Disney's classic Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book platformers join GOG

Surprisingly excellent, these three platformers were 'hallmarks of the genre' during an era flooded with good to great platformers. 

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GOG.com has announced the addition of three of Disney's 16-bit platformers widely hailed as some of the best of their era: Aladdin, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King. All games are available immediately for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

"Previously unavailable to modern gamers, all three titles have been meticulously updated to be compatible with modern operating systems while preserving the original graphics, sound, and gameplay," GOG wrote in a press release.

What's most astonishing about these games is that they're surprisingly sound platformers, bucking the trend of licensed games during the 8- and 16-bit era. They control well, are predicated on well-designed levels and mechanics, and feature some of the most vibrant graphics and animations, as well as some of the catchiest soundtracks of the golden age of 2D platformers.

And that's to be expected. Virgin Games USA and Disney Software collaborated on the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin—the basis for the DOS port—and Sega's license to develop games based on Disney properties gave the console manufacturer exclusive access to Disney's animation studio and music tracks. The fluidity of character movements was stunning.

"No mention of these revered platformers would be complete without a nod to their groundbreaking visuals," GOG wrote. "With the advent of Digicel technology, hand-drawn cels from Disney's animation team brought the characters to life with a level of vibrancy that was unparalleled at the time, and remains impressive today."

Meanwhile, Capcom developed the SNES version, and assigned the project to a young upstart named Shinji Mikami, who would go on to create and direct Resident Evil. While Aladdin on SNES garnered top-notch reviews, fundamental gameplay and stylistic differences set it apart from the Genesis version (and the DOS port by extension), which most critics agree was superior. Aladdin could throw apples at enemies and wield a sword on the Genesis version, but had no sword, perhaps due to Nintendo's stance on violence at the time. Additionally, the graphics, animations, soundtracks, and level design were different.

Virgin had a hand in The Lion King and The Jungle Book, too. Both the Genesis and SNES versions were nearly identical: Jungle Book's stage layouts varied from platform to platform, and the SNES version of Lion King missed out on background vocals.

All three games are available now at a launch discount of $8.99 each, normally selling for $9.99. Or you can get all three in a bundle for 33 percent off, only $20.01.

Craddock's Corner: If you can't tell, I am ridiculously excited that GOG has folded these games into its library of classics. I've never played The Jungle Book, but Aladdin and The Lion King on Genesis were staples at my dad's house growing up. Believe the hype: those two hold up, and I can't wait to try The Jungle Book for the first time later today.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

From The Chatty
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      August 4, 2016 6:02 AM

      Oh nice, lion king was a good one

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      August 4, 2016 6:17 AM

      Are these the dos versions or the Sega Genesis versions?

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        August 4, 2016 6:26 AM

        Technically the DOS versions, but each DOS port was based on its Genesis counterpart. Some games, such as Aladdin, featured enhanced music and animations from the console versions.

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          August 4, 2016 6:30 AM

          I had the Dos version of Aladdin back in the day and remember it being terrible control wish compared to the Genesis version. Ofcourse they could have fixed that up.

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      August 4, 2016 8:49 AM

      This is great news. Hoping the port on Aladdin is solid. That was a great game. My girls will love watching me play it. heh

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      August 4, 2016 11:07 AM

      Which version of Alladin did they port? The Genesis version was awesome, and the super nintendo one was sort of a step down. Or did I get that backwards?

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        August 4, 2016 11:54 AM

        Genesis version was made by the Earthworm Jim team if I remember correctly, SNES version was made by some monkeys taped in front of keyboards. Fingers crossed it's Genesis....or I could play it on my Genesis.

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      August 4, 2016 11:35 AM

      I guess it makes sense given the year they came out but I am kinda surprised that the DOS ports of these games aren't CGA shit affairs unconnected to the originals (see: the Mega Man 1 & 3 games on PC)