Re(?)Considered: Disney's Aladdin
Nobody's favourite Aladdin game! It ain't never had a friend, never had a friend
It's the end of a very brief, unremarkable era as my Aladdin coverage comes to an abrupt and violent end with this look back at the lesser-known Sega Master System adaptation. I mean, I could go on - there's Aladdin: Nasira's Revenge on PlayStation, not to mention the Game Boy Color Aladdin (it's a port of the Mega Drive game). No. It terminates here. Three wishes, three Aladdin games. Then, like the Genie, I'm free. Sorry for the spoiler.
Anyway, it's important I make one thing very clear, with regard to these “three wishes”. If I were the Aladdin of the Sega Master System Aladdin, I would begin by wishing for a face.
HE HAS NO FACE. HIS FACE IS GONE. WHERE A FACE SHOULD BE EXISTS A VOID. I cannot stress enough the terrifying impact of this and I attach a picture only to educate children. A short sharp shock. All those kids these days who want to be just like 8-bit Aladdin. Show them this article, show them that he has no face. Ask them if they still think 8-bit Aladdin is cool; they'll change their tune.
Oh, right, right! The game. The Master System version takes the freewheeling, slippery Genesis game and the athletic, linear SNES title and shuns both approaches in favour of a couple of disparate playstyles. It opens with a chase sequence that features some of the most impressive graphics I've ever seen on the Sega 8-bit, with Mickey Mania-esque 3D buildings shifting by in the background as you (playing as - yes - Aladdin) run like hell away from Jim Cummings. It's genuinely quite gorgeous, with Shadow of the Beast style scrolling creating a nigh-on disorienting effect. Gameplay is simplistic in these chase segments, but suitably speedy and requiring quick reactions to avoid rolling barrels, falling pots and the aforementioned homicidal voice actor.
Following this exciting, action-packed adrenaline rush you're thrown into, effectively, Prince of Persia but with far worse and less intriguing level design. It's a comedown for the ages, not entirely unlike the experience of sitting down to watch the thrilling and hilarious Aladdin movie but instead being presented with an episode of the risible Doug. The controls are so stiff and unresponsive it's difficult to believe you're playing the same game that just had you bombing over the rooftops alongside the disguised Princess Jasmine.
And this yo-yo of quality continues until the fairly abrupt end. It's a short game and a large amount of it is made up from a surprisingly faithful retelling of the movie's story through unskippable cutscenes. They're attractive – again, it's one of the very best-looking games on the system – but they're slow and tedious on replays. It's a shame, because with a little more actual game, Aladdin on Master System could have been one of its very finest titles.
You know what? I don't want to end my time covering Aladdin games with such a disappointment. Join me again soon for a review of the Tiger Electronics Aladdin LCD game.