Video games based on Disney films are some of the best retro experiences and here we have a revival of 2 16-bit classics.
Obviously, this collection contains both Aladdin and the Lion King. Specifically, you get the Genesis versions of each title as well as the Super NES version of the Lion King. Unfortunately, the inferior SNES Aladdin is not included for completionists but that's okay with me. Anyway, I'll get into the variations a bit more in the extras section below. For now, I just want to discuss the actual games.
First up, Aladdin is 2D action platforming at its best complete with simple controls, gorgeous visuals, and catchy music. The stage designs are phenomenal, too, as they're mostly elaborate and contain plenty of secrets. Whether you're fighting hordes of soldiers as Aladdin or playing bonus rounds as Abu, it's a fun game from start to finish. Meanwhile, the Lion King is rather similar although it's a much more difficult game to get accustomed to due to its tricky stage designs. That being said, it's still a great deal of fun and looks and sounds just as good as Aladdin. It's impressive that 2 movie-based games as old as these hold up so well.
On the other hand, both games are rather short as you can complete each in under an hour, especially if you cheat by using the rewind feature. Also, they contain loads of irritating moments such as the magic carpet segment in Aladdin where you have to dodge rocks while traveling at insane speeds. I already mentioned how the stages in the Lion King can be confusing so I recommend using a guide while playing through it. With all of that being said, I'm still impressed how there's very little retro baggage here.
Okay, let's dive into the game variations. First of all, Aladdin contains the original Sega Genesis version as well as an updated Final Cut version which contains many tweaks and additions thus making it a much more complete and smooth experience so I recommend playing that first. You also get a trade show demo of Aladdin so you can see how much it has evolved and the Japanese version, too. Meanwhile, the Lion King has both Genesis and SNES versions plus the Japanese release of the Super NES version. All 3 iterations are very similar but for whatever reason, I preferred the Genesis game's graphics so I recommend that one. On top of all that, you get the Game Boy versions of both games as well as colourized upgrades of them but they're so clunky that they're very hard to enjoy.
This Disney Classic Games collection also features some super-nifty options and modernizations. One of the coolest additions is that you can watch a playthrough of each game and pause it to jump in at any point. I've never seen that feature before and it's awesome. You can also save or rewind at any time as well as tinker with visual settings and filters and fully customize each game's controls.
Finally, there's so much museum content that it's amazing. I find myself constantly complaining that many retro game compilations and ports don't have such content so the fact that there's so much here made me very happy. For starters, you can listen to each game's soundtrack and there's even an option to shuffle the songs so you can put that on while you work to listen to some top-notch 16-bit music. Next, there are oodles of archival video features showing interviews with the developers including composer Tommy Tallarico of Video Games Live fame. You can also browse through galleries of game and movie art which includes deleted materials, concept art, and colour and style guides. Needless to say, if you're a fan of these films then this package is a must-have for the bonuses alone.
Retro game compilations are rarely as fully featured as Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and the Lion King. Although it basically just contains 2 short but sweet games, the amount of extras and care put into this package make it something truly special.
- + The 2 main games are fantastic, especially the Final Cut version of Aladdin
- + Bursting with awesome extras
- + Wealth of options and modern conveniences
- - Essentially only contains 2 short games
- - Some parts can be quite frustrating
- - The Game Boy games are not fun at all