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'Disney Classic Games Collection' resurrects tough, 16-bit adaptations of classic films

The 1993 video game adaptation of "The Jungle Book" is one of the games included in "Disney Classic Games Collection." Photo courtesy Nighthawk Interactive.
Posted at 7:21 AM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 09:21:36-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In the 1990s, just about every popular movie had a slapdash video game adaptation. They would typically star the hero of the film, and you'd jump around like Mario and slaughter enemies based on characters from the film. It didn't make a heck of a lot of sense, but that's just the way it was. And we liked it.

Most of the movie tie-in games were forgettable, but there was something about Disney adaptations that separated them from the pack. Maybe it was the incongruous messaging, which added unnecessarily violent dimensions to otherwise innocent characters. Maybe it was the 16-bit character models and chiptune soundtracks that replicated the look and feel of Disney flicks in a disarmingly archaic way. Maybe it was the insane difficulty level that made it a badge of honor to brag that you beat one of the games to friends.

It was definitely all of the above.

"Disney Classics Games Collection" brings back those old games, and is a stiff reminder of just how brutally nasty they were. Unforgiving and designed with a cruel affinity to lure you into cheap deaths that would require copious backtracking, there is very little fun to be had in these games. Prepare to grit your teeth and have your eyes bulge out in agony. You know, just like you may have done back in the '90s.

The update to the 2019 collection adds "The Jungle Book" (1993) to "Aladdin" (1993) and "The Lion King" (1994). Multiple versions of each game are included, each delivering their own quirks and pleasures. A thoughtful touch allows you to adjust the aspect ratio and add a filter to make the games look just like they did on old-school CRT TVs.

Those who own the previous game can upgrade to this one for a $10 expansion fee. The new game on its own is $30 and available on Switch, Xbox One and PC. A PS4 version is slated to come out later.

A crucial addition is a rewind feature that lets you quickly undo any boneheaded mistakes you make without suffering the grisly death you have coming. Using the feature feels a bit cheap, but also gives you a sense of power and control against the devious original developers. Quick saves also prevent a ton of frustration, letting you pause your quest to come back later.

The game also includes a soundtrack mode that lets you listen to the 16-bit versions of tuns such as "A Whole New World."

All three games boast visual improvements and additional content, including the Super Nintendo version of "Aladdin."

Maybe, just maybe, with all the modern enhancements, you can return to your childhood and actually beat these games. It's never too late to brag to your classmates.

Publisher provided review code.

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