Disney Classic Games Collection
Three Disney Classics Return On One Package
Very few had as much staying power with licensed video games like Disney did in the 90s. Whether it was adaptations based on TV shows, feature films, or simple usage of IPs, Disney had a commanding pressence on the two major consoles at the time. What was unique about these games were the differences between the consoles they appeared on. Each game in the Disney Classic Games Collection offered a unique experience depending on whether it was "Console N" or "Console S." In this compilation handled by Digital Eclipse, Aladdin, The Liong King, and The Jungle Book are the three titles included.
All three games were originally developed by Virgin Games, with the exception of the SNES version of Aladdin being developed by Capcom. When the compilaiton was original released in 2019, it only featured Genesis and Game Boy ports. This updated release not only included the SNES ports of each game but also bonus trivia for fans of the games. The stories behind each game is unique although impossible to fully explore in a preview with hours of behind the scenes content. That said, I'll do my best to discuss each entry in the series as each title is unique in their own way.
As mentioned before, this compilation has the "Console N" and "Console S" versions of Aladdin, or the SNES and Genesis respectively. Of all the games in this compilation, the SNES and Genesis versions are two completely different games by two different developers. The SNES version, developed by Capcom, was a game centered around acute platforming similar to Super Mario Bros. Aladdin doesn't have a sword to defend himself, but instead he attacks by pouncing on enemies and throwing fruit. Of the two, Capcom takes advantage of the SNES's powerful hardware. Colors pop and the audio is crisp, which is something that will be common among the SNES ports.
The Genesis Aladdin game, developed by Virgin, is a completely different game with hand-drawn art similar to that of the movie. Aladdin's movements are less exageratted as he's more grounded, attacking with a sword and avoiding more hazards than usual. While both games are fantasy based, the Genesis version is more "realistic" in aesthetic. While this wasn't the first game that Virgin worked on, this would be the game that would begin a good rapport with Disney. As a bonus, there's a "final cut" version which includes features that the developers would have added if time wasn't an issue. An alpha version is also included as a demo. Finally, the Japanese version of the Genesis titles, as well as handheld versions, were included.
The Jungle Book
While Aladdin was Virgin's first Disney game, The Jungle Book was the first game the devs were working on prior to the staff switching to Aladdin's development. Once Aladdin made the release window of the movie, development ressumed on The Jungle Book and its age can be shown. Being Virgin's first official game, a lot of the techniques introduced in this game would transfer over to both Aladdin and Lion King. There isn't that much of a difference between the two versions aside from the unique hardware the SNES and Genesis provded.
The settings between all three games include various screen sizes and filters, some looking better on certain games than others. I felt like the LCD filter looked interesting on the Aladdin game but it wasn't doing The Jungle Book any favors. There's also quality-of-life elements expected in retro compilations including the ability to save state and rewind progress. While purists may frown on these mechanics, making the "game easier," I welcomed these with open arms. Especially when it came to...
The Lion King
Often considered to be one of the difficult Disney platformers, The Lion King is probably one of Virgin Games' most infamous titles. Not because it's a bad game, far from it actually. Some of the early levels can be quite a dozy no matter which version is played. Of the two version I felt more of an affinity towards the Genesis platform as the framerate was smooth and the objects are easy to identify. The SNES is once again beautiful and sounds amazing. The problem is that, in my experience, it's a bit too busy.
An example is the second level in the game where Simba re-enacts the "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" song with all the animals. Monkeys will fling Simba every which way and rhinos will catapult the young club. Giraffes will dunk Simba in the water with no regard amd ostriches will take Simba on a joy ride. While each have their nuances, the ostrich rides are probably the most annoying as the pink rhino obstacles blend too well with SNES's visuals. At times I died without knowing how or what I even tripped on. The Genesis version alleviates this by lowering the contrast enough to where I can see what to jump over. The Hyena fights are still dumb.
Those who hadn't already owned the original Disney Classic Games Collection in 2019 will find several hidden gems in this 2021 re-release. With even more versions of existing games than before, plus the inclusion of The Jungle Book, this is a worthy holiday purchase for both nostalgic parents and inquisitive children alike. The bonus behind the scenes content is enough to encourage a purchase, despite some slowdowns with the emulations. Overall, DCGC is a decent stocking stuffer for this holiday season.
Disney Classic Games Collection is available on the PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.