The Lion King (NES)

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The Lion King
The Lion King - NES - UK.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1995
Developer: Dark Technologies
This page is for the licensed NES version. For the unlicensed version, see The Lion King: Super Game (NES). For other games in the series, see The Lion King.

The Lion King is an action-platformer developed by Enigma Variations (under their Dark Technologies name) and published by Virgin Games. It was only released in Europe, and the very last NES game to be licensed by Nintendo for games of all regions. The game was also released on the Game Boy, also by the same developer and publisher. The Game Boy version was developed first, and the NES version was directly converted from it, though some content is missing.

The player plays as Simba throughout the six stages of the game. Most of the levels are your typical sidescroller, but there is a level in which Simba must outrun the stampede, which is from a top-down perspective.

Many have heavily criticized the game for its poor controls, graphics, and audio. Some have even said the unlicensed version of the game by Super Game is better.


The Lion King - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

The Lion King - NES - The Pridelands.png

The Pridelands.

The Lion King - NES - Gameplay 1.png

The Bonus Game where you play as Pumba.

The Lion King - NES - The Stampede.png

The Stampede.

The Lion King - NES - Hakuna Matata.png

Hakuna Matata.

The Lion King - NES - Ending.png

The one-screen ending.


The Lion King only has eight songs (not much for an NES game in 1995), all of which are borrowed from the movie score by Elton John and Hans Zimmer. Five of the songs are Elton John songs and the other three are Hans Zimmer's, and were arranged by one of the main composers at Dark Technologies at the time, Kevin Bateson. He also arranged the music for the Game Boy version. The arrangements are decent, and most span over a minute long. In addition, all but two stages have their own unique music.

David Whittaker's driver required its user(s) to write the music in 6502 assembly macros. The recording is recorded in the PAL format, as the game was only released in PAL regions.

The song Can You Feel the Love Tonight is present in the game's code, but is not used in the game. It was used in the Game Boy version during the cutscenes. It has been said that the song wasn't used due to the game's rushed development. Interestingly, the Game Boy original also contains more music than the NES version.


# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
01 Circle of Life Elton JohnKevin Bateson 2:37
02 This Land Hans ZimmerKevin Bateson 2:21
03 I Just Can't Wait to Be King Elton JohnKevin Bateson 1:59
04 Be Prepared Elton JohnKevin Bateson 2:31
05 Under the Stars Hans ZimmerKevin Bateson 1:53
06 Hakuna Matata Elton JohnKevin Bateson 1:25
07 ...To Die For Hans ZimmerKevin Bateson 1:23
08 Can You Feel the Love Tonight Elton JohnKevin Bateson 2:41



The game's credits are shown after the ending. Kevin Bateson is credited as Kevin B. He most likely asked for his full name not to be revealed (as most of the other staff use their real names), but his real name can be found in the credits in the Game Boy version of Alien Olympics. Though he is not credited, David Whittaker provided his NES sound driver to Dark Technologies for an undisclosed amount of money, confirmed by the staff. The game's code also reveals that the driver is Whittaker's.

When we initially contacted Whittaker about providing a sound driver to Dark Technologies, he was unaware of the company and thought they must have stolen the driver. However, he likely provided the driver to the developer under their Enigma Variations name. This can be supported, as Whittaker composed many soundtracks for Enigma Variations, including Populous (GB) and Splitz (GB).

Game Rip




Audio Devices

The game uses the 2A03 of the NES. It uses David Whittaker's sound driver.


  EU.svg   EU
The Lion King - NES - UK.jpg
Title: The Lion King
Platform: NES
Released: 1995-05-25
Publisher: Virgin Games