Monday, January 12, 2015

The Lion King Video Game (Not The Fun Ones)

Does anybody else remember when The Lion King was released for the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo systems?  Remember the vividness of the graphics and how amazed we were at what they could do with 16-bit graphics?

Remember how they had a stage devoted to the wildebeest chase that was one of the few times a "the enemy is coming towards you" stage wasn't completely frustrating and managed to capture the intensity of the scene in the film?

No really, those were some seriously amazing graphics once.  No, really, they we- STOP LAUGHING.

(Ungrateful kids).

Anyway, I didn't own either one of those games.

I owned the version for the Game Boy.  I still do, actually.

For a good idea of how different the graphics were between the fancy versions and my version, let's just look at the title screen.

So yeah.

Here's something you probably already knew about video games.  The controls were nowhere near as crisp as they are now, and design didn't allow for a lot of things that you might consider "standard" now like "jumping backward."

Or "being able to grab a ledge without needing to stand in just the right place.

Classic games were also famously a case of "you will die a lot while you try to memorize where everything is and exactly when you should push buttons."  An attempt to run and jump from one ledge to another could easily end with you plummeting down to a lower stage and needing to climb back up because you didn't press the jump button at the exact right moment.

Control-wise, there are still (as always) two buttons.  One jumps, and the other roars, allowing you to startle enemies so that you can jump on their heads and kill them.  Enemies include creatures such as (I'm guessing, based on the terrible graphics) tiny weasels, porcupines, and hyenas.  When you're an adult, you also get giant gorillas that throw rocks at you, because we all remember that part of the film.

Seriously, what is that thing?  A weasel?  A skunk?  A headcrab from Half-Life that got lost?  All I know is that if it claws you four times (so much for respecting the son of the King Of The Pridelands) you die.

And I died a LOT playing this game.  This was the most common screen for me to see:

I don't think I ever got past the ... well, it was the stage after the stampede, which I will admit, wasn't bad.  The game couldn't do a "the enemies are charging at you" with such limited graphics, so instead it was a "top down" view of the canyon, with Simba running for his life (to the right, naturally, as that's the only direction characters could really go in those days.  You can move him up and down as thundering death hooves (a good name for a band) charge around you.

The music was cheesy (although each song from the movie was recognizable, albeit very tinny), the graphics were bad, and the controls were essentially "luck" over "skill" unless you were willing to play the same location over and over again until you memorized everything.

Which, granted, I did for a lot of games, but not this one.  It was just too sloppy.

It wasn't as bad as the Ren and Stimpy game I talked about some time ago, but it was no World Cup, either.

If you don't believe me, go ahead.  Watch it get played.

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