Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | PC | PS4 | PS5 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | XSX | All

The Lion King (Genesis) artwork

The Lion King (Genesis) review

"Imagine being born a prince, knowing that one day you will have to lead a great kingdom forwards through the times. The responsibility is enormous. Such is the position that our young lion cub, Simba, finds himself in Disneyís The Lion King. But he couldnít really care less. Instead of building himself up to be a worthy successor to the throne, he yearns to roam carefree about the Pridelands day after day; he wants it all right now and he just canít wait to be king. Whi..."

Imagine being born a prince, knowing that one day you will have to lead a great kingdom forwards through the times. The responsibility is enormous. Such is the position that our young lion cub, Simba, finds himself in Disneyís The Lion King. But he couldnít really care less. Instead of building himself up to be a worthy successor to the throne, he yearns to roam carefree about the Pridelands day after day; he wants it all right now and he just canít wait to be king. While he is blissfully unaware of the duties expected of such noble royalty, behind the scenes, Simbaís spiteful uncle, Scar, decides that heís had enough of being shadow to the great king, Mufasa. He concocts a dastardly scheme to overthrow his brother, and as all evildoers do in the movies, he succeeds. And so Simba finds himself in a bit of a pickle. The real journey now begins as he seeks to find out who he really is, over a brief period spanning 10 short, but utterly delightful levels.

It starts. Full of youthful energy, Simba goes off on a journey of a lifetime. He begins by getting to grips with his feline tendencies in the homely Pridelands and its neighbouring regions. He doesnít yet have claws of fury, but he can get by the assorted beetles, lizards, hedgehogs, and creepy-crawlies easily enough through a combination of hissy, scratchy roars and good old-fashioned pouncing. Kids love to jump around the place too, and young Simba is no different. Heís an agile little beast and he can leap about as gracefully as the antelope that he loves to eat. There are plenty of platforms to test him, but his skills are enough to pass with flying colours. The environments he bounds around are just as brimming with said colours, imitating the animated film that weíve all seen (if not, where have you been?!) as best as humble 16-bit hardware can provide.

After a light-hearted appetizer, Simbaís hunger for adventure leads him to the dilapidated Elephant Graveyard, where vultures rule the roost and where he has his first encounter with the comical hyenas. Unlike in the film, thereís unfortunately nothing funny about them here; Shenzi, Banzai and Ed are nowhere to be found. All of the hyenas are generic clones of each other that do nothing except for licking their chops and jumping around like lunatics. Nevertheless, Simba is a mighty wimp, and with the bejesus in him already a mile away, he quickly scrams out of the place.

And then what do you know... he finds himself right in the middle of a wildebeest stampede! Fate is not kind to this young lion. This scene is one of the most memorable in the film, and as a parallel, it is also one of the most memorable in this game. Doing away with side-scrolling platforming temporarily, Simba is placed right in the middle of a pseudo-3D chase. Here the wildebeest approach from the back of the screen whilst rocks appear from the front, with our panicked tyke stuck in between. Itís a rush to play through this short sequence, but itís also a disappointment that the MIDI-ish tracks in place arenít powerful enough to capture the same intensity shown on the silver screen. On the positive side though, my only qualm with the music lies here; everywhere else in the game, the downgraded remixes are still absolutely beautiful renditions of the wonderful scores that Hans Zimmer and Elton John provided.

After the proverbial storm has settled, we are back to feel the love again with more liony platforming amidst dazzling colours as we approach a beautiful tropical paradise. In the film, this is where Simba meets the hilarious, nonsensical duo, Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. But in the game, the only time we see them is in 2 different mini-games that may be played in between the main levels: bug hunting as Timon and bug catching as Pumbaa. They arenít terribly exciting, despite the buggy-ness they allude to, and the potential that this comic pair had is sadly wasted here.

But back to the mane event. Just when life looks like itís going somewhere good, some Hakuna Matata la-de-la takes place and presto change-o, Simba now dons some big hair and a kingly beard - talk about your Hair-A-Gain! And with his claws ready for some ripping, he finally scratches his head enough to come up with a brain dead scheme to reclaim his kingdom; in the movies, apparently anything is possible. He sets off back home to reclaim what is rightfully his, revelling at the notion of bringing plenty of hyena scum into incurring his wrathful vengeance. Now this doesnít seem like a light-hearted platforming experience anymore...

And it isnít. Adulthood can be synonymous with 'boring', and when Simba grows old, this is the turn that the game also takes. The later half will see him pass through dense jungles and lava caves on the road to the borders of the Pridelands. He is no longer as athletic as he once was, and now most of time heís all about cat-fighting with jaguars and hyenas (he was really traumatised when he was young; still no reason to beat up on animals that donít attack unless you do). Be prepared to find yourself mashing on the one button a lot now. When he eventually makes it to his evil uncle Scar, an hour or so in real time would have passed on your side. The grand finale has got to be worth it though. However, itís still the same, mash, mash, bash, bash, bitter cat fight struggle ensuing meow! I wonít spoil the ending for you lest you actually havenít seen the film for yourself (who/what/where/when/why/how?!), but when all is said and done the circle of life is complete, make of it what you will.

While The Lion King movie is an enthralling ride from start to finish, The Lion King game declines as you progress further and further in. It tries to put in a lot of variety, but without a lot of content set in place, it turns out to be a mish-mash of ideas tossed around; first thereís some fun platforming, and then it looks like weíre going somewhere with the chase sequence, but then adult Simba disappoints us by providing a poor lionís beat Ďem up where only one button is required. To its credit it never does get boring, especially with the brilliant art and music (plus voice clips too) carried over from the film and tailor-suited for a capable 4th generation videogames console. So, short and sweet? Yes, but it should have been majestic and magnificent.

arkrex's avatar
Community review by arkrex (June 10, 2007)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by arkrex [+]
Dragon Ball: Origins (DS) artwork
Dragon Ball: Origins (DS)

For many of us, Dragonball Z is synonymous with "my first anime". Big muscle-bound men powering up to over nine-thousand and beyond, taking on aliens, androids and a fat pink blob... Like it or loathe it, Akira Toriyama's testosterone-fuelled series, the first mainstream anime dub, made anime cool.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP) artwork
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP)

Final Fantasy VII. The RPG that took the gaming world by storm. And in recent times, the most milked role-playing saga ever. The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII has been mildly amusing, to put it nicely: Advent Children was an eye-popping, brainless fight-a-thon; Dirge of Cerberus was a sim...
Devil May Cry 4 (PlayStation 3) artwork
Devil May Cry 4 (PlayStation 3)

I was one of many hardcore gamers eagerly anticipating Devil May Cry 4 - so much so that I even spoiled myself rotten by watching all the in-game cutscenes (from the earlier-released Japanese version) as they were put up on YouTube. I couldn't help myself. Every piece of information gathered got me more a...


If you enjoyed this The Lion King review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2021 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. The Lion King is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to The Lion King, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.