Aladdin: The Final Cut sets a new standard for re-releases
A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King was released the other day to seemingly no fanfare. That's understandable. It's a £32 retro collection featuring a mere two Mega Drive games (the inferior Game Boy/SNES ports notwithstanding), neither of which set my world on fire. I've always preferred the precision of the sadly un-included SNES Aladdin, while still being very fond of the generally preferred Mega Drive game.
Despite my previous protestation of this collection's miserly stinginess, I have a particular interest in re-releases and their added features and presentation (plus Digital Eclipse's recent releases such as The Disney Afternoon Collection have been superb), so I picked this up on Switch with some cheap eShop credit and gold coins. And I'm so, so glad that I did.
The behind-the-scenes content is astonishing. Extensive, rendered at incredible resolution, so in-depth and so lovingly curated. You can feel so much care and attention has gone into the presentation here, as you're walked through a virtual museum of these games' production. You'll see the original sketches and the animations they wrought. Interviews with the designers. Hand-drawn level maps. It's brilliant, but still not the main event for me. That's something inexplicably tucked away in the menu, like a dirty little secret.
See, alongside the original Aladdin and the nice-but one-play at most CES trade show demo version, there's something innocuously described as Aladdin: The Final Cut. And it's the single best bonus feature I've ever seen. It's the game you (maybe) loved back on the 16-bit, but... they finished it. They polished up the controls. Improved the camera. The collision detection. Added new secrets and level sections to the extant game. This, to me, is some wild stuff. I immediately noticed that on the first level I was able to double back across the rooftops to collect some more new bonuses. I swear my jaw dropped. I know I'm going to come over like I'm Shawn Michaels wrestling Hulk Hogan at Summerslam 2005 with how ridiculously I'm over-selling this, but to me it is insane. To take a game like this, a licensed game so damn unlikely to get a re-release in the first place, then to polish it up to this extent is so dedicated, so impressive. What more could you possibly want from a single game's presentation?
Bravo to Digital Eclipse and everyone else responsible.