Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for October 30th, 2019. It’s the night before Halloween, and the scariest thing around here is how many reviews I need to get done. I’ve made a good chip at the old stone today, with reviews of Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD. We also take a look at today’s new releases, a quick bit of news, and a list of sales that could best be described as “Capcom Plus A Whole Lotta Garbo”. Let’s check it out!
The Next ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Event Celebrates Anime Guys With Swords
Well okay, not just guys. There are some ladies as well. Anyway, it’s Wednesday and that means we’ve got the info on the next weekend Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event. This time it’s a Spirit Board event where you’ll see spirits of characters who use swords appear more often. Defeat them and you’ll earn some extra gold for your coffers. I love that Alucard is front and center here. Like, Konami has no Castlevania for Halloween this year, so please play Smash and squint a little.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King ($29.99)
This year saw Disney revive both Aladdin and The Lion King in theaters to great success, so if ever there were a time to bring back some of its most beloved titles from the 16-bit era, now is it. Disney’s Aladdin, originally developed for the SEGA Genesis by Virgin Interactive and published by SEGA itself, was one of the best-selling games of its time. Its stunning graphics and excellent soundtrack made it a stand-out title for any Genesis owner and it is widely considered one of the best games based on a Disney film ever made. The team behind it would go on to further successes like Earthworm Jim and MDK, but this was their first mega-level hit. The Lion King is also included in this package.
Okay, that’s kind of mean. Look, the video game based on The Lion King may not have sold as well as Aladdin, nor did it earn the same kind of critical praise or attention from the masses. But it did sell quite well on its own merits and it was reasonably well-regarded in its time. At the same time, I don’t think a lot of people were really pining for a re-release of it, either. It’s here. It’s fine. It’s not Aladdin, but it’s something to play after you wear yourself out on Aladdin. And it goes a little way towards justifying the somewhat high price tag this set carries, which is really the main caveat of the whole enterprise.
This is, in essence, a retro compilation. But it’s not a very big one by any means. Developer Digital Eclipse and publishers Nighthawk Interactive and Disney have done their best to pad out the package by including a number of variants of each game, but I don’t think it’s controversial to say that they’re by and large redundant in any context save historical or archival. Genesis Aladdin and your 16-bit The Lion King of choice. That’s what you’re going to be playing here outside of a few pokes around for curiosity’s sake. Is that worth thirty dollars? I suppose it depends on how much you love these games or how far your interest in gaming history goes.
Just to cover all of the bases, here is exactly what you can expect to find in here. First up, Aladdin games. You get the original Genesis version of Aladdin along with a heretofore unreleased Demo version, the Japanese version, and a special Final Cut that incorporates some bug fixes and improvements made with the original team’s input. That last one is the one you want to be playing. You also get the Game Boy version in both black-and-white and colorized forms. You… probably won’t be spending much time with it, but it’s an interesting inclusion, I guess. What you will NOT find in here: Capcom’s Super NES version of Aladdin, the Game Gear and Master System versions, and any other Aladdin you might ask about.
As for The Lion King, it’s a less impressive list. You get the Super NES and Genesis versions, a Japanese Super Famicom version, and the Game Boy version in both black-and-white and colorized variants. No unreleased Demo version here, nor is there a Final Cut of this one as apparently the original development team wasn’t available to the extent needed for such a thing. You don’t get the Game Gear version, which is a shame as it was rather good. Indeed, you get less of The Lion King all-around when compared to Aladdin, but I suppose that’s its place in the scheme of things. The developer behind the original version of this game was Westwood Studios of Command and Conquer fame, who would scant years later end up being devoured by Electronic Arts and shuttered, as is the fate of all good American game developers.
One place where the games do have parity is in the available options. Cheats a-plenty, including a very handy rewind feature that allows you to easily undo some of the nonsense endemic to Virgin’s Disney titles. You can skip around to whatever level you’d like, turn on invincibility, and all of that. It can’t help you with clearing that insufferable second level of The Lion King, but hey, at least you can skip it. You can save your state in each game, and that nifty little feature from the SNK collection by Digital Eclipse that allows you to watch a playthrough of the game and jump in whenever you like is here as well. Visual options abound. Button remapping? You bet. Everything you could really want, outside of perhaps some extra save state slots. This is easily the best way to play either of these games, and that’s awesome.
Also awesome is each game’s Museum feature. Here you can look through all sorts of goodies connected to the games, including archival footage of developers and announcements of the games, production art, and more. The Aladdin side of this is particularly outstanding as it includes new interviews with the team members. At least as far as I’m concerned, this content alone is worth the price of admission, but I’m well-aware I’m strange that way. There’s also a music player for each game that allows you to listen to their soundtracks. Both have some great tunes, so it’s a nice option even if it is quite expected.
As for the games themselves, it’s hard to say how well they’ll go over with anyone not already well-versed with the era. They both still look and sound great, to be sure, but that pizzazz doesn’t go as far today as it did back then. And all of the frustrating level design, collision detection issues, and annoying boss fights are just as bad now as ever. The extras that Digital Eclipse included certainly help make these games more accessible than they used to be, but unless you already have an affinity for the games or the era in general, I’m not sure if it’s enough. Aladdin is easily the better game of the two, especially with the Final Cut making some behind-the-scenes improvements to the playability. As for The Lion King, well… it’s too bad the original team wasn’t available because this game needed fixes more than Aladdin did, to say the least.
I don’t know. This feels like a release whose audience doesn’t need to be told whether it’s worth it or not. Did you like these games back then? Failing that, do you enjoy 16-bit platformers in general? And if not either of those, are you a nerd for gaming history stuff? If you’ve got an affirmative answer for any or all of those questions, you’re probably going to get your money’s worth here. The games have been handled amazingly well and the package is stuffed full of extras to make up for the small number of included games. But if you answered no to all of those previous questions, I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of value out of Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King. That’s not a knock on the effort put into this particular release as it’s quite stellar, but rather the effects of the grim march of time on a pair of games that were very much of their era.
SwitchArcade Score: 4/5
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD ($39.99)
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is an excellent remake of a Super Monkey Ball game from the past. It’s just, perhaps, not the Super Monkey Ball game that a lot of people would have liked to have seen receive an excellent remake. The original version of the game released on the Nintendo Wii when the system launched, and while it was enjoyable enough, it also served as an early example of many of the things that would plague that system throughout its life. The motion controls just weren’t up to the tasks demanded of them, making the game rather bothersome to play. It put a lot of focus on a massive assortment of mini-games, most of which weren’t very fun. Huge chunks of the game felt like tech demos rather than something from a finished release.
The game sold amazingly well in spite of the cool reception, but it ended up being something of an end to a particular era anyway. The team behind Super Monkey Ball had a new hit on its hands, one that would occupy most of its attention for the next decade and a half. The games were handed off to another team at SEGA while the original group capitalized on their white-hot Yakuza series, and Super Monkey Ball entered into the same sort of living dead state that Pac-Man has been living in for the last few decades. Strangely enough, this remake represents the original team coming back to the series it created to take another kick at the can. Yes, this is made by the Yakuza team at SEGA. No, we don’t get Majima in a little plastic ball as a secret character, but we do get Sonic the Hedgehog.
That such a busy and important team would come back for this game is the first tip of the hand as to what this “HD” version really is. This is no mere remaster. The original game’s content has been mined, refined, and curated to create what could best be described as the ultimate Banana Blitz. The best Banana Blitz you could make without tossing the whole tub of water out. Even the mini-games have been dramatically culled, with the remaining ones given some extra attention to give them extra value. The motion control gimmick, seemingly Banana Blitz‘s raison d’etre, has been fully stripped out. You don’t even have the option of using motion controls here, even where it would make sense. And with that comes some changes to the core levels, because using the stick to guide your monkey around is frankly about a million times easier than tilting a Wii Remote.
So how good is the ultimate version of Banana Blitz? Eh. It’s alright. It has a lot of the same frantic charm that made the first two games into cult hits, forcing you to go fast when you absolutely do not want to go fast, daring you to take risks that you dare not take, and rewarding you just enough for such stupidity that it’s hard to put the thing down until you’ve cleared it. Even with the adjustments made, the levels are a lot easier than what you would find in the older titles, which makes this a more accessible game if nothing else. The bosses are still massive speed bumps that aren’t really much fun at all. While I can clearly see the effort put into the 10 included mini-games, most of them aren’t very good either. Those core levels are certainly good enough to fill the belly of a hungry Monkey Ball fan, but little more than that.
Still, nobody has properly imitated this series and SEGA itself hasn’t done as much as it could have with it in the last dozen years, so I rather enjoyed Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD anyway. It’s the same old stuff as the first two games but not quite as good, and that’s still more than enough for me to be satisfied. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder in some cases. And it may well be that way for you, too. I don’t see this kicking off a big revival for the brand, and that’s a shame I guess, but if you’re just looking to scratch the itch I think this game does that well enough.
SwitchArcade Score: 3.5/5
Williams Pinball: Universal Monsters Pack ($9.99)
This timely add-on pack for Pinball FX3 adds two more Williams tables to the line-up. Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1992 table designed by John Trudeau that is perhaps best remembered for its use of a hologram on the play field. Monster Bash is a comedic 1998 table designed by George Gomez that sees an assortment of Universal Monsters putting together a band. They’re fun tables, and Zen has done its usual fine job with them, offering both realistic re-creations and enhanced versions with additional animations and such. Perhaps the most notable point of this pack? These are the first Williams tables released by Zen that required an additional license. This gives me hope, however faint it may be, that we might see stuff like Addams Family and Star Trek: The Next Generation make it into Pinball FX3 one day.
This is a decent if not spectacular tribute to the sorts of games that Julian Gollop became famous for. If you’re in North America, that means XCOM. If you’re in Europe, Laser Squad is probably the better reference point. Because you really shouldn’t expect anything so complicated as XCOM out of Spaceland. This is a relatively straightforward take on the turn-based strategy genre, and for as much as it doesn’t have any major failings, it also doesn’t really have any major stand-out aspects either. Stages are very linear, tactical options are few, and it’s all very repetitive as a result.
At first, I was thinking that Capcom was going for a Halloween sale here. I mean, maybe they are. But Monster Hunter and Dragon’s Dogma don’t exactly fit that theme even if we make a stretch for Devil May Cry and Onimusha. Oh well, not like it matters. We’ve also got a few sales on some new and yet-to-be-released games, and then a big list of absolute trash that isn’t worth the half-cup of joe it’s selling for. Oh, and Nekopara. All the kitty girls are on sale. Probably tons more sales to come over the next couple of days, but before that, make sure you check out that outbox. WB’s sales are ending, along with a few other notables.
New Games on Sale
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen ($22.49 from $29.99 until 11/5)
Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate ($24.99 from $49.99 until 11/5)
Resident Evil ($19.99 from $29.99 until 11/5)
Resident Evil 0 ($19.99 from $29.99 until 11/5)
Resident Evil 4 ($19.99 from $29.99 until 11/5)
Resident Evil Revelations ($13.99 from $19.99 until 11/5)
Resident Evil Revelations 2 ($13.99 from $19.99 until 11/5)
Devil May Cry ($14.99 from $19.99 until 11/5)
Onimusha: Warlords ($11.99 from $19.99 until 11/5)
Headsnatchers ($4.99 from $14.99 until 11/14)
Construction Simulator 2 US ($17.99 from $19.99 until 11/6)
Polyroll ($8.99 from $9.99 until 11/5)
Tinboy ($0.59 from $1.99 until 11/14)
Forklift – The Simulation ($7.49 from $9.99 until 11/5)
Nekopara Vol.1 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Nekopara Vol.2 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 11/4)
Nekopara Vol.3 ($11.99 from $14.99 until 11/4)
ESport Manager ($0.79 from $7.99 until 11/12)
Garage Mechanic Simulator ($0.69 from $6.99 until 11/12)
Bus Fix 2019 ($0.59 from $5.99 until 11/12)
Robot Squad Simulator ($1.49 from $14.99 until 11/12)
Selma and the Wisp ($0.99 from $9.99 until 11/12)
Guess the Word ($0.18 from $1.80 until 11/12)
Avenger Bird ($0.23 from $2.30 until 11/12)
GoFishing 3D ($1.49 from $14.99 until 11/12)
Chicken Rider ($0.39 from $3.99 until 11/12)
Car Trader ($0.39 from $3.99 until 11/12)
Car Mechanic Manager ($0.39 from $3.99 until 11/12)
Gym Hero – Idle Fitness Tycoon ($0.22 from $2.22 until 11/12)
Hotel Dracula ($0.56 from $5.60 until 11/12)
Theatre Tales ($0.14 from $1.49 until 11/12)
Godly Corp ($0.79 from $7.99 until 11/12)
Darkest Hunter ($0.53 from $5.30 until 11/12)
Little Shopping ($0.14 from $1.49 until 11/12)
I Wanna Fly ($0.24 from $2.40 until 11/12)
Pet Care ($0.14 from $1.49 until 11/12)
Bouncy Bob ($0.10 from $1.00 until 11/12)
Beyond Enemy Lines: Covert Operations ($10.49 from $13.99 until 11/5)
Pato Box ($8.99 from $14.99 until 11/2)
Pinstripe ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/11)
A Case of Distrust ($4.49 from $14.99 until 11/11)
Lifeless Planet: Premiere ($7.99 from $19.99 until 11/11)
Sales Ending Tomorrow, Thursday, October 31st
10 Second Run Returns ($4.49 from $4.99 until 10/31)
3D Billiards – Pool & Snooker ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
3D MiniGolf ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.1 ($3.89 from $5.99 until 10/31)
Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.2 ($4.54 from $6.99 until 10/31)
Bleep Bloop ($2.59 from $3.99 until 10/31)
Cars 3: Driven to Win ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Chicken Assassin: Reloaded ($5.19 from $7.99 until 10/31)
Degrees of Separation ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Desert Child ($7.79 from $11.99 until 10/31)
Desktop Soccer ($5.68 from $7.11 until 10/31)
Dracula’s Legacy ($15.99 from $19.99 unti 10/31)
Dream Alone ($0.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Eternum Ex ($8.44 from $12.99 until 10/31)
Everdark Tower ($2.99 from $4.99 until 10/31)
Exorder ($1.29 from $12.99 until 10/31)
Fight of Gods ($10.39 from $12.99 until 10/31)
Figment ($9.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Fobia ($6.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Ghost 1.0 ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Gleaner Heights ($8.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Headspun ($9.09 from $12.99 until 10/31)
HexaGravity ($0.99 from $1.99 until 10/31)
Island Fight Simulator ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Joe Jump Impossible Quest ($0.99 from $2.99 until 10/31)
Kona ($5.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
LEGO City Undercover ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
LEGO DC Super-Villains ($29.99 from $59.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Harry Potter Collection ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Ninjago Movie Video Game ($24.99 from $49.99 until 10/31)
LEGO The Incredibles ($29.99 from $59.99 until 10/31)
LEGO Worlds ($14.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
Legrand Legacy: Tale of the Fatebounds ($13.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Lost Castle ($7.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Machinarium ($4.99 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Mahjong Deluxe 3 ($15.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Manticore – Galaxy on Fire ($7.99 from $19.99 until 10/31)
Mom Hid My Game! ($3.49 from $4.99 until 10/31)
Monster Puzzle ($1.99 from $4.99 until 10/31)
Mortal Kombat 11 ($35.99 from $59.99 until 10/31)
Our Flick Erasers ($10.36 from $12.96 until 10/31)
Quest of Dungeons ($2.69 from $8.99 until 10/31)
Redeemer: Enhanced ($20.99 from $29.99 until 10/31)
Run the Fan ($2.39 from $3.99 until 10/31)
Safari Pinball ($1.97 from $2.99 until 10/31)
Saints Row: The Third ($23.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Scribblenauts Mega Pack ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Scribblenauts: Showdown ($15.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis ($10.49 from $14.99 until 10/31)
Secret Files: Tunguska ($7.49 from $14.99 until 10/31)
Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption ($11.39 from $18.99 until 10/31)
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered ($17.49 from $34.99 until 10/31)
Summer Sports Games ($19.99 from $24.99 until 10/31)
The Darkside Detective ($9.09 from $12.99 until 10/31)
The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame ($19.99 from $39.99 until 10/31)
The Office Quest ($2.99 from $11.99 until 10/31)
Voxel Shot ($5.60 from $8.00 until 10/31)
Way of the Passive Fist ($3.74 from $14.99 until 10/31)
Whispering Willows ($6.49 from $9.99 until 10/31)
Yuri ($9.79 from $13.99 until 10/31)
That’s all for today, friends. Tomorrow will see more than ten new releases, including of course Luigi’s Mansion 3. There should also be some new sales to check out, and if any particularly pressing news comes around we’ll cover that as well. Reviews? Well, stranger things have happened. I hope you all have a great Wednesday, and as always, thanks for reading!