After playing this game for a while one thought kept popping into my head. “Well what would you expect from a game called Lion King.” This is not to say that I felt that the game was bad or unenjoyable but rather that The Lion King like so many Disney movies was very predictable. But hey, I can live with predictability as long as the game is solid and I have to say that this one is.
The Lion King is one of Disney’s best franchises. They have got 2 movies, a Broadway play (which is excellent I must say) and a whole slew of crap that you have to have. The console versions were released in the Super Nintendo/Genesis era to give you and idea about how dated this is. Yet, I was still drawn in to the luscious landscapes and the idea of being a rebellious lion.
The game takes its cue off of the Super Nintendo version, which is loosely based on the original movie. You start out as young Simba and your first task is to pounce on Zazoo the squawking assistant to the king. Then after a venture to the elephant burial grounds and a massive stampede you father is killed and you are to blame. You leave home, grow up, come back, and kick butt. As you venture around the jungle levels you will see some familiar face as well as some bad guys. You can pounce or scratch the opposing animals or you can just pass them by, but be warned they will not be so friendly to you. On each level there are pieces of the Lion drawing that ran through the movie. You must pick up each of the pieces in order to proceed.
If that were the whole game I would have been sorely disappointed for then it would have been heaped in with all of the other mediocre platformers based on movies. Thankfully there was more. On the stampede level you have to run away from the stampede without getting trampled or tripping over any of the logs or rocks in your path. This breaks up the game nicely. Also the bosses on the levels are fun to fight though they are a bit easy.
Lastly, the mini-games. At first I was excited about this prospect, but after playing them I was a bit unfulfilled. The games feature Timon and Pumba who are absent from the regular game for the most part. There is a “bug tennis” game and Kaboom-like bug catching game and other games involving the eating of bugs. Though they were a bit fun the first time, none of them had any lasting appeal that made me want o play them by themselves over and over. Part of the problem was the poor control that they exhibited. In a fast paced game on a Gameboy control needs to be tight and responsive as well as have clear animations so that one can see what one is doing. This was the case for most of the game but in the mini-games it was absent.
This is definitely not a game to buy if you want a serious challenge. Being that it is made for kids it is dumbed down so that a kid will not get bored of it because he can’t get past a certain point. It’s a Disney game for crying out loud--what did you expect. Still this does not mean that it can’t be enjoyable. The levels are all well designed and diverse. It has some nice artwork in the cut scenes. The sound and music are decent all the way through. So what if you finish the game in one sitting. Play it again. Do better this time. Master that one mini-game you are having trouble with. I definitely think that this is a game that you will pull out whenever you are bored and want to kill some time with your Gameboy. You can zip right through this game in a couple of hours, but they will be a couple of fun hours. The only drawback is that you go around singing “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” for the rest of the day.
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