Nintendo VS. SEGA: Aladdin


In November 1992, back when Clinton clobbered Bush and Sinead O'Connor got herself banned from SNL, Walt Disney Pictures released Aladdin in theaters across the globe. It went on to be that year's highest grossing film with hundreds of millions in the bank. Nowadays, 12 months afterward, this movie is just as prevalent - at least in marketing and product placement. Intent on developing home console games based on this genie-rific property, Disney allotted usage rights down to two very different game companies: Virgin Games and Capcom Co. Virgin went on to make the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin, while Capcom worked on its own vision for the Super NES.

Console owners on each side will be thrilled to hear our PPM reviewers adore Aladdin both on SNES and Genesis (and VHS! -Jet). Is one ultimately superior? Well, here's what we have to say about that... Yes! First off, on the graphical front, Virgin and Capcom are proven masters of their craft. The SNES version includes great-looking full-body sprite art for each character, environments reminiscent of Prince of Persia, and fun text-based interludes between sections. Though on Sega, we were blown away. Virgin hired actual Disney animators in their project, delivering a spirited, fluid experience to us gamers far closer to watching the film than Capcom's more traditional approach.

spotlightsnes      spotlightgenesis

Aladdin on SNES                           Aladdin on Genesis

Yeah, yeah, so Aladdin looks better on Sega. What about the sound design? True, the Genesis has become a bit infamous for its lackluster sound chip. Even so, the developers did a fine job of translating the music and sound effects from the movie into the 16-Bit machine. The same applies to the Super NES cart, so this point may just come down to personal taste. On the gameplay front, our reviewers consider this a no-brainer. Aladdin remains a platforming adventure on Sega as well as Nintendo, but only on Sega is the combat actually any fun. On Genesis, our hero fights off baddies with his trusty Scimitar. You'll find no such swordplay on SNES. His sword is on the box, but not in the game!

Instead of direct combat, Capcom made the baffling decision to have the player bounce off enemies to eliminate them. Either perform acrobatic vaults, that is, or daze your foe with a barrage of apples. This is a trait of the SNES version you'll need to get used to, since you do it an awful, awful lot. This was the deal-breaker for our review team. Along with yet another safe and kid-friendly approach to adventuring, the last thing the SNES needed was another Super Mario piggyback. With a stronger presentation and more intuitive action, our review team unanimously selected Virgin's Aladdin on Sega Genesis as the best all-around game for general audiences and Disney fans.


[Article from the Nov/Dec 1993 Issue of PPM]


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