Movies and licensed video-games usually go together about as well as oil and water. Fortunately, during the 90s, Disney had a string of video-games that not only served as passable entries for fans of the movies, but were great games in their own right. Lion King, Rescue Rangers, Duck Tales and Aladdin are all fun, enjoyable experiences. A lot of people who were growing up with these games have an understandable nostalgia for them, given how bad licensed video-games have gottenlately.
Following the 1992 movie's success, Aladdin for the SNES was released in 1993 by Capcom. But it wasn't the only Aladdin game around at the time. As a matter of fact, it was one of three separate titles, all of which were being developed by different studios.
The only 'weapons' at your disposal are apples, which you can throw at enemies to stun them temporarily. Otherwise, the only way to defeat your enemies is to jump on top of them Mario-style. Overall, the game follows the story of the movie, but there are a few extra levels added in to keep things fresh for the players. One of the added levels requires you to travel inside the Genie's lamp.
Each of the game's levels are designed to offer you a host of platforming challenges. There are small platforms all around you that you can jump to, and these are usually accompanied by a whole host of chasms, spikes or enemies that want to hurt you. Things can get quite rough in places, especially when you're dealing with swinging chains and massive jumps. To make things a little easier, Aladdin has a glide ability that allows him to briefly hover through the air by using a small piece of cloth.
A couple of the levels abandon the standard run-and-jump mechanic and have you riding the magic carpet. One of these levels is a leisurely stroll through a land filled with diamonds accompanied by great music. The other one is a throw-your-controller-at-the-wall affair where you're trying to escape a giant lava wave while simultaneously dodging the rock formation inside a cavern. Oh, and there are boulders that detach and fall off too. Just imagine the infamous Battletoads level, but less masochistic. Each crash in this level sends you all the way back to the beginning, so you basically have to rely on super-sharp reflexes and memorizing the level design.
The game offers a reasonable level of challenge that experienced platform gamers will be able to overcome in a few tries. The level design and the way the different obstacles are tied together is really imaginative, and will earn your appreciation after you've played through each level a few times.
To make things even easier though, the game offers a password system that allows you to start the game at different stages. The passwords for each of the levels are widely available now due to the Internet, but back when this was first released, getting to the end of a level and finding a password was a huge accomplishment.
There are two major boss fights in the game – the first one is a merchant and then you fight the evil Jafar in two different incarnations. Both of Jafar's forms – sorcerer and snake – are fairly easy to figure out and are actually significantly easier than the platforming challenges that precede the fight.
Aladdin is a strong platformer with tight controls, great graphics and fantastic level design. The art style is colorful, and the action is nicely complemented by the soundtrack, which is basically SNES versions of the OST from the movie. If you're a fan of Aladdin, platformers or SNES games, give this one a go.