Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King Review

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King are essentially two distinctive platformers from the 90’s which have been upgraded for appreciation on the modern console, and released as one bundle with many additional bonus features. These includes past versions of each game, nostalgic synthesised soundtracks and extensive behind the scenes footage and information about the making of each game. It will certainly appeal to those who enjoy these two animated movies and to those who miss their old consoles and find that the current games just don’t quite offer the same experience. It is likely to bring out the determination in anyone… including those who laugh in the face of danger.

In Aladdin, the player takes on the main characters’ role fighting through the streets of Agrabah and throwing apples at enemies. After playing through some extraordinary levels (including a very unique Genie stage and the fast paced escape from the Cave of Wonders on the Magic Carpet), Aladdin finally comes face to face with Jafar and must defeat him in order to continue on his quest to save Princess Jasmine. It certainly delivers in terms of the story line, capturing the distinctiveness of each character and encouraging the player to further appreciate the whole experience from Aladdin’s perspective.

The Lion King begins with Simba as a cub as he bounds around pouncing on giraffe’s heads, swinging from hippo’s tails, being flung about by brightly coloured monkeys over water and even riding ostriches until he is abruptly forced to flee from the wildebeest stampede and Scar. Even so, he still has time to enjoy catching bugs with the beloved Pumbaa and Timone, not to mention sliding down waterfalls whilst dodging some nasty looking jumping spiders! Soon Simba becomes an adult and must continually fight for survival until the ultimate battle with Scar. Similarly to Aladdin, this game aims to bring the player an enhanced perspective of Simba’s world increasing appreciation of the movie and its characters.

Even though these games are almost identical to their past versions, they now include a watchable play through of each game. This not only allows the player to easily see what to do if they get stuck, but it also enables them to fast forward parts of the game and resume play from any point that they wish, without having to complete the previous levels first. Another helpful feature is the rewind button which even works when the character has lost. Although these features might enable players to complete the games quickly and easily, it seems unlikely that reaching the end in this way this will provide anything close to the same satisfaction as winning after hours of trial and error. It will at least make the games more accessible for younger family members and with the added invincibility setting and level select option, it will certainly be more enjoyable compared to the original Lion King which was quite frankly impossible for younger players to complete. With all these additional extras, it actually increases the level of determination to complete the games in their original format. Whether intentional or not, this adds instant replay value without having to change the games at all.

Controlling the characters is neither effortless nor straightforward and despite the obvious improvement in the graphics for this new release, it is still somewhat pixelated. But perhaps this serves as a gentle reminder that these games are not pretending to be something new. If they were completely upgraded they might lack the nostalgic effect that Disney is obviously attempting to rekindle. Also, taking into consideration that these games were released after the recent live action remakes of these animated classics, it will definitely inspire those who are perhaps a little more resistant to this change to seek comfort in some good old-fashioned Disney style immersion in these retro games.

There is always an underlying feeling that anything made by Disney is going to be overpriced, but in reality there will always be somebody who will pay that price. For anyone who appreciates the two original movies, this game is certainly worth the money due to the extra bonus features that are much more comparable to those found on DVDs, and definitely comprise of more material. Although these videos are understandably outdated, it is actually very interesting and genuinely brings a whole new world of appreciation for the huge amount of work and compilation effort that brought together this collection.

Conclusion

There are so many games that are lost to the past and have sadly expired with their outdated consoles, hence the many modern 2D platformers that are currently being created to try to fill this void. Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King might just be the perfect example of what is truly needed in order to effectively relive those past experiences, back in the days when it took extreme perseverance and commitment to complete these games. For those who just can’t wait to be king… be prepared, for your wishes have just been granted!

This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Good
  • A nostalgic revival of two timeless classics
  • Additional settings to make it accessible to all
  • Much adored synthesised soundtracks
Bad
  • Not for those who give up easily
  • Challenging to control
8.1
Great
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 7
Audio - 9.5
Longevity - 9
Written by
As a child I enjoyed Puzzle/Logic, Adventure, Platform, Racing and Simulation games on the PC, and keeping myself sane at numerous family events on my Game Boy Pocket. Now I generally play Action-Adventure and Music/Rhythm console games, but I will forever be captivated by a beautiful game soundtrack.

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