The Gratuitous Rainbow Spectrum

16-Bit Brawl: Aladdin Super NES vs. Aladdin Genesis

16-Bit Brawl: Aladdin Super NES vs. Aladdin Genesis

Kris Randazzo
8 minute read

Welcome to 16-Bit Brawl, a series where we pit two Sega Genesis and Super NES games against one another to see which one comes out on top. This time, we'll be comparing the SNES and Genesis versions of Aladdin. 

Aladdin Super NES Aladdin Genesis boxes

When talking about the 16-bit console wars, Aladdin eventually comes up. If you’re comparing the Super NES and the Sega Genesis, there are a lot of parallel games to pit against one another to determine which console reigned supreme. Games like Earthworm Jim, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, NHL 94, these were all ported to each system in extremely similar fashion. But while that can be fun, what we’re here to do is compare the games that showed up in completely different forms on both platforms. This is where a console’s true strengths can often manifest as these are the games built with that specific platform’s strengths in mind, and there’s no better example of this than Aladdin. 

Disney’s Aladdin was just about the most popular movie on the planet when it came out thanks to its gorgeous animation, memorable music, and unforgettable performance by the late Robin Williams as the Genie. Naturally, video game adaptations were inevitable, but instead of one company making a unified vision, both the Super NES and Sega Genesis got completely unique Aladdin games developed by different companies. Let’s take a look at the contenders. 

 Aladdin Genesis

Aladdin for Sega Genesis is the game that most people consider to be the superior one, and it’s not hard to see why. This game was famously developed by Virgin Interactive alongside actual Disney animators to bring an amazing sense of movement to the proceedings. The resulting game is a stunningly gorgeous Genesis platformer that features a fluidity rarely seen on 16-bit platforms outside of rotoscoping. It was released in November 1993 and was an instant hit for Sega, who published the game themselves, and used it in a ton of their marketing material. 

 Aladdin SNES 1

Aladdin for the Super NES is no slouch though, even though many consider it to be the inferior version. This probably has to do with the fact that far fewer people have actually played it since Nintendo’s version was nowhere near as popular, even though it was also released in November 1993. This one was developed by Capcom, who had a long history of making fantastic Disney-themed games, and while it was a pretty nice looking title, it didn’t have the prestige of working directly with Disney animators on its side. Still, it’s a well-loved classic, and has plenty of fans of its own. 

Now that we know what we’re comparing, let’s get down to business. 

Graphics (1 point)

This one seems cut and dry in favor of Aladdin for Sega Genesis, but it’s at the very least worth exploring a bit before we declare a winner. Aladdin for Super NES is a perfectly nice-looking game. It doesn't do anything special like Donkey Kong Country or Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, but it doesn't do anything wrong either. It animates well enough, and the characters all look like who they’re supposed to. It’s also got this wonderful version of Abu the monkey who actually follows you around for the whole game, which is a great touch. It’s got personality and that very distinct Capcom look, which is to say it’s pretty good overall. 

Aladdin SNES 2

But man, Aladdin for Sega Genesis just looks leagues better. Even with its lack of proper transparency effects, the enemies, backgrounds, and Aladdin himself all look excellent. Things explode with these super cool puffs of smoke, and it’s got an incredibly authentic look to it, which you’d expect since the movie animators were involved. The SNES game is perfectly serviceable, but when it comes to visuals, Aladdin for Sega Genesis clearly deserves the point. 

 Aladdin Genesis 2

Sega Genesis: 1

Super NES: 0

YPbPr Component Cable for Sega Genesis - HD Retrovision

YPbPr Component Cable for Sega Genesis - HD Retrovision


HD Retrovision Sega Genesis YPbPr Component Cable PLEASE NOTE: Adapters are needed if using this with a Model 1 Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, or Sony...… read more

Sound (1 point)

Now this is a tough category. I personally tend to generally lean in Nintendo’s favor when it comes to 16-bit sound, but in all honesty Capcom’s Aladdin doesn’t really knock it out of the park here. The songs are alright, but the instrumentation is just kind of weak. The Lion King for SNES has these amazing sounds ripped right from the movie’s soundtrack that really elevates the whole affair, but Aladdin doesn’t have that. Like its graphics, it’s fine, but nothing to write home about. 

Aladdin SNES 3

Meanwhile, the Sega Genesis doesn’t fare much better. I used to be of the mindset that the Genesis was rarely capable of producing excellent soundtracks, but I’ve since come around on that thanks to some truly fantastic stuff beyond the Sonic games. But Aladdin isn't one of them. Again, the songs from the movie are there and represented well enough except for the instrumentation. Except unlike the SNES’s weak, overly soft sounds, the Genesis ones sound… cheap? I don't know if that’s the right word, but they just come off as really hollow with a twinge of that Genesis “fart” soundfont that’s really easy to make sound awful. That’s not to say that this soundtrack is bad, it’s just unremarkable. This one’s a tie, so points for all. 

Sega Genesis: 2

Super NES:

Gameplay (2 points)

This category is worth 2 points because it’s honestly the most important. Graphics and sound don't mean much of the underlying game isn't any fun, and there isn’t a better situation to illustrate that point than with Aladdin. 

Aladdin for Sega Genesis may look spectacular, but in all my years I can honestly say that I’ve never had any actual fun playing the thing. Aladdin has a sword in this version, but combat is completely underwhelming. Nothing about the fighting in this game feels good at all. The platforming is super straight-forward too, but the hit detection is off throughout the whole thing, making even simple movements seem awkward. Aladdin does get to do some cool things, and there’s no denying how exhilarating it can be to do them in a game that looks this good, but on the whole it simply isn’t a very fun video game. 

Aladdin Genesis 3

Aladdin for Super NES though is a blast. This is an area where it having been developed by Capcom shines through, because those guys really know how to make an action platformer. Aladdin throws apples for offense instead of using a sword, but this game leans way more heavily into the acrobatics of the character than its Genesis counterpart’s more combat-heavy approach. This game is all about jumping on and swinging from things. Aladdin has a great sense of weight to him, and his controls feel tight, which is in stark contrast to the slippery, floaty experience on Genesis. It’s not a masterpiece like DuckTales for NES, but it’s an extremely solid, albeit rather short, experience that’s fun enough to return to from time to time. The points in this category go to Aladdin for Super Nintendo. 

Sega Genesis: 2

Super NES:

Legacy16 2.4GHz Wireless Controller - Retro-Bit

Legacy16 2.4GHz Wireless Controller - Retro-Bit


Retro-Bit®'s Platinum Series of controllers is dedicated to classic retro gaming and features ultimate versatility for any gaming genre. Modeled after the SNES® controller, The Legacy16...… read more

And there you have it, folks. We have a winner. With 3 points, Aladdin for Super NES comes out on top over Aladdin for Sega Genesis. Both have their positives, but at the end of the day, only one of these games is legitimately fun to play, and that’s Capcom’s SNES classic. There’s no denying the Sega Genesis game absolutely trounces the SNES here in terms of style, but with better gameplay and equally mediocre music, Nintendo comes out on top. 

The winner is Aladdin for Super NES. 

Aladdin SNES box

Well, what do you think? Have you played both versions and disagree that the SNES game is more fun? Do you think the Genesis soundtrack is amazing and I don’t know what I’m talking about? Let us know. No matter what, as long as you’re enjoying the game you’re playing, it doesn’t matter what we say. This is all in good fun, which is what video games should be in the first place. Now let’s go defeat Jafar and set that Genie free! 

« Back to Blog