to make the gameplay smoother. The Lion King that came out in 1994 doesn’t have a Final Cut version but is still available in multiple others. Aladdin is available in the; Console S Version, Final Cut, Demo, and a Japanese Version. While The Lion King is available in the; Console N Version, Console S Version, and Japanese Version. Each version only has slight likely unnoticeable changes, but if you want to replay the exact version you played originally you can. Then for both games, they each have a bonus Handheld and Handheld Color Version that you can try but they are severely downgraded.
Everyone knows or should know these characters well because the original movies are still exceptional, but these games haven’t aged nearly as well. I remember when I was a kid playing through these games and the chance to replay them had me very excited. Unfortunately, the anticipation built from the nostalgic memories of these games is better than reality. If you’ve been waiting for a chance to relive these games then this is the best chance you’ll have but I wouldn’t recommend this collection to most people. It fits a pretty specific niche because they may not be the best option for your kids who’ve never play classic games like this before. This collection is for the hardcore Disney fans that grew up in the 90s that have already played these games.
Though there are a lot of added features that help with the learning curve and bring these titles to the current era. You can change the difficulty settings of the games which really helps with The Lion King that is infamous for being unfairly difficult. Also if you’re really wanting to breeze through you can set Invulnerability on or choose Level Select, but it will disable trophies. Pressing the touchpad pauses the game and lets you quit or reset the game, save and load instantly, change preferred screen settings and even change the control configuration. There’s also an interesting watch feature for some versions that allows you to watch gameplay, and you can pause, rewind, fast forward and even decide to jump in and start playing whenever. This helps extremely with those pesky parts that you can’t seem to get through.
When playing classic games you need to put your mindset into the right context, meaning you play it as if it’s a brand new game and think about the effort that would have gone into making this in the year it came out. We do ourselves a disservice when playing classic games through the perception of how games should be based on current games out in 2019.
I’ll admit playing Aladdin and The Lion King for this review was a complete slog at first, and it was because my perception was skewed and unfairly judging these wonderful early 90s games. What helped the most with getting back into the 90s mindset was by experiencing the extra content. For each game, there is a museum full of original concept art, and interviews with creators of the original games.
The interviews for The Lion King are the original team and it’s obviously still the 90’s just based on their haircuts. For Aladdin, the interviews were actually filmed much later of the team who speak about the labour of love making Aladdin was. Watching some of these videos helps you appreciate these games for what they were and they become more of a joy to replay. Not all of the extra content feels necessary but it certainly there if you want to deep dive down memory lane.
Overall if you had played these games growing up they are worth checking out, especially because it’s usually quite difficult to find genuine Disney content due to Disney’s tight grip on all their content. For not being full remasters this is the best most complete way you’ll be able to experience these titles. Though I would warn parents wanting to buy this collection for their kids as it will likely not be as well received by the current generation. Classic games have been becoming increasingly more available and with their added features they feel more like a guided tour of the original games, and Aladdin and The Lion King have taken that concept to another level.