With Christmas coming, I asked my oldest son, Matt, to share tips and reviews of current and older video games. He’s been knee deep in video games for quite a few years. With his expertise in buying and selling used and new games and equipment, I rely on his guidance when reviewing games for my younger kids, especially when attempting to understand why some games receive a certain rating.
WAIT! Before you head to your favorite site to buy video games and equipment, go through Ebates to cashback on your purchase.
Released in late 1994, The Lion King reused the animation technique used in the Virgin Interactive version of Aladdin to great effect. The graphics are crisp and colorful, and pop off the screen as you play through Simba’s quest. When you boot up the game, an awesome 16-bit rendition of Circle of Life, complete with background vocals, plays as you navigate through the main menu. Then, as you press start… “It starts.” Timon’s words, not mine.
I love the scenes between levels in this game, along with the high-quality voice clips that come with them. They’re not something you’d expect the Super Nintendo to do well; yet it does. Each cut scene covers a major event in the movie. For example, after you complete the first level, you get this: “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” It might be my innate love of the movie speaking here, but I just love these little touches. They effectively pull you into the game, convincing you to keep playing.
After Timon speaks to you, you begin playing as the Cub Simba. You have three abilities: jump (you jump), roar (scares things), and slash (which is only available as an adult), which you’ll use to get to the top of the level, easy-peasy, and defeat a hyena. And then, your troubles will start, because the next level is based off of Can’t Wait To Be King. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Ostriches, that’s what.
After being thrown around by a few monkeys, the game finally reveals its claws, and you discover its true intentions. It wants to break you. This game is brutally hard. I must confess, I’ve never beaten the second level of this game. I used a level skip code to get a few levels ahead, and it doesn’t get any easier.
The Lion King game goes though the elephant graveyard, the wildebeests (which is the lone non-platforming stage; Simba runs at the screen, dodging rocks and animals that appear), Simba’s exile, Hakuna Matata, Be Prepared, the works. And yet, it somehow only gets harder. Speaking of death, the animation of Simba falling over as he dies is something that you will see early and often. And yet, I love this game; it’s worth every step of the way.
Since Capcom’s exclusive rights to Disney games on Nintendo consoles had expired sometime around the launch of the Aladdin video game, Virgin Interactive has made every single version of this game. They’re all the same game, with adjustments made to suit the platform. The base game was released on the Super NES (cart only: $7, complete: $20), Sega Genesis (cart: $3, complete: $10), PC (could not find correct listing), and the Amiga ($20, Europe-only), with various differences between the three. For example, the Genesis was in higher resolution than the Super NES and had more background particles, but the Super NES had more colors and better sound, including the aforementioned background vocals. Downports were also made for the NES and Master System (both Europe-only, so about $50 each in the states), Game Boy ($4), and Game Gear ($1 used, $6 new in box).
NOTE: This game has no save function. The code for the level selects for the versions easiest to get (Super NES: B,A, R, R, Y) (Genesis: Right, A, B, B, Start)