Capcom had a lock on creating superb video games based on the Disney license back in the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System and early Super NES eras, so it's only to be expected that its 16-bit version of Aladdin is fondly remembered as an enjoyable hop 'n' bop adventure. Conversely, Sega and Virgin Interactive handled Agrabah duties on the Genesis, creating a game that is wholly different than its counterpart, yet also fondly remembered for its fluid animation. How do the two Aladdin titles compare after all these years? Painted Pixels tries to reason it all out with a brief analysis of how the games stack up and pair off.
It’s funny looking back on when I wanted this game as I kid. I was so sure the Genesis game was superior. But it all comes down to fun, and I had a lot more fun playing the SNES Aladdin than I did the Genesis version. While the SNES game was a bit on the easy side, I’d gladly take that to the insane difficulty the Genesis version would throw at you. Oh, and the final battle with Jafar on the Genesis? I don’t think I’ll ever beat him it’s so insane. The Genesis Aladdin reminded me of why games could make us so mad with their old-school difficulty, and a Disney movie game really isn’t where I’d expect to find such frustrations. A good comparison is the level taking place inside the Genie’s lamp, which both games feature. The SNES version was pretty wacky looking, which is fitting for being in Genie’s lamp, with a lot of crazy jumping around, moving platforms that were the Genie’s tongue, crazy stuff like that. The Genesis version had lots of platforming that was much more brutal resulting in plenty of game overs before reaching the end. The Genesis version’s level was also strangely dark, which was weird since they’re playing the happy “Friend Like Me” song!
Having played both games, I have to side with the Capcom title. It's just generally more fun and finely tuned than Sega's take. However, the Sega title does have the visual advantage thanks to its animation pedigree (Disney animators worked with Virgin, as you may recall). In hindsight, it's a shame that Capcom did not go on to produce more games based on Disney properties. The Capcom of that era really knew its way around ducks, bears, dogs, rabbits, and street rats.