Review: The Lion King (Sega Genesis)

In this review, we sing Hakuna Matata in the Sega Genesis game The Lion King. We find out if this adventure game is worth playing.

This game was released in 1994. We previously played the Game Boy version and didn’t like it. We decided to try this version because we heard a lot about it.

Since this game has so many similarities to the Game Boy version, we decided to focus on the differences between the two versions.

One major difference is the better capabilities of the system. As a result, levels are much more manageable. There are fewer areas that require very specific moves for Simba to get past. This includes rock configurations in the first level not requiring a running jump just to squeeze through.

Another superior element is the controls. The Game Boy version is extremely clunky and, thus, makes the game hardly playable. In this version, the controls are just somewhat buggy. Sometimes, there is a slight delay that may cost you a life or a little health here and there. While it isn’t perfect, it is superior to the Game Boy version.

A problem that still persists is the game difficulty. The game starts off as challenging and only grows harder. Some areas require memorization of levels like the rock platforms in the lava areas. Another particularly annoying part is the bone yard ledges that you must navigate. While not a huge deal in some areas, the inclusion of acidic geysers means you need to execute precise timing on the jumps that compensates for the slight lag in the controls. The log waterfall is also particularly irritating. These are just a few examples of where this game is irritatingly difficult.

Considering I’ve heard so many great things about this game, this game leaves me a little disappointed. While some may feel great about playing a game featuring Disney characters, this game is far from perfect. While there are many ways this game is superior to the Game Boy version, this game still has its flaws. This includes the somewhat laggy controls and annoyingly steep difficulty. It’s a much weaker game than what I had been led to believe.

The graphics is arguably the strongest part of the game. This game successfully takes scenes from the movie and adapts it very well in the video game environment. Animation sequences and backgrounds are incredibly well done. Foreground graphics also gives this game very well done graphical depth. The cut-scenes are also especially well done. The problem I have with the graphics is that colour contrasting issues means things like enemies and some platforms are almost completely cloaked into the background amidst the action. Still, it is a great overall effort.

The audio is pretty good in this game. The music is half decent. Sound effects are also pretty decent. I would normally leave the audio review portion at that, but I must say, the voice acting in the cut-scenes is a shining spot for me. With the addition of the crisp audio quality of the voices, you can almost forget that you are actually playing a video game from time to time. So, because of the voice acting, I will be bumping up the score here.

Overall, if you are in for the graphical and audio experience of a game, this game will work very well for you. The graphics are great and the voice acting is impressive for a game of its time. If you are more focused on the actual gameplay, this game is a bit of a let down. While superior to the Game Boy version in numerous ways, issues still exist with the lag in the controls and the overall steep and annoying difficulty. For a Genesis game, it is a pretty decent game. In the much larger grand scheme of things, this is little more than an OK game. Considering the hype I’ve heard about this game, it’s a bit disappointing.

Furthest point in game: Ran out of lives on the Simba’s Return level.

General gameplay: 15/25
Replay value: 6/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 66%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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