Disney Classics or dismal euthanasics?

At least they didn't remake them in live-action

The most encouraging thing about Digital Eclipse’s upcoming all-formats compilation Disney Classic Games: Aladdin & The Lion King is that the branding suggests there will be more to come. Nostalgia aside, I don’t think this is the most inspired collection. Now, none of that is Digital Eclipse’s fault. They’ve included every version of the games that they could – that’s the Sega Mega Drive Aladdin, both SNES and Mega Drive versions of The Lion King, and the Game Boy ports of both. Even within this limited offering – naturally chosen because both movies saw pointless, artless remakes this year – there’s a conspicuous absence in Capcom’s rather good SNES Aladdin. I’ve talked about Aladdin games before but the long and short of it is that I think Virgin Games’ much-beloved Sega effort hasn’t held up brilliantly, while the SNES game has aged rather more gracefully. I’m sure there is a very good reason why it wasn’t included, but it remains a shame.

Multiple game versions, only one that's any good. The effort is still appreciated.

Crucially, though, The Lion King is not a game that I enjoy regardless of which version I may deign to suffer through. It’s promising for precisely one level, then you reach Can’t Wait To Be King and it’s a one-way plummet into abject frustration. The game’s controls are flaky and strange as it is, but marry them to instant-death pits and the ludicrous level of precision demanded by the ostrich-riding segments and it’s a recipe for disaster that’ll have you pitching yourself headfirst into a wildebeest stampede before you can say Hakuna Matata.

On the plus side, the extra high-res art galleries that I’ve come to expect from Digital Eclipse re-releases are here and promise to be absolutely fascinating. Additionally, the trade show build of the Sega Aladdin has been included as a very welcome curio and I personally can’t wait to give it a shot. They’ve also added yer sacrilegious “Rewind” feature for those of you who like your games fundamentally compromised (or have children, families, social lives, etc) as well as an admittedly pretty cool feature that has the game take over from you, then allows you to jump back in and continue from whatever point you please.

No, that's okay. You go ahead.

Ultimately I think this is a bit of a miserly offering given the $30 price point. Two games (let’s face it, those Game Boy ones will be played for two minutes at the most) and neither of them set my world on fire. I’d rather have had The Jungle Book and Toy Story, both of which are lesser-known and, for my money, a lot better. Still, it’s cool on the face of it to have these licensed games available on modern consoles. And I guess I don’t mind Aladdin too much if I can skip the Sultan’s Dungeon, Cave of Wonders and Escape levels!

I can show you the world…  fine, just don’t ask me to play through it. Wa-hey!