Saturday, 26 May 2012

Aladdin (Master System)

Don't worry, this is the last of the Disney's Aladdin games. Well except for things like Disney's Math Quest with Aladdin and Disney's Aladdin Chess Adventures...

Whatever, it's the last one based directly on the first movie, so it's the last one I'm playing.

Like the other two version, it fills in some of the story with cutscenes. Though without words I'm left to guess at what's going on. This must be the scene in which Jafar harasses a poor chef with complaints about the quality of his sandwiches.


Anyway, back in the city of Agrabah, Aladdin steals a loaf of bread and the law is soon on his tail.


LEVEL ONE.


Wow, okay, I wasn't expecting the game to automatically scroll. It seems I mostly (automatically) run to the right and press the button when I reach an obstacle. No attacks or acrobatics this time, just jumping.

I have to say it's not bad looking for a Master System game. The characters look like tiny versions of the Genesis/Mega Drive version's sprites, and the backgrounds remind me a bit of the SNES version.

Game Gear
Who keeps rolling all these barrels down the road anyway? Oh duh, it must be that guard from the other two games who thinks he's Donkey Kong.

Shockingly it seems that the Game Gear version is exactly the same, except the smaller screen gives me less time to react. It makes me wonder if there are any Game Gear games that are actually different to the Master System version.

Eventually Aladdin runs out of guards to evade and decides to get into someone else's business, saving the disguised Princess Jasmine from an irate shopkeeper. There was a boss battle here on the SNES game (the Mega Drive version just made up its own story), but this plays out in a cutscene here.

I don't even want to know what his monkey's doing to the poor man's face.

Oh shit, he's stolen the man's pupils!


LEVEL TWO.


Saving the Princess got the guards on my back again, so it's time for more automatic screen scrolling action. It reminds me a bit of Canabalt actually, only in this when I hit anything I lose half a hit point.

I suppose this is it then, the entire game's going to be about pressing jump when a barrel or a gap comes up.

Unfortunately despite my excellent barrel jumping skills, the pair are soon cornered. But Aladdin has a cunning plan...

Oh, he just jumped straight off the building. Bet she regrets trusting him now. I'm sure they had a smarter way of getting down in the movie.

Princess Jasmine reveals that she is in fact... Princess Jasmine! But it's not enough to get the guards off Aladdin's back and he's dragged away at Jafar's orders.

And then Aladdin's executed off screen. Game over.

I've been getting a bit of a Prince of Persia vibe from all three Aladdin games at times (for obvious reasons), but this cutscene is giving me full on deja-vu.

Prince of Persia (DOS)
At the end of the scene Grand Vizier Jafar even turns around and walks out in the same way as... Grand Vizier Jaffar.

Luckily for Aladdin, he's not actually dead, and getting out of the Sultan's dungeon is apparently as easy as walking off screen to the right.

To be honest I expected fake old man Jafar to pull a hidden lever or something to open up a secret door in the brick wall, looking at the big obvious seams in the background, but nope.

I love his expression here as his bird comes up to whine at him. The guy must be pretty attached to his parrot to go as far as hiding him inside his clothes when he's undercover.


LEVEL THREE.


Level 3 and I'm already at the Cave of Wonders trying to get this lamp for Jafar.

But the screen has stopped scrolling! I can walk backwards, and duck, and visit other screens by climbing stairs! It's suddenly turned into an entirely different game. I still can't kill these bats though, as the apples are health pickups, not weapons.

I'm pretty sure that grey thing is a touchplate switch. Or possibly a land mine, but I'm trying to think positive.

It took me ages to figure out the trick to getting past the spikes, is to duck and sneak past. For some reason spikes start to get shy around Aladdin when he's crouched, and retract back into the ground.

Aladdin's suddenly learned plenty of new moves, such as sliding through tunnels and climbing walls. At least he was climbing walls a second ago, I don't know what's wrong with him now. Maybe this wall's too high or I'm standing in the wrong place or something?

Whatever, I'll leave it for now and go up the stairs. This is a pretty different style of game to the other two versions, as it's not just straight run to the exit. This is actually, well, a bit like Prince of Persia actually, though far easier as there's no falling floor tiles, swordfights, or time limits.

Hmm, a closed door, a stone, and a stone sized hole in the wall... a cunning puzzle indeed. Just to see what'd happen, I threw the stone away, walked off screen, and a new one had reappeared on the floor when I came back.

So I grabbed like 8 of the things, just in case.

Wow, it's impossible to accidentally walk off these ledges. Now that's a feature I wish was in the SNES game.

Actually this Aladdin has very precise movement, so unless I accidentally double tapped a direction and made him run straight over the edge, I think I'd probably do alright here even without the invisible safety walls.

Well that's an awkward place to put a key. I hope this path will take me back around to it at some point, or else I'm in trouble.

I'm in trouble. Especially considering that the floating ledge I used to get here has collapsed behind me.

Though maybe I can just about make it back over... nope. Fortunately the game didn't put me back far, and I didn't even lose a life. In fact I don't have any lives or continues, I can keep playing as many times as I want.

It turns out that the key was behind that wall I couldn't climb up earlier. Seems I actually could climb up all along, I'd just been standing in the wrong place.


LEVEL FOUR.


I guess the Prince of Persia section is finished now, and I'm back to running to the right and jumping. The other versions of Aladdin were full of gems to collect, but I get the feeling that touching any of the treasure here will lead to bad things.

Agh, you stupid monkey! Three games in a row he's done that. And now the cave's going to collapse around me and I'll have to jump over lava again. Great.


LEVEL FIVE.


Wait, what? No lava jumping section this time?

INSTANT GOLD STAR!

This magic carpet section is pretty inoffensive and straightforward. I just move up and down to weave between the rocks for a bit, and it's over.

Could this be the first actual appearance of the Genie in the game? Oh wait, no, he was holding the frame in the silent intro. Why was that silent anyway? All the other cutscenes have text.

Aladdin tricks the Genie into saving him from the cave, then uses his first wish to become a prince so that he can date Princess Jasmine. He didn't wish to be a fake prince so I suppose this means he actually does have a nation to rule somewhere. Not that he cares.

I suppose the next level will be set in a parade then, as we return to Agrabah in disguise as Prince Ali. We'll no doubt be marching right up to the front door of the palace, showing off Aladdin's new found ultra-wealth in the most decadent way possible to impress the Sultan and win the heart of the Princess, while possibly jumping over some barrels along the way.


LEVEL SIX.


Or we can just sneak in through the back door uninvited I suppose. But hey, I have recovered the ability to walk backwards, so I'm not complaining.

I just hope there's no bats in here.


LATER.


Damn, another locked door? But I'm sure I grabbed all the keys! Maybe there's a staircase I've overlooked somew.... wait a minute. Touchplate in the floor on the other side... guard pacing back and forth... I think I've solved this puzzle.

Hah, turns out that I can throw stones at guards to stun then, like I could with the apples in the SNES game. Though there was never much point because I could just jump on everyone.

In this though if I haven't got a stone handy I'll have to go off and find one or there's no way through.


LEVEL SEVEN.


And so the Aladdin meets with the Sultan, pisses off the Princess, eventually wins over the Princess by faking his death etc. etc. and they go for a magic carpet ride.

But it turns out that the night skies over Agrabah are more dangerous than the streets. I'm being harassed by birds. Fortunately the apples are still on my side.

Oh shit, now horses are trying to kill me too? Well, one single horse. I feel sorry for the poor guy who animated that thing, only for it to appear once in the entire game.

But seriously, a horse is trying to jump up and knock me off my carpet. And now clouds are shooting lightning at me... this is amazing.

Oh shit, FRUIT! The fruit's turned on me! It's leaping from the trees and trying to kill me! Man this game's taken a turn for the weird.

Well, she seems happy anyway. So I guess it all worked out in the end.

Except that bastard Jafar decided to throw Aladdin off a bridge. The poor guy has to waste his second wish to get out of this, and wishes are a very limited resource.


LEVEL EIGHT.


It's time for some payback, Jafar! Though I'm not sure why he's running away. He's an all powerful sorcerer, and I don't even have any stones to throw at him.

I wish there was some food lying around I could grab for health. Damn the Sultan's cleaning staff. Also damn the Sultan's maintenance staff for leaving gaping holes in the floor and loosening the screws in every chandelier in the building. This place is a death trap.


LATER.


I must have replayed this level ten times by now, and I keep getting tripped up (literally) by this fire in front of the pit. But weirdly, I'm not even slightly frustrated. There's no checkpoints on this level, I have to go back to the start every single time I screw up, but I'm actually okay with that. And I'm not sure why that is.

Well that ended pretty much as you'd expect. Now Jafar has the lamp, he's the Sultan, and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. You know, for a smart guy he didn't really phrase that second wish very well. How did he know he wasn't already the most powerful sorcerer in the world?

Anyway he throws Aladdin to the end of the Earth to get rid of him, as killing him never seems to stick, so I guess we've got another magic carpet level now as we race back to Agrabah to stop him?


LEVEL NINE.


Nope, straight into a boss fight. Which is a bit awkward for Aladdin as he couldn't even hurt a bat. Jafar thinks it's funny to wave a sword over my head as he's firing off fireballs. "Bet you wish you were Mega Drive Aladdin right now, don't you?" he's probably thinking.

Hey, that gives me an idea...

Now this boss battle's going a little better. My strategy this time is to hit him with the sword enough times to kill him before he can throw another fireball. You can tell by my health bar at the top of the screen how well the plan's going so far.

Oh shit, Jafar just turned into a giant snake! Uh, what do I do now? I guess I just run at him and hit him some more? Man, I am terrible at boss fights.


THREE MINUTES LATER.


Well, that took a few tries. But now Jafar's sorted out and everyone can go on with their lives.

And so Aladdin releases the Genie with his final wish... instead of using his last wish to feed the starving children on the streets of Agrabah, then giving the lamp to Jasmine to free the Genie with her final wish. The two main characters get married, the Genie goes to Disneyland, and everyone's happy.

Wait, I just finished the game? The whole game? That was it?

Four running levels, two platformer levels, two carpet levels and a boss fight. I'm guessing it took roughly an hour to finish on my first try, and I was watching all the cutscenes. It ain't exactly difficult.

But I can't actually say it's a bad game. It was entertaining enough while it lasted, it has decent graphics, great controls, and the music is about as good as it could be. It even has some parallax scrolling effects on the floors and buildings that the other games don't have.

Three games based on the same movie and none of them suck, I'm honestly surprised. But I'm done with Aladdin now. Next game.

1993 - Aladdin (Genesis/Mega Drive)
1993 - Aladdin (SNES)
1994 - Aladdin (Master System)

1 comment:

  1. I played so much of the genesis version

    ReplyDelete

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