It’s time to continue our tour of classic Disney video games! In the third installment of this series, we’re looking at another of my personal favorites. The Lion King was published by Virgin Interactive and released on December 8, 1994 – just about six months after its mega-successful movie counterpart. It was released on a plethora of platforms, including the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Super NES, NES, Game Boy, PC, Amiga, Sega Game Gear, and Sega Master System. It was also ported to the PlayStation and Game Boy Advance. While the game looks similar on most of these systems, there are some minor differences. The version I remember most was the Sega Genesis version, so my look back will focus on that version (although I played the SNES and Game Gear versions, too). So, let’s step into the Pridelands and get into this edition of the Disney Classic Console!
The Lion King is mostly a side-scrolling platform game. If that means nothing to you, think Super Mario Bros. I say “mostly” because one level – “The Stampede” – has Simba running towards the screen while avoiding stampeding wildebeests and large rocks. During the game, you play as young Simba and grow into adult Simba. As a cub, you’ll be able to roar (albeit weakly), roll, and pounce on enemies. Adult Simba is stronger and can slash, maul, throw his enemies, and roar louder. You can play two bonus levels starring the lovable Timon and Pumbaa, in which your job is to collect as many tasty bugs as possible.
The storyline of the game follows the movie pretty closely, with levels taking Simba through the Pridelands, the hakuna matata jungle, Simba’s destiny, and an epic final battle with Scar. Not all of the systems had exactly the same levels, so your mileage may vary. The music will remind you of the classic songs from the movie. The Genesis version even has some vocalizations to the music, most of which is not in the other versions.
According to Wikipedia, the game got positive reviews – even an 8/10 from the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly. However, and I can attest to this, the game isn’t that easy. If you haven’t played it, try it on easy first. You should find that’s plenty difficult for you. Honestly, I’ve played it a few times and easy is enough for me, too. The game sold well, also, with the Super NES version moving 1.27 million copies.
The Lion King is one of my favorite games. I would love to see this re-released somehow, and the most likely option would be some type of download service. Have you played The Lion King on any of these game consoles? If you have, let me know what you think of it in the comments below! Also, I’m looking for suggestions on your favorite classic Disney games. If you have a favorite, let me know!