Disney Classic Games
Aladdin & The Lion King
Developed By : Digital Eclipse
Published By : Disney Interactive
Category : Arcade, Platformer, Re-Release
Release Date : Oct 29, 2019
If you’re my age, and either you yourself or someone you knew as a kid had a Super Nintendo or SEGA, then chances are you’ve come across both of these games before. Even if you never played them yourself, it’s very likely that they came up in a conversation and you learned two things. One, was that Aladdin was an amazing game and you “needed” to play it. The other was that The Lion King was tough…as…hell. But the good folks at Disney have insured that these golden bits of information no longer need travel by word of mouth. Now, with Disney Classics hitting the Nintendo Switch, a whole new generation of players can experience these things for themselves.
A Whole New World
These games from the past get blasted right into the future and a whole new generation of gaming. They remain entirely in their original 16-bit glory, no remastering or anything, but furthermore you’ll get access to all variants of the games. Different console versions, even the Japanese versions, they’re all available in this neat little package.
If you’re unfamiliar, the games loosely follow the movies they are based on. In Aladdin you’ll need to save Jasmine from the evil Jafar, traveling through Agrabar and the Cave of Wonders to do so. Meanwhile in The Lion King Simba finds himself outcast by his uncle Scar and must fight through countless hyenas to reclaim his rightful spot in the animal kingdom.
Both games offer a great deal of platforming and combat. As Aladdin you’ll be throwing fruit and slashing down baddies with a sword as you run, jump, climb, and slide your way after Jasmine. You’ll even get to ride on the magic carpet along your journey. Be prepared to meet tons of different enemies from snakes, to fighters that will chase you down or throw their own knives at you. Some levels even come with natural hazards in the backgrounds and such, like spiked floors and residents throwing out pots to the street.
While playing as Simba, you’ll start off as a cub dealing with a bunch of bug and wildlife, only being able to attack by either rolling or jumping on your foe. Partway through the game you’ll age into adult Simba and gain the ability to slash and claw at enemies. He even has an energy bar that slowly charges and fills up for his roar which can stun enemies if they are close enough when you use it.
Laugh in the Face of Danger
If you played these games in their original forms, then you’ll know exactly how they feel on the Switch. The controls transfer quite nicely and they even bring in a few new features to the games as a whole that can lend quite the helping hand.
There have been plenty of games that get re-released from retro times to more modern ones, and sometimes the controls don’t always translate the best. Or, to be more specific, the positioning of those controls. In original release, a lot of games are designed for those older controllers so you can perfectly position your hand to prioritize things like combat, jumping, etc. And a lot of times, being brought to newer controllers this gets lost and you find yourself reaching or needing an almost crab-claw hold to get things done. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. Whether in handheld, single joy-con, or a pro controller this game feels just as good as it did on the old SNES controller.
However, the new features that have been brought to this rendition of these games just might make a lot of people extremely happy. Specifically, those who have played and struggled with either of these titles before. One option is one that you’ll have readily available to you constantly as you play, and that’s the ability to rewind on the fly. Missed a jump? Rewind a bit and try again. Got smacked by something you didn’t know was going to be there? Rewind and dodge it. If you find yourself determined to beat either (or both) of these games but don’t wanna say goodbye to that final life and start all over, this is a handy way for you to keep trudging on.
Or, you can make use of the other new feature that is pretty similiar, which is the ability to watch and drop. From the main menu, you are able to select an option to watch the game being played in full. At any moment while you’re watching if you feel the desire to take over the controls yourself, you can do it right on the spot. So for instance, if you’re ostrich-jumping with Simba in the second level of The Lion King and just can’t figure out how to time some of those jumps, watch the video, learn how it’s done and then jump in to do it yourself.
From Rags to Riches
There really isn’t a bad thing to say about this package. You’re getting two great games, bundled together for the price of one. To top that off they are timeless classics not only in their gaming times, but in their Disney times as well. These 16-bit adventures chronicle journeys that we got to watch spill out on a big screen in wonder.
As new gamers, approaching something they’ve never encountered before? These are two titles that should be on every gamers bucket list, and what easier way to get access to them. Throwing these games into your Switch and being able to play them on the go whenever you want? It’s like a dream come true. It doesn’t matter if you go “classic” mode and suffer through all the missed jumps and enemy bumps, or if you lean heavy on that rewind button.
I love that they weren’t “remastered” too. It’s great when games get that facelift, but there’s been plenty of times when they don’t need it in the first place, and these are definitely titles that don’t need it. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to play these older cartridges, but the audio definitely did feel a bit crisper. But to be totally honest, they were beautiful chip renditions of the songs I grew up listening to in the movies so I would’ve gotten sucked in even if they sounded like crap.
One final note, is if you’re looking for a monetary reason to convince you on getting the Switch versions, I would like to point out that the price of just one of these games complete in box for its retro console, is the same price as the duo pack is for the Switch. Obviously it will separate the purists who just have to have the originals (and hey, I’m sitting on the original way to play these games on the go with my Game Gear and cartridges). But it’s essentially a BOGO deal on two great retro games, what more could you ask for. Whether digital or physical, don’t miss out on this combo pack and add it to your library before a villain snatches it up.