Aladdin: Sega Genesis: Replay & Review (RE)2

Genie of the Lamp

     Starting right away, we get amazing graphics with the Genie shooting in the air at the Sega logo and Iago falling past.  The sprites are clean and fluid- absolutely stunning animation work.  They look like they were ripped right out of the film.  The looks are perfectly paired with highly responsive controls.  Only the music is lacking, but I would chalk that up to Sega's sound capabilities being less than optimal.

     The story is the simple rags-to-riches-with-the-help-of-a-magical-bring tale of Aladdin we all know from the Disney movie.  There are a few deviations to make the game playable without confusion on its own.
     And this game has one of the most brilliant set of instructions (back when instruction booklets were commonplace) I have encountered.  One screen with all you need to know in one place.  It's so simple and effective, why more games don't do this is beyond me.

A Magic Carpet Ride

     Being a typical 2D platformer, they have you running and jumping, slicing up bad guys with a sword, or throwing apples for a long range attack.  The levels are littered with collectibles (hearts, apples, emeralds) and if you find the vendor you can buy more lives and continues.  There's also a couple of mini games by collecting the Genie and Abu tokens.  The Genie's minigame is a slot machine and for Abu's mini game you get to actually play as Abu... with a sword.

     I really enjoyed games like this, with enough production value, that if left alone Aladdin will toss himself an apple.  There are also plenty of Disney related Easter Eggs to be found- like positioning Aladdin under items on a clothesline will give you an extra life by giving you Mickey Mouse ears, and another adventurer in the dungeon level is a skeleton with the Mickey Mouse ears.  There's also some familiar looking statues in the desert.  It's in the subtle details that this game shines.  It's in the face of a camel when jumped on, it's in the way an apple splits in half when an enemy's sword cleaves it, it's in the 3 outhouses (men, women, genie)- all those little things really add up.

    The level design itself is amazing as well.  There is an absurd amount of effort put into the levels.  They aren't just go left to right, plenty of them are so creative and open new avenues of play.  One level if you collect a certain amount of flutes, it'll unlock various lying ropes that bring you to different ares in the level.  If you search there are tons of hidden jokes, and secret areas to explore.  A huge variety of things to see that fill them up like statues, flamingos and a dog with a key in its mouth.  Some are even interactive, like the camels.  You can jump on them and they'll spit which damages enemies, a very useful tactic in the early stages.
     The Genie makes frequent appearances to guide and assist you on the path.  He's a balloon, the moon, a referee, and even the doorway out in one level, where you need to scale steps that are made out of his tongue.  That is creepy and gross, but hilarious.


     I do have to be honest the enemy variations are a slim.  Only a handful of repetitive enemies does get a little old over the course of the game.  But the bosses are distinct enough to make it great.  Although Jafar himself seems to be too difficult in comparison with the rest of the game.  The challenge skyrockets for that one boss, but is fairly moderate for the rest.

     In the end nothing in Aladdin is too bad.  The negatives are so small they are easily tolerable.  The difficulty isn't too bad, but an option for saving or continues could've done wonders for this game, as some levels drag on pretty long, and the intensity gradually gets higher toward the end- not too tough, nor too easy, it rides a delicate balance through most of the game.
     Maybe a few more stages (there's only 10) would've been nice as well.

A Diamond in the Rough 

     Aladdin stands as one of the best 16-bit platformers ever, and will forever remind me of why I loved the Sega Genesis system so much.  Aladdin displays such an undeniable use of creativity in every aspect of the game, it's fun and loaded with personality.  This is what licensed games should strive for, becoming a classic.  There's just so much here, it makes replaying it a joy just to stop and see what little touches they put into the background.  When it comes down to it, Sega's Aladdin game is every bit as much a masterpiece as the Disney film was, and won't soon be forgotten by those that play it.

     Draft from 01.12.2014

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