Popeye in Agrabah? Aladdin Nintendo video game hack

Heather spotted an an article at FamiconWorld on hacking a pirate NES Aladdin game. The game origins on the Super Nintendo by Capcom in 1993 as the loved Disney’s Aladdin licensed by Nintendo. That same year the Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit system got an ugly port of the Sega Genesis hit game pirates felt they could do better and hacked the SNES game porting it to the NES.

Jedi QuestMaster (FamiconWorld staff) felt there was room for improvement by replacing Aladdin with Popeye changing the title (back?) to Popeye II: Travels in Persia.

15th Anniversary Article: Pirate Aladdin video games

15 years ago this month Walt Disney Studios released its 32th full-length animated classic Aladdin. In honor of this joyful month Streetrat celebrates 15 years of magic, action, humor and romance.

This is a follow up to the post Aladdin III I wrote in July 2006. On the black market pirate copies of both the Sega and Super Nintendo versions where and probably stil arel, sold under the name Aladdin 2 or as part of a double game cartridge with a pirated copy of The Lion King.

Aladdin: Pirate Copy

In YouTube’er CrashmanExe uploaded in-game footage from the Aladdin pirate game mentioned in the NES world article . Now that I’ve seen game footage I can give my opinion on the differences between the original SNES game and this pirate port for the NES.

Side-by-side Pirate NES and Official NES version
Side-by-side Pirate NES and Official NES version
It surprised me to see the NES could generate the visuals. The game was designed for his much more powerful big brother and the port was done illegally without permission or support from Virgin or Capcom. Virgin designed and published the game for the Sega console while Capcom was hired to make a SNES version.
Details like the cracked walls or the market stalls in the background the NES kept a simplified version with the craps but without the stalls. On the foreground the sheet Aladdin uses as parachute is left out as the lamp 1-Up bonus is without the lamp also Abu is nowhere to be seen at the level ending.

But the biggest differences are in the colors, the NES could only generate 48 colors with 25 at the same time while the Super Nes’ picture processing unit produced 15-bit (32768 colors).
The second difference lies in the animation, the NES obliviously didn’t have to hardware to re-produce the smooth animation the SNES Aladdin version was designed with. The visuals aren’t bad for a NES GameSo the port appears to have frames left out making the animation look and feel slower. Best noticeable in the slower scrolling screen as Aladdin get further in the game.
The sound is of course horrible. Whenever I played Al on the SNES I loved play with the music menu in the options menu and listen to instrumental versions of One Jump Ahead and Prince Ali. That because the powerful 32-bit sound chip Nintendo equipped the super console with while the old Nintendo Entertainment System was still stuck in the stone age. Even the Wikipedia article mentions its bad sound quality.

In-game screenshots of the official Aladdin NES clone with bad visuals.



In-game footage of the NES Pirate port
In-game footage of the NES Pirate port

Aladdin II

Before I discuss what’s wrong with this game I want you to play the embedded YouTube video first. If you haven’t run away screaming or killed yourself you may continue reading.

The pirate NES game Aladdin II is a very, very, super ultra bad hack of the original official Virgin Aladdin for the Nintendo, which in turn was a so-so port of the popular Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version. The visuals are awful, the backgrounds are simple rectangles spiced up with windows, the worst off is Aladdin who now looks like a generic Arabian with a blue pants and turban and red vest.
The worst off is the sound track, ignore the sound effects and listen to the background music. Does that sound like Alan Menken’s genius Prince Ali to you? I don’t think so.
Aladdin and Rasoul in Aladdin II

Aladdin III

While Aladdin II at least had tiny traces of the original console hit in it this waste of time and energy has nothing. It’s actually the unrelated to Disney’s Aladdin game Magic Carpet 1001 developed by Caltron. While it claims to an original side-scrolling shoot-em-up elements like the background, magic carpet have uncanny resembling with from Super Mario Bros. 2.
The thing is that on multi-games cartridges Disney Aladdin artwork is often used. Be it from the SNES, Sega or standard promo artwork for movie or series.

Pirated Super Nintendo Aladdin version

Sadly the official Super Nintendo Aladdin game by Capcom wasn’t save for pirates either. Snes Central has a short list of pirate multi-game cartridges. Oddly enough the pirates used the wrong artwork to stick on their ‘merchandise’. All carts have Genesis artwork unless they ported the Sega game over but without in-game shots it’s impossible to be sure.