I’m really glad that this game isn’t just a straight port of the better-known Aladdin title for Super Nintendo. If it were, this review wouldn’t be happening—I’ve yet to be able to defeat this title’s big brother. Aladdin for the Game Gear is a whole heck of a lot easier than not only other games bearing the same name, but most other side-scrollers, and this is due to a feature that I am absolutely in love with—infinite continues. Never being able to die could make almost any game a winner in my book (except, no doubt, for Muppet Adventure), and this coupled with a licensed title that doesn’t stray too far from the original storyline, and gameplay that is nearly playable, makes for a game that lifts itself ever-so-slightly above mediocrity.
Throughout the game, you play through various levels that depict events from the movie Aladdin. In each of these levels you control Aladdin, whether it be running away from guards, throwing apples at guards, or soaring, tumbling, and freewheeling through an endless diamond sky. (Yes, there is indeed a level based on the “A Whole New World” scene from Aladdin, awesome song and all. Just try and stop yourself from singing along; it won’t happen.)
The levels break down into three different categories: running levels, flying levels, and putzing-around levels. Running and flying are basically the same, with the screen constantly moving and you having to not run into things; putzing, on the other hand, plays like any other side-scroller, with you attacking enemies and making your way to the end of the level without dying. Not that dying actually matters, or anything, because you have INFINITE CONTINUES!!!
The infinite continues would be much less of a factor if Aladdin’s controls were programmed better. Sadly, they don’t always do what you tell them to do; the game likes especially to hurl Aladdin off of a cliff instead of making him jump straight into the air. There’s also this weird bug with the start button; I have yet to figure out the trick to pausing the game. Sometimes you have to hold the start button for a few seconds in order for the game to pause, sometimes you hafta press it really quickly, sometimes you have to tap it repeatedly—but your best bet is to just never take your finger off the start button if you want the game paused, unless you want Generic Guard #12 to run up and get you while you’re busy chatting on AIM. When the controls do what you tell them to do, they work pretty well; too bad this doesn’t happen a lot of the time.
Familiar tunes boost this game’s rating for audio, though the sound effects are completely unnoticeable. The visuals look fine on the Game Gear’s oddly washed-out screen, being neither offensive nor mind-blowing, as many visuals in the gaming world tend to be. It seems like every game I review has just decent graphics and decent sound. I’m so sick of this. Maybe I should purchase some games with really crappy graphics so I’ll at least have something to talk about besides, “They were okay. Not bad, and yet, not good.”
In the event that you not only own a Game Gear, but are a fan of Aladdin, there’s no reason not to get this game. Well, actually I do see one reason (the funked up controls), but I can see past that, and I hope that you can, too. This game is the very first Game Gear game that I’ve ever played (Aladdin took away my virginity), and, thankfully, it didn’t ruin Game Gear for me, like The Lion King would have had I played that one first. I can’t tell you if this is the best Aladdin game ever created (and I somehow think that it isn’t), but if you can find it cheaply, I can promise you that you won’t have completely wasted your money.