Review by falsehead

Reviewed: 03/15/02 | Updated: 03/15/02

Noooo!!!! Make it stop mummy, take the nasty game away!!!

I have to confess something. Disney films have always left me cold. While I can appreciate the stunning technical achievements and superbly crafted storylines, the actual end products have never really appealed to me even as a youngster. I like cack-handed, shoddy ''oh the kids will buy it'' licensed games based on Disney films even less. In fact I could go as far as to say they are probably the genre of game I like the least. So having put my biased cards on the table early on you probably won't be surprised to see that I have given Disney's Aladdin on the Sega Master System such a low score.

Actually you'll probably be wondering why I actually started playing it seeing as I have such distaste for this type of game. Well it was sheer boredom. I had a pile of unplayed games, one wet Sunday afternoon I played though them. Many will never be played again. This is one of them.

As a game its sticks pretty close to the plot of the film, I think. I haven't actually seen the film Aladdin, but I have seen the Panto version many times. Alas for me, no Widow Twankee cropped up, but that annoying blue genie based on Robin Williams did so I guess it's pretty authentic. There are also acres of story interspersing the levels. This isn't actually a good thing, as you have to scroll through loads of badly written, patronising dialogue. Sometimes there is so much it takes several minutes to read though it all. While it maybe seen as a commendable attempt to give a fairly basic game some depth it actually comes across as tedious padding.

The most annoying thing about this game is it tries to fool you in to thinking its NOT just another crappy licensed platform game, which so many films become when converted to games. The first couple of levels are actually reasonably good fun. Aladdin steals some bread and is chased by Palace guards, Aladdin runs across the screen and you can't control his speed, you can only time his jumps over obstacles like barrels and holes. He then meets the princess and they run across some rooftops in the same manner. Then they are captured and Jafar tells her he has executed Aladdin, who has actually escaped with a wizened old bloke who sends him into the cave full of treasure where the genie in the lamp lurks.

So far we have had a couple of fun chase levels and an interminable amount of talking. Once Aladdin reaches the cave, the game reveals its true colours. Yes, to progress Aladdin must leap across gaps, climb onto platforms and dodge enemies in a tedious fashion. Curse you Disney for making me think this might be more than just a run-of-the-mill platform game, you suckered me good and proper! Chiz, chiz…etc

At this point the rotten controls also make themselves painfully known. Aladdin jumps in a very sluggish manner. He can't be steered mid-air and gauging the lengths of his jumps becomes very tricky. Like your usual platform game hero he is woefully vulnerable to all kinds of horrors like, teeny, weeny bats, small rocks and water. Luckily these things mostly stay in one place on preprogrammed paths, expept the rocks which just fall on you head out of nowhere, you for fun. Still Aladdin has a mighty arsenal of Apples with which to fend off these demonic hordes.

The backgrounds are VERY badly designed as well. Holes and steps are not made very clear, they sort of merge into the background detail. Too many platforms are placed just out of eye reach as well; so many leaps of faith have to be attempted. Needless to say watching Aladdin, plunge to his death for the zillionth time is just as much fun as wetting your fingers and jamming them into the Master System cart slot. At least the infinite continues make it slightly less frustrating.

Soundwise it's pretty poor stuff to. The same cutesy tunes looping on the infinite Midi chip of doom. I'm guessing they are based on tunes from the film, but don't quote me on that. Credit where it's due. The actually animation of Aladdin is very nice, he moves realistically and his jump, sneak and climb animations are great. However this can also be a disadvantage as he moves very slowly in comparison with most of the enemies and while he is completing one of his move sequences he is often hit and damaged, grrr. Also the PAL conversion is wretched, the game screen is reduced to about one third of the TV screen in places.

I can only assume that Aladdin suffered very badly in transition from Megadrive and Snes versions to the Master System. Reviews of those versions have been much more positive. I think this shows even more cynicism on the developers part. Trying to cram a cutdown version into a console that obviously can't handle what made the 16-bit versions worth playing. I really can't think of much to recommend this game. It's shockingly dull to play, has frustrating controls, badly designed levels and only the initial level is any fun to play. I suppose if you're a mad keen collector of all things Disney this might be worth a look, but to anyone else this is just another cash-in game that should be consigned to the dustbin.

Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

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