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Video Game / The Lion King

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A Platform Game based on Disney's The Lion King, developed by Westwood Studios and released by Virgin Interactive in 1994. The game has ten levels loosely following the plot (and the soundtrack) of the movie, the first six with Simba as a cub and the other four with the adult Simba.

The game appeared on a variety of platforms, including both the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; unlike with Aladdin, the two rival 16-bit consoles got what was essentially the same game, and telling which version was better could be a very close call. Other versions tended to leave stages out. Interestingly enough, this game received a PAL-exclusive port for the Nintendo Entertainment System of all platforms in 1995, with this port being the final game officially licensed and released for the system.

On October 29, 2019, Nighthawk Interactive and Digital Eclipse re-released the SNES, Genesis, and Game Boynote  versions of the game alongside Aladdin (the Genesis and Game Boynote  versions) as part of an HD compilation called Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and the Lion King for Microsoft Windows (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Notably, this was released the same year as two widely successful live-action remakes of both films. Later, on September 23, 2021, Nighthawk Interactive announced that they would be releasing another compilation called Disney Classic Games Collection: Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book, which includes all the aforementioned games, as well as Aladdin (the SNES Version), and the SNES, Sega Genesis, and Game Boynote  versions of the The Jungle Book video game. (The initial compilation release will also have DLC adding The Jungle Book and Capcom's Aladdin.) This compilation was released on the PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Windows on November 23, 2021.

Tropes occurring in the game:

  • Acrophobic Bird: Zigzagged with the vultures in "Elephant Graveyard", which come in two variations: those that only walk back and forth on the ground, never taking flight (unless damaged on harder difficulties), and those that do fly.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Of the main cast, Nala is nowhere to be found in the game. Oddly her and Simba's romantic song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is still used in the end credits. note 
    • Even though Timon and Pumbaa appear, Zazu doesn't show up at all.
    • While there are generic hyena mooks as enemies in the game, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed do not actually appear. Banzai only gets his "If you ever come back, we'll kill ya" line in a cutscene.
  • A.I. Roulette: The hyenas in the Master System and Game Gear versions of the game, as well as prototypes of the 16-bit versions. This can make them rather difficult to kill, since their random behavior can cause them not to become vulnerable for long periods of time.
  • Ambiguous Species: The enemy cats in the adult Simba levels. They are based on the cheetah from the beginning of the film, and the manual refers to them as cheetahs, but they are in a jungle instead of the savanna, are not shown to be particularly fast, and due to the color palette of the level they are first introduced in (Simba's Destiny) they are pale to the point of resembling snow leopards. This causes many players to be confused as to whether these enemies are cheetahs or not.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Played with; the American and Japanese cover art use the same illustration of Adult Simba glaring angrily at Scar, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, who all laugh wickedly at him. It's the European cover art that's Lighter and Softer than its American and Japanese counterparts, as it depicts silhouettes of the film's characters in front of the rising sun.
  • Animal Stampede: "The Stampede", in which Simba has to dodge the wildebeests and the rocks on the floor.
  • Antepiece:
    • "Can't Wait to be King" has two ostrich riding segments. The first time, arrows will appear shortly before an obstacle to indicate whether to duck, jump or double jump, but there are no arrows to guide you the second time.
    • "The Elephant Graveyard" has three segments where Simba must climb upward by jumping back and forth between ledges jutting out of the wall. There's no pressure the first time. The second time, however, a bottomless pit awaits you if you fall. The third time, you're being chased by geyser eruptions that will spell instant death if you don't haul it.
  • Bonus Stage: Two types, featuring Timon, Pumbaa and bugs to collect.
    • In Bug Toss, the player controls Pumbaa and moves left and right to catch bugs being thrown by Timon from a higher tree branch. If the player can last long enough, he might throw them an extra life or continue, but the stage instantly ends if the player accidentally catches a black widow, or if they drop any other bug.
    • In Bug Hunt, the player controls Timon and explores a small platforming stage while collecting as many bugs as possible. Collecting enough will grant the player extra lives and continues. The stage ends when the timer runs out, but can also end early if Timon grabs a black widow.
  • Bottomless Pits: There's a lot of these.
  • Cheat Code: There is a code that lets you play the entire game upside down. Explained around 14:40. Inputting "B-A-R-R-Y" will also bring you to a secret level select menu and allow you to toggle invincibility on/off.
  • Collision Damage
  • Convection, Schmonvection: “Be Prepared” has Simba surfing on a stalactite across a lava river.
  • Copy Protection:
    • The DOS port will ask for a random word on a random page of the manual each time it's run.
    • Playing an improperly cracked copy of the game that you found on some abandonware sites? Either your roar meter won't refill or the health and roar meter upgrade bugs won't do a thing.
  • Darker and Edgier: Adult Simba's levels when compared to the rest of the game. They lack the lighthearted elements that were in young Simba's levels, and every single one of them involves a lot of Family-Unfriendly Violence where you maul large packs of enemies to death.
  • Degraded Boss: The boss of the first stage is a single hyena. In all later stages, hyenas appear as regular enemies, and often attack in packs.
  • Disney Villain Death: Invoked. In order to beat Scar in the final level, you have to toss him off of Pride Rock.
  • Double Jump: Used in the second level, during the two ostrich rides. The ostrich can jump, and while he is airborne Simba himself can likewise jump up from the ostrich's back.
  • Feathered Fiend: Besides hyenas, "The Elephant Graveyard" has vultures as enemies. Some stationed on the ground, others flying.
  • Game-Over Man:
    • The Game Over screen in the SNES and Genesis versions depicts Rafiki sadly mourning.
    • The 8-bit versions feature an ominous picture of Scar on the Game Over screen, with the caption "Long live the king"
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss:
    • The gorilla in "Hakuna Matata" gradually ascends to higher ground as Simba damages it. Once Simba deals enough damage, the gorilla climbs up to a platform that crumbles beneath it, causing it to fall.
    • The final showdown with Scar. He runs away after Simba deals enough damage the first two times, forcing Simba to chase him through Pride Rock in order to catch up with him and continue the fight.
  • Goomba Stomp: Young Simba's main method to defeat enemies is to pounce on top of them. Adult Simba's version is different; it knocks him back, but it allows to do multiple damage to its target.
  • Green Hill Zone: Pride Lands.
  • Heart Container: African red bugs.
  • Indy Escape: There are several instances where you have to escape a Rolling Boulder, and they can be oh so frustrating if you haven't mastered rolling by then.
  • Instantly Defeathered Bird: The vultures from Elephant Graveyard are rendered completely bald when Simba pounces on them enough times.
  • Jungle Japes: "Hakuna Matata."
  • Killer Gorilla: The boss in the "Hakuna Matata" level is a gorilla. He's a downplayed example: he's not actively attacking Simba, only throwing coconuts at Simba because apparently he wants to be left alone. It doesn't stop him from being the toughest boss in the game.
  • Lava Surfing: Done in the "Be Prepared" level by Simba on a stalactite.
  • Ledge Bats: These appear in the "Be Prepared" lava level: at one point you have to ride a river of lava on a floating rock. A very small rock. Any wrong move, and you fall in the lava and die. As you float further across the river, several bats awaken and try to hurt you. Being hurt pushes Simba back by about a meter, which is more than enough to make him fall into the lava.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Level 8, "Be Prepared". Somewhat odd as the level is not based on any scene in the actual movie, although it shares its name with one. Instead, it was apparently based on storyboards for a scene that was cut from the movie (wherein Simba dodged geysers on his way back to the Pridelands), due to the game being developed concurrently with the film. Regardless, it is a tough stage.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In the DOS version, the fountain of acid that Simba needs to escape (by climbing), seems to be bugged. It either doesn't rise, or rises too fast to escape even by frantically mashing the jump button.
  • Made of Explodium: Be careful when killing the rhino beetles or you could get hurt. Yes, the rhino beetles explode upon dying.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: "Simba's Return" is a maze full of passages. Every way is full of confrontation with hyenas and Simba may not enter another passage until he defeats all hyenas.
  • Minecart Madness: "Can't Wait To Be King" has segments where Simba has to ride atop ostriches while avoiding obstacles. Simba can't afford to hit anything during these segments, as crashing into anything results in a One-Hit Kill.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Why are there a bunch of cheetahs in the jungle?
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Much like the film, the somber "Simba's Exile" stage is followed by the lush bright jungle and music of "Hakuna Matata".
    • The Timon and Pumbaa bonus stages are much brighter and more upbeat than the darker, more violent Adult Simba stages they can potentially be played between.
  • Never Say "Die": Notably averted twice; this is even the case in the SNES port, in what is a very rare occurrence for a Nintendo game of that era:
    • A brief cutscene before "Simba's Exile" has Scar ordering Simba's death, like he does in the movie: "Kill him."
    • At the end of the same level, Banzai yells "If you ever come back, we'll kill ya!" in another cutscene.
  • Nintendo Hard: Infamously so, to the point where the creators of the game were delighted when two people in the audience had actually beaten the second level. Years later, one of the developers apologized on Reddit. On the bright side, pressing B+A+R+R+Y and 'Start' on the SNES controller (or Right+A+A+B and 'Start' on the Genesis controller) opens up a hidden menu that allows to toggle invulnerability on (as well as selecting the level).
  • Numerical Hard: Easy modes get more lives and continues. Hard modes give enemies more health. That pretty much covers it.
  • One-Hit Kill: Colliding with an obstacle during the ostrich riding section of "Can't Wait to Be King", touching the geysers in the Elephant Graveyard, or getting caught by a boulder during one of the game's many Indy Escape segments will drop Simba in a single blow. On the flip side, Adult Simba's flip attack serves as this for his enemies, which otherwise take several hits to finish off.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: Whenever Simba dies, the screen goes to black and he collapses as a really sad four-note stinger plays. While, as a cub, Simba does have a somewhat goofy expression on his face during this animation, that is surprisingly little help.
  • Poison Mushroom: Some of the bug powerups deal damage when collected. Bombardier beetles deal a small amount of damage, and black widow spiders deal a large amount. Collecting any of these bugs during a bonus stage will also end the stage immediately. Two others are mentioned in the manual, but never appear during actual gameplay outside of bonus stages.
  • Recurring Boss: Scar, who needs to be fought three times in the final level before you win the game.
  • Ring-Out Boss: When Scar is at the highest of the Pride Rock, the only way to defeat him is to throw him off the rock.
  • Shout-Out: The gorilla boss at the end of the "Hakuna Matata" level, climbing higher and higher while throwing coconuts Simba has to dodge, might be a Donkey Kong homage. A developer also said it was based on storyboarded character that was cut from the movie.
  • The Spiny: Porcupines cannot be pounced on unless Young Simba rolls into them or roars at them.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Some levels have water serving the purpose of Bottomless Pits.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: A way to defeat the gorilla of "Hakuna Matata" is to deflect his coconuts at him by rolling and then jumping over him. Alternatively, time your jump so that you land on top of the coconut (which will deflect you and cause no damage) and then go for the boss mid-jump, which won't hit you if you do that.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Adult Simba, with harder-hitting attacks and having a more effective roar.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • "The Stampede" is not the traditional platformer, but a race that requires avoiding wildebeests and uneven terrain.
    • The Adult Simba levels count to a lesser extent, as the combat mechanics change from mere pouncing to actual combat with his claws. The pounce still works, it just deals damage over time rather than outright killing the enemy like young Simba's pounce does. In addition, the roar has actual combat use, to stun enemies and make it easier to flip them.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: It's more than possible to accidentally softlock the game on the Can't Wait to be King level. If Simba doesn't land on the Ostrich pixel-perfectly, both he and the Ostrich run side-by-side together instead of the cub riding his feathery mount. It plays as hilariously as it looks until you reach the end of the riding section.
    • Likewise, after an ostrich tosses you to a giraffe, and you jump backwards you'll be stuck in that spot indefinitely. The ostrich even disappears! This glitch also reveals that the ostrich segments are culled in, and aren't actually part of the main level layout.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The Disney Classic Games collection refers to the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color as "Console S", "Console N", "Handheld", and "Handheld Color", respectively, due to the consoles' names being trademarks of their respective manufacturers.
  • Zerg Rush: Once Simba grows up, hyenas stop being much of a threat when fought singularly, considering they still tire out quickly. They make up for it by attacking you in numbers, especially in "Simba's Return."