Reviews Archive
         
  The Lion King
 
 
 
  Graphics
         
    Mega Drive SNES Amiga
         
   
   
         
   

   
         
   
         
   
   
           
  Detail  
 

Mega Drive - The graphics here are very impressive, its all well drawn with nice textures and some great use of light, dark and shading. The art from the movie is here, and everything remains recognisable, and authentic looking.

Unfortunately for anyone with good hook-ups the game contains loads of dithering on certain levels (Most notably "Hakuna Matata" and "Pride Rock"), and with high quality leads the dithering shows up as loads of vertical lines, and can make those levels look worse on Mega Drive.

SNES - The biggest difference here is that a lot of the dithering seen in the Mega Drive version is gone. Often where it previously occured the lines have been removed, and replaced by another transitional colour in the SNES' pallet.

On the other side though a few of the levels have strangely grainy, and rushed looking textures, making those levels look a little cruder overall (a good example of this would be the level "Be Prepared").

Apart from that most of the levels look relatively comparable to the Mega Drive port, there's a few extra details here and there occasionally but not anything major. Lastly this version is in lower resolution than the Mega Drive version.

Amiga - Very similar to the Mega Drive port, though there seems to be even more dithering here than before.

 
   
  Winner is: SNES  
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  Colour  
 

Mega Drive - The colour use is extremely good in this game. The levels range from brilliant excess with big background colour transitions, or vibrant summer backdrops, to some the later levels which seem to be often themed around the use of one particular colour, with red sunset levels and dark blue night time levels (fantastic art direction).

Sometimes the colour use can appear a little bit grainy on textures due to specific colours not being available in the pallet.

SNES - The colour use in this version is similar to that of the Mega Drive port, though as mentioned earlier this version doesn't need to use dithering due to the larger on-screen colour limit of the SNES hardware.

One other aspect worth mentioning is that some of the textures look better here than in the Mega Drive port (check the ground in the first screen shot), mainly due to the larger SNES colour pallet allowing the use of colours which blend better.

Amiga - Definitely the worst of the three in this aspect. A lot of the textures and enemy sprites seem to use less fitting, and fewer colours here and end up looking cruder (the Panthers and Hyena's both come off much worse here, and as can be seen in the first screen shot the rocks have more of a weird purple tint).

 
   
  Winner is: SNES  
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  Animation  
 

Mega Drive - Very impressive animation. The game uses the animation technique pioneered in the Mega Drive version of Aladdin, which was pretty much the best videogaming animation technique of the time.

SNES - Seems to be mostly identical to the Mega Drive version. The only thing I noticed here was that the Giraffes seem to be animated a little worse when you land on them, but I think this is such a minor aspect in the game that I've decided not to hold it against this version.

Amiga - Very comparable to the console versions, it looks slightly worse but I'm not entirely sure if this has more to do with the slower movement in this version.

 
   
  Winner Is: Draw between Mega Drive and SNES  
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  Scrolling  
 

Mega Drive - Faultless scrolling with some very nice use of parallax on most of the levels.

SNES - The main scrolling is very similar to the Mega Drive version but its a little slower, taking longer to come to a stop.

In regards to parallax there's a few times where less, or slightly cut down parallax is used in comparison to the Mega Drive version (easily seen in "Can't wait to be king" and "Simba's Return").

Amiga - Very good scrolling, slightly better parallax than the SNES version.

 
   
  Winner Is: Mega Drive  
 
 
  Sound  
     
  Music  
 

Mega Drive - Its pretty good, but I don't feel that the Mega Drive chip is really that well suited to this type of music, the music is still melodic but can be a little bit lifeless at times in comparison to the SNES version.

SNES - The music in this version ranges from being roughly on par with the Mega Drive version to being far, far superior. Sometimes the music quality is so high that the sounds used manage to actually sound similar to real instruments.

Amiga - The music quality is pretty high and manages to be more natural sounding than the Mega Drive version, it does however sound a little more sparse at times though compared to SNES.

 
   
  Winner Is: SNES  
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  Sound FX  
 

Mega Drive - A very large amount of good quality sound effects, though the voice acting is on occasion a little scratchy.

SNES - Where sound effects are concerned there's not much between the two console versions, for the most part the sound effects are different, but neither is stand-out better than the other.

I did notice that this version seems to have fewer sounds effects (especially when collecting the bugs as here they all pretty much use the "cool" sound effect). On the other, more important side though the voice acting sounds much clearer.

Amiga - The sound effects here seem to be a mixture of some from the Mega Drive and some from the SNES. The sound is generally on par with the console versions, but the voice acting is not as clear as it is in the SNES port.

 
   
  Winner Is: SNES  
     
Gameplay

The Lion King is your general Disney-license hop n' bop platformer. The gameplay is mainly based around defeating enemies by jumping on them, and jumping over hazards. A few minor puzzling, swinging and character upgrade elements are thrown in for good measure, and there are a few levels which depart from the norm to give some variation (such as level four which has you running towards the screen dodging buffalo charging from behind). These extra elements help to keep the gameplay fresh and fun to play, though the game is often criticised for its high difficulty level.

Mega Drive - I feel that this version is the most fast and responsive out of the three versions, it has all the important elements intact, and also has the best judged difficulty curve (though its still often considered hard), its easier than the SNES version, but still retains all the levels and bonus stages (unlike the Amiga version).

SNES - For the most part this and the Mega Drive version play fairly similar to each other, but a few differences here and there cause this to be most certainly the hardest version of the game. My reasons for saying this are spread thinly across many different areas so I'll try to list some of the more noticeable ones.

The vultures here are much more aggressive and persistent, in the Mega Drive port when you get to a certain point the vultures will break off the attack and leave you alone whereas here they seem to follow you to the ends of the earth, and will end up in large groups if you do not make sure to kill them.

Simba doesn't seem to jump quite as high here, making some of the easier routes seemingly impossible to take (for instance at the hippo section of the second level you are forced to take the harder swinging route across their tails, whereas in the Mega Drive port you could jump up and climb onto the second level hippo immediately).

The final boss fight is also much harder as it requires quicker reactions due to the panting time being much shorter. Some other elements adding to the difficulty are differences to the swinging and grabbing mechanics (the Mega Drive version uses a much more automated system where you can pretty much just tap the jump button and Simba makes his way up on his own) and the bonus levels tend to be more difficult and seem to give out fewer continues.

Amiga - By far the worst problem with this version is the gameplay. Lamentably three whole stages have been cut out of this version "Can't Wait to be King", "Hakuna Matata" and "Simba's Return", not only this but all the bonus stages, and the health and roar power-up extenders have been removed.

The controls in this version do not work as well as in the console versions, using "up" for jump just doesn't cut it for the sections which require a lot of precision. Difficulty wise its hard to judge, I would say that the stages here are a little harder than in the other versions, but the missing levels make the game much shorter which tends to offset this.

Winner Is: Mega Drive
 
Presentation

Mega Drive, SNES - Between level scenes from the film which include voice acting.

Amiga - Unfortunately this is missing the between level transitions, as well as some of the ending scene.

Winner Is: Draw between Mega Drive and SNES

 

   
  Conclusion  
 

Firstly the missing levels alone are more than enough reason to remove the Amiga version from the running, half the game is missing. In itself the game is still alright, but the missing stages really are a fairly big issue, and with the other versions so readily available these days I see little reason to recommend this version.

Where the console versions are concerned I must admit that I was surprised by how close in quality the two games are, previously I had been led to believe that the SNES version was the far superior version of the game in every aspect, but this is simply not the case, and in reality this has actually been one of the hardest comparisons to judge.

Graphically its a toss up, the levels with tons of dithering tend to be better on the SNES ("Pride Rock" and especially "Hakuna Matata") but the "red" levels as I'll call them (Simba's Exile and especially "Be Prepared") look a little rushed by comparison. Another thing standing in the favour of the Mega Drive version's graphics is the extra parallax, which gives an edge to the Mega Drive on the more comparable levels ("Can't Wait to Be King" on the SNES looks close to identical to the Mega Drive port except with less parallax, giving its background more of a poster hanging in the background look).

On the gameplay side the Mega Drive version plays slightly better though, and this is the crux of my indecision, at what stage does presentation offset inferior gameplay? this is no huge difference we're talking about, the SNES game only plays slightly worse, but it looks and especially sounds noticeably better. In the end I have to make a decision, and under protest I'm giving the win to the SNES version, because I feel that the difference in gameplay is not big enough to offset what is, in my opinion the deciding factor of this comparison, the music. The music of the SNES version really adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game and helps to give the adventure more of an epic feel.

 
  Overall Winner Is: SNES  
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