ALADDIN / Virgin / Sega Genesis
This was a Virgin-Disney co-production, and I kinda picture Mickey Mouse (as depicted in South Park
) leaning over the dev team's shoulder with a baseball bat making sure everything got polished until it glistened. Whatever the case, the end result was a way-better-than-usual licensed platformer.
The prime quality here is the art. Both the animation and the backgrounds are incredibly detailed, and overall this might just be the best-looking game on the Genesis. I especially liked the little visual jokes strewn throughout some of the level backgrounds, like the skeletons wearing mouse ears in the dungeon. Stuff I would guess that uptight-ass Disney would never sign off on today.
The music is also pretty great, too. Here's the problem with that though, I've actually never seen the movie (I was just a bit too old for it when it came out), but I'm guessing the songs are based on the soundtrack. But on their own merits, they're catchy and well-done. Enemies get a surprising amount of little voice clips as well.
I hesitate to call the game "hard", but it's definitely more challenging than I was expecting a kid-focused license to be, with the difficulty starting mild in the first couple levels but then steadily climbing from there. At least on normal difficulty, anyway. There is a Kiddie Mode you can toggle on if things get a little too festive. The normal-level difficulty does feel a little cheap at times, though. A favorite trick of whoever laid these levels out is to set an obstacle you need to quickly rush past, but then when the screen scrolls forward there's an enemy you can't avoid waiting right there to hit you immediately. Enemies are also sometimes literally hidden behind background objects waiting for you to walk into them.
Still, despite some iffy level bits, I really enjoyed this one and was happy to play it to completion even with my extremely lowered tolerance for artificial difficulty in my advanced age. It was obviously made with great effort, care and respect for the license.