By SuperfluousMoniker 20 Comments
So the other day I posted in a thread that I thought the Genesis version of Aladdin was not very good and that the SNES game fared better. A few people disagreed with me. Since I can't stand the thought of people being wrong, especially on the internet, I decided to make a couple gameplay videos and write a long winded blog proving my point. Hold on to your butts.
Let's start with the Genesis version.
The Genesis version was made by some of the guys who would go on to form Shiny and become famous for Earthworm Jim, and knowing that fact you can definitely see some similarities in style between the two. In fact, there's quite a few, because Earthworm Jim is also a game with a solid concept and questionable execution. But I'm getting off track...
I'll be blunt: I don't think that this is a very good game. First of all, what's up with that health... smoke? I think that's gotta be among the most inaccurate depictions of video game health, joining such infamous examples as the Resident Evil heart rate monitor thingy and the Trespasser boob tattoo. No, seriously, the health gauge in that game was a tattoo on your character's boob.
Er, moving on, not many games had problems with the camera keeping track of the action on screen until the 3d era, but in this one instance, Aladdin on the Genesis is ahead of its time. Moving too fast for the camera is an extremely common occurrence and can lead to many cheap hits as enemies suddenly appear on the screen before you can react.
Speaking of cheap, how about the enemy placement? Someone had the bright idea to put all these foreground objects all over the place, but if that wasn't bad enough, they put enemies directly behind them. WTF? If you think the first level is bad, wait until you're in that dungeon level. There's pillars and chains and shit obscuring your vision approximately 100% of the time down there.
The music is pretty poor too. The SNES version gets some flack for not having as many songs from the movie in there, but at least they don't sound like garbage. They don't even loop! Let them go long enough and they fade out, then restart a second later. Pathetic. The title screen music is decent, but its is all downhill from there.
So yeah, it's pretty bad. I would have recorded more, but for some reason the combination of my Genesis emulator and my screen recording software was causing random system crashes, hence the abrupt end as I decided not to bite off my than my system could chew. But suffice to say that the entire game is riddled with problems. I mentioned the foreground crap all over the dungeon level, but there's also a shit ton of annoying sliding block sequences that will make you pull your hair out. The Cave of Wonders level has spikes that are almost completely indistinguishible from odinary ground all over the place, and the escape from it doesn't have a single checkpoint. Several later levels require you to ride on magic carpets that move super fast in erratic patterns, while enemies appear to take cheap shots at you (Your only defense? Mashing on the 'swing sword' button). The final boss is incredibly anticlimactic. Etcetera.
Okay, let's see the SNES game.
Whereas the Genesis version had some hack and slash going on, the SNES one is a straight up jump-on-their-heads-to-kill-them platformer. Aladdin has more moves, like handspringing off of stuff, swinging from poles and rings, climbing up ledges, and floating with a blanket. The controls feel tighter, especially the jumping and air control, as befits a game with a much greater focus on jumping on and from stuff. The bosses... Well they aren't that much better than the lame Genesis ones, but at least the final boss is suitably epic and requires a little bit of a strategy to kill.
But it's far from perfect. The music is aurally decent, but the tracks are super short and, damningly, every segment of each level has the same music. There's something that's just not right about completing an area, the music stopping, then the exact same track starting up again as you begin the next section. Especially when it happens two or three times in a row. It's got an automatically scrolling level, and games with those get instant demerits. There are two magic carpet sequences; one is frustrating in the same 'memorize or die' fashion as the Battletoads speeder level, and the other amounts to an overlong, incredibly boring bonus stage.
So in conclusion, we have two flawed games, but one of them is much more flawed than the other. Genesis version apologists, the ball's in your court.