Review by alchief
Reviewed: 07/25/03 | Updated: 07/25/03
I never thought that I could like a game like this
As one of the last Master System games, Aladdin came out in 1994, just when the same-titled Disney movie came into the cinemas. In the already begun 16-bit era Walt Disney decided to make an adaption for the good old Master System, too.
The game starts with a short comic introduction before the title-screen appears. You´ll get used to those on the movie based storyparts because they are always appearing at the end of each level. Like its Genesis-brother, Aladdin for the Master System is a sidescrolling platform game. But unlike the Genesis version, some of the levels here are permanently scrolling, and you only can make Aladdin slow down or ''accelerate'' or jump over the appearing obstacles. Especially in the first two levels you´ll control Aladdin like this. But even later you´ll have this kind of levels, only together with your magic carpet. Then you can also avoid the obstacles by flying up and down. The third stage then is the first one where you can freely control Aladdin. Here you can use all of Aladdin´s actions for the first time. So you can walk, run, jump, sneak, dash, and throw with stones (if available). In this manner you´ll have to make your way through dungeons and the palace by finding keys, activating switches, and later by defeating guards.
Whenever you hit an obstacle in one the ''automated'' jump`n`run (fly)-stages, your life meter decreases, but can be refilled by collecting apples or bread. Same counts for the other stages, where you loose energy by getting hit from enemies or downfalling crap. If you are falling into one of the holes (especially in the third stages) the game`s over. But due to unlimited ''try agains'' even this should be no problem.
For the controls you´ll need a bit of training, because Aladdin jumps for example always with a little delay. But with some practicing you´ll get used to this. Only the crappy Master System direction-button will sometimes render a precise control more difficult. But that´s only a problem for the dungeon levels, where you have to make exact jumps.
On the whole you have varied levels, held together by the storyline, and unlimited continues. The latter is actually the thing I don´t like because it takes away the challenge for beating the game. O.k., the game is for children, and normally I´m the last to cry because of missing difficulty, but in this case I have to say that a limitation of three or five continues had given the game a bit more challenge. The rest is really good for a Master System game, and the nicely done storyscenes, made in in-game graphic did their part for making me like this game even more - even it´s dedicated to children.
Compared to a lot of other Master System platformers, the Disney games always had one of the best character designs and really nice backgrounds. Well, don´t expect too much, but I´m talking about a 8-bit game, and compared to other 8-bitters the graphics are really good.
Especially Aladdin and the human enemies are moving very smooth and realistic, what you can see clearly in the first two ''running''-stages. Also the backgrounds are well done, and are spreading the typical oriental Aladdin-feeling. Only the third stage makes an exception with it´s gloomy atmosphere - nevertheless it fits to the game.
The cut-scenes are in in-game graphic with additional text-boxes on the bottom of the screen. Sometimes you´ll see an action on the screen, and to make clear what is happening, a small box appears with the detail. So at the beginning of the very first level you´ll see Aladdin messing around in front of a stall, when suddenly a box is appearing with the image of two hands, grabbing a loaf of bread - nice detail.
Music is well done, especially during some scenes (the night-flight over the city) but altogether it´s nothing very special. I cannot recall the original Aladdin-tunes from the movie, but I´m quite sure that they are all converted into 8-bit-mega-sound and placed to the typical scenes of the game.
The sound effects are also typical for this type of game. Nothing special either, but solid.
Final Score: 9
(8+9+7) : 3 = 9 ? No, not exactly. But I really like this game, and therefore I gave it a 9. You may laugh, but in my opinion Aladdin is one of the best Disney games for any platform - despite being another Disney-movie rip-off. The crucial reason for my score is, that the game has an atmosphere, that most of the Master System games are lacking of. Even if the story included in this game is only a scrambled version of the movie itself, it´s nice. And I began to like Aladdin, the main character, and - yeah, that sounds stupidly enough - I wanted to help him getting his princess.
But apart from the story the game also is great on the technical aspect. Character-design, backgrounds, everything very good for 8-bit circumstances.
If you generally hate Disney games: stay away from this title. If you played Aladdin 16-bit right before: stay away from it. But if you want to play an amusing and enjoyable Master System game with a human difficulty and a nice storyline in addition, then give this game a chance before you dump it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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