Disney's Aladdin (Virgin Games video game)
Cover art for the North American version
|Platform(s)||Sega Genesis, Amiga, DOS, Game Boy, Game Boy Color|
|Release||November 11, 1993|
Disney's Aladdin is a platform game based on the 1992 film of the same name developed by Virgin Games and Disney Software. The game was released by Sega for the Sega Genesis on November 11, 1993 as one of several games based on the film, including another game that was released in the same month by Capcom for the Super NES.
The player controls Aladdin, who must make his way through several levels based on locations from the movie: from the streets and rooftops of Agrabah, the Cave of Wonders and the Sultan's dungeon to the final confrontation in Grand Vizier Jafar's palace. The Sultan's guards and also animals of the desert want to hinder Aladdin in his way. He can attack either close range with a scimitar, which can deflect certain projectiles, or long range with a limited supply of apples. Next to apples, Aladdin can also collect gems which can be traded for lives and continues from a traveling peddler. Finding Genie or Abu icons enables bonus rounds. The Genie bonus round is a game of luck played for apples, gems or extra lives, and continues until the player runs out of Genie tokens or lands on Jafar. In Abu's bonus round, the player controls the little monkey who has to catch bonus items that fall from the sky, but without touching any of the unwanted objects like rocks and pots.
Development for the game began in January 1993, with a team of ten animators working on the animation frames, making it the first video game to use hand-drawn animation. The work was then shipped to Virgin's California facility to be digitized. The game used traditional animation, which was produced by Disney animators under the supervision of Virgin's animation staff, including animation producer Andy Luckey, technical director Paul Schmiedeke and animation director Mike Dietz, using an in-house "Digicel" process to compress the data onto the cartridge. Virgin was given the deadline of October 1993 to complete production as to coincide with the home video release of the film; this deadline left Virgin with about three-quarters the normal amount of time to build a game. The game features some musical arrangements from the film, along with original pieces composed by Donald Griffin and Tommy Tallarico.
The Amiga and DOS were based on the Mega Drive/Genesis version, featuring enhanced music and sound effects. The NES received a port as well, which was later adapted into a Game Boy version, which was compatible with the Super Game Boy. A Game Boy Color port was developed by Crawfish Interactive and published by Ubi Soft on November 30, 2000. A Sega CD version of Aladdin was planned but never started official development.
The Genesis, Game Boy, and Super Game Boy versions of the game were included alongside The Lion King as part of Disney Classics: Aladdin and The Lion King, released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on October 29, 2019. The collection also includes the trade show demo of the Genesis version.
In a "Devs Play" session with Double Fine in 2014, Louis Castle, co-founder of Westwood Studios who later worked on The Lion King, revealed that the studio had pitched a second Aladdin game that would have featured pre-rendered 3D sprites, around the same time as the Amiga game Stardust and a year prior to their use in Donkey Kong Country, but the project was scrapped by Disney.
On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Genesis version of Aladdin a 35 out of 40. The game was awarded Best Genesis Game of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. They also awarded it Best Animation. The game was reviewed in 1994 in Dragon #211 by Jay & Dee in the "Eye of the Monitor" column. Both reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars. Mega placed the game at #12 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.
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