In the highly competitive and overcrowded world of platform games, Mega Drive owners are spoilt for choice. Any new release has to be pretty damn good to stand out of the crowd – it must literally pounce from the screen, seize you by the throat and deny you air.
Virgin’s Aladdin does just that. Entrancing you with its animations, delighting you with its humour and charming the pants off you with its great playability.
The animation is astounding, and the whole thing moves so smoothly and so fast that it’s easy to see where the cart’s 16 megs went. The levels are well thought out and each stage exercises your joypad skills to the full.
Aladdin is so full of great touches and detail, it’s amazing the cartridge doesn’t burst. Little touches like the way when you leave Aladdin alone for a while he starts juggling apples, or the way the camel spits when you land on his back – all these give the game a very polished and comical feel.
Apples can be found lying around which can be used as a sort of fruity grenade, and your sword can also be used to slice your way through the ten levels. The action is fast and there are plenty of obstacles to overcome – the easiest of which are Jafar’s guards. Sword fights end very quickly, but there are so many of them that this doesn’t seriously detract from the gameplay.
Talking of gameplay, there’s nothing worse than a game that looks fantastic but is about as much fun to play with as a bag of mud. Fear not, Aladdin is brilliantly playable; you have total control over what your character does, and the difficulty curve is set just right. In fact, everything in it is just perfect.
Well, almost perfect. The sound could have been better – but that’s a minor quibble. Anyway, at last the Mega Drive has a new platform king. Move over spiky blue one, Aladdin’s in town.
Mega Drive version tested.
This review first appeared in E2, November 1993.