The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure Review
Without question one Disney's biggest animated movies was The Lion King. A story about a father played by James Earl Jones as Muffasa, and his young cub Simba. Simba is a young venturous lion-cub who looks up to his father and hopes to be the lion king as he is, Muffasa educates his son a lot and teaches him about the importance of being king. Muffasa is unfortunately killed in a stampede. Later on Simba's uncle Scar who pretty much hates his whole family plots to kill Simba, but the result was mixed as Simba runs away and makes new friends Timon and Pumba. I don't feel that I should continue any further, since I'm pretty sure that many of you reading this have seen the movie. A videogame of The Lion King was released on the 16-Bit consoles, while it wasn't bad, it just couldn't re-create the movie experience, so here comes in Activision and Paradox with their Lion King game mixing The Lion King and the video-only release of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride.
I have to give it to Paradox, they have created a very good game engine that captures the look of the Lion King. Character detail is solid to say the least, all on-screen characters look great, whether it's an enemy such as Scar or Simba himself, either way you look at it, it shows that Paradox spent time on making the characters look great. The exploration is done through third person view on a limited 3D field (think Crash Bandicoot), and at times there are some side-scrolling aspects to it all. The environments are bright, they are filled with backgrounds that stay true to the movie and the overall look shines. Although I have a gripe, even though everything looks great, the visuals are too simplistic, don't get me wrong they look very nice, but it's obvious that this isn't exactly what we are used to seeing in adventure games on the PSOne. The visual package is a good, you've got bright and vivid environments, mixed with very detailed character models.
This Disney game is not just based on the first Lion King movie, instead Paradox blended action from The Lion King and The Lion King II: Simba's Pride all in ten different stages based on sequences from both Lion King movies. Speaking of sequences The Lion King features nearly 18 minutes of it taken straight out of both Lion King and Simba's Pride, all of the sequences will be intros and endings to a stage. The gameplay takes you through ten key events from both movies, and sets you as Simba as you make your way through battling enemies, running away from rhinos, jumping over cliffs, and fighting off bosses such as Scar. The game is obviously aimed at children like all other Disney games are, and this title is lacking on challenge, the action is very linear and you will never ponder where to go next, since North will almost always be the way. During a level you will have to collect 100 points in each stage in order to proceed, although here is the perfect reason why there is no challenge in the game, there are nearly 500 points in each stage, so completing a level really takes no effort. Spelling out the word S-I-M-B-A in every stage is also something that should be done for a life-up, and collecting other items throughout the stage will help you open up bonus stages, such as a matching game, bug squishing game and more. What can I say, I've watched The Lion King dozens of times, and it is honestly one of my all time favorite movies, I would recommend this game to children and big fans of the movie, but maybe a rental to casual gamers.
Since the scenes were taken straight out of the movie the voice acting is done by the real Disney crew and no substitutes were put in to fill for parts, so it would be only right of me to reward the sound area a higher score. Although the voice acting is top-notch, I wish the background music was better and that there were more environmental sounds throughout a stage that really brought out the setting, and a few tracks from The Lion King soundtrack would have been nice, but you can't have it all know can you. Marvelous voice acting taken straight out of the movie earns the sound major points, but average environmental audio brings the score down to an 8.0.
Well the controls are good and all but sadly it may be a bit hard to make certain jumps, and that could become quite annoying and discouraging especially to a child. Other than that the controls suffer from the lack of analog sensitivity and any real innovation or something unique that makes the controls stand out. Maneuvering is a snap, but once again I'll tell you that you will come through those times where making a jump can get quite annoying. The Dual Shock is decent to say the least, but I wish that there was more. The controls take time to get used to and the jumps can get a bit annoying, for a children's game Paradox should have sharpened up the controls a bit more.
Like many of the recent Disney games such as Donald Duck Goin' Quackers and The Emperor's New Groove (review of that tomorrow) The Lion King: Simba's Mighty Adventure is yet another good game for those Disney fans out there to purchase, and if you've got kids by all means give them The Lion King, it retails for $39.99, and should be available by the time you read this. With pretty and colorful visuals accompanied by clips from both Lion King films and enjoyable gameplay, The Lion King is a good effort by Paradox.