July 25, 2017
Lion King Game Review
Since The Lion King was the biggest movie of the 90s, it was only a matter of time before a video game would be released. And that’s exactly what Virgin Interactive did when it published the game in 1994. During this time, the company was pretty big in the gaming industry and released great games, especially with Disney licenses. In fact, Virgin Interactive served as inspiration for companies like Capcom and Sega Virgin. Moulded on the mega hit movie of the same name, the game was released for the Super NES and Genesis and was also ported to Nintendo, Master System, Amiga, Game Gear, Game Boy and PC.
Game Design and Graphics
Adapting a game after a massive success like The Lion Game was probably not the easiest of tasks and expectations were likely sky high to replicate the look and feel of the original movie. Developer Westwood Studios did a good job in exploring the atmosphere of the movie with its graphics and sound effects, providing a game that is as close to the movie as possible. While many gaming enthusiasts found the graphics, voices and sound effects excellent and on par with the movie, some noted that the gameplay was “too daunting for beginning players and too annoying for experienced ones”. That being said, many felt that despite this, the movie-quality graphics, animations and sound effects made the game worth playing.
The game was created by Westwood Studios Inc., a US based video game company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company was established in 1985, known back then as Westwood Associates, but was renamed to Westwood Studios when joining forces with Virgin Interactive 92. The company develops some of the best games, including those featuring great strategy, adventure and role-playing genres.
The game follows the plot of the movie, displaying Simba’s journey from cub to adult and, ultimately, the Lion King. Featured and important events are played out over 10 levels, so if you loved the movie you would find great ‘pride’ in playing this retro video game version. The game starts with young Simba who is still fairly weak and cannot adequately face his enemies. This means that his moves are limited at this stage, so expect many pounces, small roars to frighten little creatures and rolls. As Simba progresses through the African savannah, you will see the tone of the game changing. The bright tones of the Pridelands and Hakuna Matata shifts when entering the Elephant’s Graveyard, where hyenas and skulls are the order of the day. As an adult, Simba becomes powerful, with strong paws and sharp paws for extra damage. The rolling feature is terminated although there is the added option to throw enemies around.
Positive and Negative Impressions
Overall, the game is excellent and will impress all both new and experienced players. That being said, there are a few small issues that some players may find frustrating. Firstly, the game is more challenging than expected, which confuses the issue of what audience the game is targeting. The hit detection is also a bit off point, which can become a problem in the late portions of the game where hyenas and other animal attacks are frequently. The timing of jumps also leave little room for error, which will frustrate novice or young players, while some levels are challenging enough to bring an experienced player to tears, let alone the younger market. That being said, the game is a nice depiction of a movie that changed the face of animation in the 90s and, while challenging in some instances, is entertaining and one of Westwood Studios finest releases.