Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King" Review

The past few years have seen a renaissance of 1990s games based on Disney animated series.

Following the release of "Ducktales: Remastered" in 2013 and "The Disney Afternoon Collection" in 2017, "Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King" rounds out the nostalgia trip with pixel-perfect rereleases of the side-scrollers that a generation of gamers grew up on.

Wisely timed to coincide with the release of the live-action remakes on home video, the anthology not only includes the original versions, but two alternate editions that provide amusing changeups and twists on the established formula. There's also a museum mode that delves into the creation of both classics.

In developer Digital Eclipse's effort to stay true to the original aspect ratio, screen size is sacrificed. As a result, you need to squint to play the letterboxed game in the Switch's portable mode. The game fares better while docked and playing on TV, but you'll probably find yourself scooting up close to the TV to make sure you don't miss any crucial details.

Returning to the games after decades away, what stands out about both "Aladdin" and "The Lion King" is how difficult they are. Both games require impeccable timing, a dogged resolve and a stomach for excruciating jump sequences and battles. You may be shocked at how tough these games were. They're every bit as torturous as you might remember from your tween years, and as a result, conquering them is all the more satisfying.

Also surprising is how beautiful the games remain. The graphic artists in the original games did a spectacular job of synthesizing the hand-drawn models to 16-bit equivalents. The sound design is similarly impressive, with soundtracks that echo the magic of the movie scores and themes.

"Dinsey Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King" is not only an essential pillar of a retro game library, but filled with hours of fun, if trying, gameplay that hits all the right nostalgic notes. They sure don't make 'em like this anymore.

Publisher provided review code.

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