The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.


Anyone here remember Disney? You know that company that made Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, The Jonas Brothers, Goofy and other fictional characters that were never as good as Warner Bros cartoons. Observe these two cartoons. Now Disney being the rich moneybags that they are obviously had their hands in loads of pockets to sell their movies, like most films, there’s a large amount of tie-in merchandise that you can pick up. McDonalds happy meals of Eyeore, Disney Princess outfits, Toy Story pencil cases, Hannah Montana wigs, Mickey Mouse condoms, the list goes on. Naturally, as the industry grew and Mario was deemed more famous than Mickey Mouse, Disney decided to lend character rights to video game companies.

For some reason when everyone thinks of Disney video games now, they immediately point straight towards the crossover Kingdom hearts series, which no matter how many titles are made, Mickey Mouse still looks out of place next to a spikey haired tit with an oversized key. More recently, Mickey Mouse made a comeback in Epic Mickey, a game that its creator was so proud of, when it was reviewed, he said the critics “Weren’t playing it right” But I’ve waffled on long enough about Disney to pad out this wafer thin review, so we can start talking about this weeks classic game. There’s no mice, there’s not Goofy and thankfully, no fucking High School Musical, just Aladdin. Yeah, I can hardly contain my joy as well.

Aladdin was released in 1993 on the SNES to critical acclaim, despite it taking out various aspects of the original Mega Drive version. In case you’ve been living under a well the past 450 words, it’s clearly based on the Disney movie, which if you haven’t seen, I recommened you stop reading and pop down the shops and buy a copy, it’s been recently rereleased for DVD and Blu-ray and is a fairly good movie (Can I have my money now, Disney?)…done? Welcome back.
The game loosely follows the film in a hazy platforming game that’s not dis-similar to a certain plumber. In fact, there’s an enemy that throws barrels at you in level 2. It’s only missing the 8 bit sound effects and it’s exactly the same as Donkey Kong. The platformings not really anything special either, Aladdin doesn’t do anything special other than grab things, which isn’t that big on the unique platformer skill and probably why he’s not in the line-up of Super Meat Boy.

Throughout the levels, Aladdin has to collect jewels that after a whole levels worth, you have to wonder why he’s still poor and he also throws apples at enemies, because that’s the sort of thing poor people do, obviously, they don’t need to eat them. To be honest, just about everything in this game is neither original or indeed fun. It’s the video game equivalent of watching paint dry, despite cartoony characters trying to make things interesting and it’s incredibly difficult to have any enthusiasm for a game that’s just repetitive and boring. It is just jump, jump, bounce off someones head, jump, collect item. (Boss fight on Stage 3) Level finished and Aladdin looks at you smug like the stupid cocky idiot he is. HOW IS STARVING GOING FOR YOU?

And that’s just the problem, it’s not awful, no…well it is, but that’s not the point…actually it is, but it just constantly reminds me of what I could be playing instead. I don’t care for jumping on cartoony arab palace guards when I could be jumping on Goombas, I don’t want throw apples when I could throw barrels at crocodiles, I don’t want to be patronized by a stupid monkey when I could be patronized by a stupid mon…ok, nevermind that one. Another gripe is that whilst Disney movies themselves are good entertainment (and only about £10 or less from your local store, go and treat yourself!) the tie-in games just aren’t. I never look at a top quality Disney movie and think “I’d love to play as this character in a video game”…Apart from the guy from The Straight Story, now there’s a concept that should have been explored more in video game form. I actually contacted a well known video game company about the possibility of such a game. They responded with the following.

“Dear Mr Zero. Please stop sending us these letters. We have said on numerous occasions that neither The Straight Story, nor Suicide: The Musical On Ice: The Game were not suitable for development for several reasons that cannot be disclosed. Secondly, we do not make video games here and we never have. If you ever send a letter like this to Mr Clooney again, we will have no choice but to pursue legal action.”

Well that was rude. So whilst I’m waiting for the game tie-in for The Straight Story, I best get back to Disney and how they are super awesome and you should all go buy their films, tie in merchandise and visit their fantastic theme parks AND stay in their 5 star hotels whilst your there. Tangled is out in all good cinemas now. Go see it, it’s fantastic!

I think I’ll buy a yacht with the money…


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