Aladdin (SIMS video game)
Aladdin is a multi-genre video game developed by SIMS and published by Sega on 1994-03-25 for the Game Gear and Master System. Although it has the same title as the Capcom and Virgin games released around the same time, it is a completely different game. This version of Aladdin has various stages, each switching mechanics between running, flying, and a platformer with similarities to Prince of Persia.
The Game Gear and Master System ports are practically identical, but the Master System's larger display allows for a better status bar and lets you see obstacles further away, so it's slightly easier.
When I was complaining online about poorly-made portable games, a friend of mine mentioned that he beat this game so quickly after buying it he ended up returning it. That piqued my curiosity, so, I played the game and also beat it with little effort. Then, while making this page, I found that the Master System port was nearly the same, so I played through as well just to see what the differences were.
I don't own this game, but I beat the Game Gear and Master System ports on 2019-09-05, each on my first attempt.
Best Version: Master System
— This section contains spoilers! —
- Unlike a lot of tie-in games, this title very closely follows the source material. The graphics, music, scenes, and dialogue are very accurate.
- The game has fantastic pixel art, smooth animation, makes good use of parallax scrolling, and has a wonderful pseudo-3D effect in some of the early chase scenes.
- Most of the music is directly from the film, which is already great, but it's also well-arranged for the hardware.
- The game comes with a detailed manual, though the European manuals are bland since they have to cram so much text in them.
- Aladdin has plenty of actions at his disposal: walk, run, jump, crouch, tiptoe, slide, climb, throw, swing the sword. I just wish the levels were a bit larger and more varied to take advantage of all these actions.
- Although infinite lives is nice for getting you through the game, it pretty much guarantees that you'll beat it with just a smidgen of tenacity. And, since you have so much health, it means you'll beat a lot of the stages on your very first try. Had they decreased the health and gave you three lives per section, the game would be more challenging without being unforgiving.
- The game isn't paced well. The first eight stages of the game account for the first half of the film, leaving only two stages for the second half.
- The controls are mostly responsive, but there are a couple issues. Going up and down stairs and jumping up to ledges require you to be in just the right spot to use them and ducking is a little slower than I would like. However, nothing ever became too frustrating.
- The game's title doesn't distinguish it from the Virgin and Capcom versions of the game which is always a shameful marketing tactic, and the European box art is even the same as the Virgin box art which is especially bad. The US at least used different box even if they couldn't be bothered to change the title.
- The game is far too easy and too short. A beginner can finish it in about an hour or two on their first attempt. Something else should have been added to the game like more levels or a hard mode to keep the challenge going.