Review by Retro
Reviewed: 05/10/01 | Updated: 03/22/03
Good game to play when you're busy doing something close to nothing
While a lot of Disney movies have had a plot that was pretty farfetched (i.e. The Jungle Book, Sword in the Stone, Dumbo), Aladdin's story was one that could actually happen in real life. Aladdin, a poor boy, is used to being a thief in order to get food and to live to see the next day. He meets and falls in love with Jasmine, who just happens to be a princess, and his world is completely changed. Aladdin for the Super Nintendo follows the same storyline as the movie, so yep, it's yet another one of those rescue the damsel in distress games that we've come to know by heart. But don't forget the other thing about the games that use the worn out ''damsel in distress'' plot: almost all of them prove to be very fun.
The SNES's version of Aladdin is just like other fun Disney platformers such as Duck Tales and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers in that it features basic platforming action with one or two things that make it a bit different from the others. For instance, in Duck Tales, Scrooge McDuck bounces around on his cane as a way of defeating enemies, and items such as diamonds and cakes pop out of thin air anytime you're in the right area. In Aladdin, you'll be defeating enemies mainly by leaping off the top of their head (hey, it never gets old at least), but Aladdin himself strives to be different in a way. Instead of literally jumping on an enemy's noggin, he springs off the top of them with his hands, throwing many of them into the air as a result.
A couple of things that take place during the gameplay of almost every level is unique too. For one, Aladdin can find a carpet lying on the ground somewhere. If he can locate it, he will be able to use it to his advantage the rest of that stage. By pressing and holding R while you're airborne, you'll make Aladdin hold the carpet over his head to catch air and slowly descend down toward earth, making for a safer and more precise landing. Even cooler, in most levels, you'll run across a treasure chest. Hop on top of this chest and a golden bug that resembles a beetle will pop out of it and then fly toward the top of the screen in a circular pattern. If Aladdin can catch this hyper critter and then complete the level in one piece, he'll go to a bonus stage that features a spinning wheel for a chance at some extra lives, a continue, or something else that could be of help.
There's a nice array of levels to do your venturing in in Aladdin. You'll start out in a city full of golden brown buildings, big and small men that shoot arrows or just run toward you, snakes rising out of pots, etc. Using your carpet to glide through the air as you explore the fearsome heights collecting gems and bouncing off of countless numbers of enemies in these city levels is fun, but your adventure only gets better. Soon you'll be swinging from fragile hanging rocks in crystal blue underground caves as you time your dismount to land on floating logs in order to keep from drowning. Hop on a magical flying carpet, as it's the only way you could possibly escape the monstrous flow of lava that is chasing you like a policeman would a crook who thinks he can get away from the inescapable eyes of the law. Once you meet the Genie, take a break from danger (apart from dangerous falls and a breed of enemy or two) and explore his graphically beautiful stage in which you'll be doing more jumping from place to place than two squirrels in heat that are chasing each other amongst the tree tops.
After so many levels are completed, you'll face an easy boss such as a slashing, sword-wielding guy, or Jafar in the form of a towering snake. As expected, you'll also be taken to a screen that gives you a password from time to time, and part of the storyline will unfold by aid of well drawn pictures and readable words.
To keep things from getting overly stale, Aladdin provides a sort of side quest apart from simply making it to the end of each level and defeating all the bosses. Each level holds several green gems; you can get an extra life by collecting a hundred of them. But there are also a few red gems that you can try to round up if you so choose. Most of them can be easily found, but a lot of them are quite challenging to collect. You'll have to swing higher than usual to obtain a certain red gem that is above a ledge. One part of land caves in when too much weight is placed on it, but there is a red gem below it! You must stand on that piece of land and let it cave in, but you also have to be in just the right place so you'll grab a hold of the part of land that is still standing, or else you'll plummet to your death.
One thing Aladdin really has going for it is its graphics. Each level is very well designed, and the characters, especially Aladdin, have good animation and they look fairly detailed. Certain parts of the game are just plain gorgeous. You'll see what I mean when you go to the bonus stage in which you ride on a carpet with Jasmine over a night sky full of flashing stars. The short treasure level that has pairs of swords that come alive spinning through the air, hungry for some human blood is memorable as well, as is the multilayered city of Agrabah. And if you think those places look good, just wait until you see the Genie's stage. You'll probably be still a few seconds upon seeing that stage for the first time as you check out the background.
The sound effects are your basic run of the mill hop 'n bop sounds, with none that stand out as being better than average. The music, on the other hand is pretty good. If you've seen the movie, you'll probably recognize a few of the tracks, such as ''A Whole New World''. The ones that aren't heard in the movie are rather nice as well. While controlling Aladdin, you'll be doing a lot of jumping, swinging from various ledges, rocks, and other items, and floating with your carpet. Doing any of those things, along with performing other actions, such as moving around while on a speeding flying carpet, or throwing apples at enemies to stun them, won't cause you any frustration either.
Aladdin is an all-around great game, except for a couple of things. For one, it has to be one of the easiest video games in the world. It's not hard at all to go through the whole thing without even trying to rush, in less than thirty minutes. As a matter of fact, it's not even that overbearing to beat the whole game without being killed once. The other failing attribute is that this quest is real short.
But there's one thing that almost makes you overlook those two assets. Aladdin is downright fun as it is, but trying to collect all the red gems in a level isn't easy, let alone gathering up each and every one for the whole game. The urge to see how many red gems I can collect from start to finish is the thing that keeps me coming back to this cartridge time and time again. Like platformers? Get Aladdin. It might not become an all-time favorite of yours, but it'll always be a solid title to spend some quality time with when you're busy doing something close to nothing and you wanna have a little fun.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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