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Proto:The Lion King (SNES)/Early Prototype

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This is a sub-page of Proto:The Lion King (SNES).

Hiddenpalace.org logo.png  This prototype is documented on Hidden Palace.

Download.png Download The Lion King (SNES, Early Prototype)
File: Lion King (Early Prototype).zip (2 MB) (info)

A very early prototype of The Lion King was found and dumped by Z in 2015. Interestingly, the Master System and Game Gear versions of the game are based on this prototype.

General Differences

  • No music plays over the opening logos, which disappear almost instantly.
Prototype Final
LionKing-Early-DisneyVirgin.png LionKing-DisneyVirgin.png
LionKing-Early-Westwood.png LionKing-Westwood.png
    • The logos are wider, and the splash screen for Westwood Studios has brighter colors.
    • The first opening logo is almost identical to how it appears in the Genesis version, except the Disney Software logo is placed 8 pixels lower.
    • Walt Disney Feature Animation is not credited in the second opening logo.
  • The physics are slightly different and a little stiffer.
  • None of the levels can be completed.
  • Most of the background music is different to varying degrees. Only Hakuna Matata is identical to the final.
  • The palettes are in general closer to the Genesis version.
  • None of the cutscenes are implemented.
  • No sound effects play.
  • The background music doesn't fade out when the game is paused.
  • Level titles do not appear.
  • There are no checkpoints.
Early Prototype (corrected) Final
TheLionKingSNES EarlyPrototype SimbaChild.png TheLionKingSNES Final SimbaChild.png

Just about every single one of Simba's sprites was completely redrawn for the final game. In the prototype, almost all of Child Simba's sprites use an incorrect palette and feature simplified shading (exceptions are the life icon, and the walking animation which was already finalized by this point).

  • Child Simba's idle animation is different: he chases his tail instead of pouncing on a passing butterfly. This animation is also used in the Game Gear version.
  • Child Simba's roar lasts as long as Adult Simba's.
  • The only sprite of Adult Simba that has been completed is his life icon. All other sprites use rough sketch placeholders.
  • Adult Simba can't use his claw slash attack.
  • No puff of smoke appears when Child Simba pounces on a small enemy; they simply disappear.
  • The graphics for the health and roar meters are completely different and resemble wood carvings instead of the vague markings in the final.
    • The health and roar meters are on the same side of the screen, with the roar meter beneath the health meter. In the final game, the roar meter is on the left side of the screen and the health meter is on the right.
  • The bug pickups, only present in The Pridelands, use different graphics.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early pl hyena.png Lion King SNES final pl hyena.png
  • All hyena enemies are rough "pencil test" outlines, and all of them are sized for Adult Simba. They also behave differently from the final, and are nearly invincible.
  • If Simba runs out of health, he will freeze in place and enter his child form's death animation, even if he's an adult. You won't lose a life, and the level won't restart.
  • Holding L will cause Simba's animation to freeze, allowing him to be moved left and right freely, even through walls. Release the button to resume control.
  • Holding R causes Simba to levitate. Releasing it will make him fall.
  • Pressing Select will reset Simba's state, reviving him with 1 HP if he is out of health. Adult Simba will be reset to Child Simba, which can make progress in some of his levels impossible. This has the amusing side effect of causing the background music to restart and attempt to play over itself, to cacophonous results. Hilariously, this will also work on the title menu (although it will cause the menus to stop working, forcing a reset).

Title Screen and Options

Proto Final
Lion King SNES early title.png The Lion King SNES-title.png
  • Although it depicts the same scene, the title screen is completely different from the final version, which more closely resembles the actual movie. Some bits of the title graphic go missing once the menu is displayed. The "Disney's" graphic was removed for the final version. The font used here is the same one used in the Genesis version of Aladdin, albeit with a different palette.
  • A small part of Pride Rock cannot be seen without using a memory editor.
  • The title screen is animated differently: the sun rises behind Pride Rock, accompanied by a clip from the soundtrack version of "Circle of Life", and Rafiki raises the baby Simba (using a much simpler animation than in the final). The sun continues animating over the title menu using a subtle wavering effect.
  • The background music for this screen is an early version of "This Land", sounding much like the Genesis version of the song, instead of "Circle of Life".
  • The menu cursor is a porcupine from The Pridelands (using a bad palette) instead of a stylized sun.
  • The level select cheat from the final version is present, but is instead accessed by holding Left and pressing Select on the main menu. Instead of invincibility, there is a "Lives" option, which doesn't seem to do anything.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early menu.png Lion King SNES final menu.png
  • The final's "Slash (Adult)" is the prototype's "Swat".
  • The sound setting doesn't have the stereo/mono features of the final, only letting the player toggle the music on or off. This has no actual effect on the game, and the music will play regardless.
  • The sound test is non-functional, but seems to have been intended to play sounds from the game instead of music. It's also got a developer rant hidden inside:

"Rob" is Rob Povey, who is listed as a programmer in the credits. "Kevin" is Kevin Oxland-Vie, who is listed as a background artist in the credits.

Level Differences

The Pridelands

  • Referred to as "Pride Rock" in the level select.
  • Uses "Circle of Life" as background music instead of "This Land". The chanting, likely using placeholder audio, is different and much less full-sounding than what's heard in the soundtrack version and the final game. It also does not loop.
  • While the general layout is the same, most of the decorative objects were rearranged for the final version. Overall, the final version has more foliage.
Proto Final
LionKingProto-PLBg.png LionKing-PL.png
  • The background for the level has a different palette and was redrawn for the final.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early porcupine.png Lion King SNES final porcupine.png
  • The porcupines have glitched palettes, like Simba.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early beetle.png Lion King SNES final beetle.png
  • The beetles are pencil tests and are much harder to kill than in the final game.
  • If the player attempts to access the secret area on the right side of the stage, Simba becomes trapped in a frame of his rolling animation, with only the clipping/levitation cheats able to free him. There's nothing down there, anyway.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early wall.png Lion King SNES final wall.png
  • A wall was added for the final game to prevent the player from climbing up to the topmost part of the stage earlier than they should.
  • The hyena boss at the end of the stage can fall through the floor, leaving you stuck there.

Can't Wait to be King

  • The background music is rougher and lacks the chanting. Like "Circle of Life", it doesn't loop properly.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early rhino.png Lion King SNES final rhino.png
  • The level palette is always in its orange version, even at the beginning of the stage.
  • The ground is slightly higher than in the final version.
  • The background is slightly different. More of the hills are visible, but they are drawn lower. This is because the water is part of the foreground instead. It's also drawn differently, with more reeds. Simba can walk on it like it was ground. The collision detection between the water and land is bugged, though, and you will usually fall through the ground and off the screen if you attempt to walk off of the water.
Proto Final
LionKingProto-CantWait.png LionKing-CantWait.png
  • Simba starts much higher, falling from the top-left corner of the level.
  • The rhino tails are larger and more cartoonish-looking than in the final.
  • The rhinos are not animated. Their heads were redrawn for the final version.
  • The giraffe heads were redrawn for the final game.
  • The giraffes' eyes are open unless tilting their heads. (This is still the case in the Genesis version.) In the final version, they are always closed.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early monkey.png Lion King SNES final monkey.png
  • The monkeys are pencil tests and don't react to Simba's roaring.
  • The birds and their nests haven't been drawn yet, making it very difficult to tell what parts of the trees can be jumped on.
Lion King SNES early ostrich.png
  • The ostrich ride sequences are completely absent, replaced with short stretches of land. The pencil tests for them are in the ROM, just unused.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early animals.png Lion King SNES final animals.png
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early island.png Lion King SNES final island.png
  • There are no hippos in the animal towers.
  • Likely because of the hippos' addition, a tree was removed from the island after the first ostrich ride and replaced with three bushes.
  • Two giraffes are present at the animal towers instead of one. Their necks are intertwined with each other using graphics not seen in the final.
  • The lower-leftmost rhino in the animal towers is standing in the water instead of on dry land. This was probably changed to allow the player some breathing room before attempting the rest of the segment.
  • The log platforms towards the end don't appear.

Elephant Graveyard


The entire level - palette, layout, and graphics - is completely different from the final version! In general, the stage's visual presentation bears little resemblance to the area seen in the movie, which is likely why it was changed. It does look very much like the 8-bit version of the stage, though, and has a little bit of color resemblance to the "Be Prepared" sequence in the movie.

Proto Final
LionKingProto-ElephantGraveyard.png LionKing-ElephantGraveyard.png

Needless to say, the background also had a complete overhaul in the final. The prototype has several placeholder blocks in the background.

  • Uses "I Just Can't Wait to be King" as its background music.
  • The graphics are unfinished.
  • Several profile elephant skulls appear throughout the stage. Their collision is incomplete.
  • The niche with the hyenas at the beginning of the stage features two small trampoline objects not seen in the final and has no "bone wall" preventing the player from leaving. In fact, Simba actually spawns outside of it.
  • The tusk-spikes are harmless.
  • Several objects are weirdly-placed.
  • The lower portion of the stage features green lava (???) and lava spout obstacles, some of which are placed very strangely (floating in midair, for instance). The closest thing to any of this in the final is the geyser obstacle towards the midsection of the stage.
  • Several of Simba's wall-jump sprites are pencil tests.

The Stampede

  • No music plays since you aren't playing as Simba with plaftorming gameplay. Pressing Select reveals the stage uses "I Just Can't Wait to be King" for its music.
  • The sprites used for Simba and the wildebeest were redrawn for the final version. The wildebeest in particular have much less fluid animation.
Proto Final
TLKProto-Stampede.png TLK-Stampede.png
  • No wildebeest appear in the far background: the ones that charge towards the screen simply appear out of nowhere.
  • The canyon walls are much craggier than the relatively blocky walls of the final version.
  • Simba has no mercy invincibility in this stage, but won't die even if his life runs out, so it doesn't really matter.
  • The player can only jump straight up.
  • The stage lasts longer than the final game.
  • After the player reaches the end of the stage, the game softlocks. Simba can still be controlled, but no wildebeest or rocks will spawn and the player can't continue to the next level.

Simba's Exile

  • Uses "I Just Can't Wait to be King" as its background music.
  • The layout is almost identical to the final version, but no objects have been implemented yet.
  • Although most other stage hazards are harmless, the brambles in this stage actually will hurt you.
  • Simba can walk on the chasm at the bottom of the stage.
  • The background is mostly the same as the final, but there's a small segment that is missing here. The palette differs between this prototype, the 0.21 build, and the final. The final background looks like a nearly-identical combination of the early prototype and 0.21 prototype background.
Early Proto 0.21 Proto Final
LionKingProto-Exile.png LionKing21-ExileBg.png LionKing-Exile.png

Hakuna Matata

  • Referred to as "Willow Cascade" in the level select.
  • Like Elephant Graveyard, this level is still in a rough state. The background is completely missing, the art is done in a completely different style from the final version, and most of the level layout is different. In particular, the end of the level is very incomplete, consisting of nothing more than a few platforms of placeholder graphics.
Proto Final
  • The player spawns towards the end of the stage.
Proto Final
  • The logs in the waterfall segment are drawn behind the waterfall instead of in front of it. At the very top, no logs spawn at all in the prototype. Simba also stands behind the waterfall in the prototype, whereas he is moved to the front in the final.
Proto Final
  • The sprites for the logs floating in the river have a slightly glitched palette.
  • Turtles, using rough graphics, appear near the slide segments. Jumping on them causes them to retreat into their shells, allowing you to ride them down the slides. They were removed in the final.
    • Although the turtles do not walk in this build, there are graphics for them doing so:
Proto Final
  • The sprites for Simba sliding down the waterfalls are pencil tests.
  • The slide segments have glitchy collision detection that can deposit the player in a bottomless pit.
Proto Final
  • The wall-to-wall jump section is larger in the prototype.
  • Several spider enemies appear toward the left side of the stage, some in odd positions.
Proto Final
  • The gorilla boss still appears, but uses rough graphics. Like in the final, he throws coconuts at you from a distance and uses melee attacks when close up, but he's standing up and uses both hands to attack instead of one.
  • Hippos appear swimming in the river, also using rough sprites. They come in and out of the water, and although their mouth opens, they can't hurt the player. Like the turtles, they were completely removed for the final game. They did, however, make it into the Game Gear version.

Simba's Destiny

  • Referred to as "Rafiki Chase" in the level select.
  • Uses "Be Prepared" as its background music. This is almost identical to its final version, but still exhibits some minor differences, particularly in the strings.
  • The palette is more purple than blue.
  • The background is slightly different to the final, including some misplaced transparent pixels.
Proto Final
LionKingProto-SimbasDestiny.png LionKing-SimbasDestiny.png
  • The level layout is almost identical to the final, but has some minor differences:
    • The boulders held up by vines are missing.
    • The boulder in the bramble pit towards the right side of the level is missing.
    • A cliff was added to the area below the boulder chase slope for the final version, splitting one platform in two.
  • The player spawns shortly after the stage's midpoint, which itself is slightly different to the final.
Proto Final
LionKing-Proto-RafikiChase- Start.png LionKing-RafikiChase- Start.png
Proto Final
LionKing-Proto-RafikiChase- Start.png LionKing-RafikiChase- StartArea.png
  • The boulder that rolls after Simba near the player's spawn point is really rough and pixelated and use a very ill-fitting red color. It doesn't roll downhill: instead it just falls down and stops. It's still a one-hit kill, though.
  • No cheetah enemies appear.
  • Strange blocky black shapes appear here and there throughout the level. They can be stood on and match the areas where platforms exist in the final, so it's likely they were temporary platforms used during development.
Proto Final
LionKing-Proto-RafikiChase-Platform.png LionKing-RafikiChase-Platform.png
  • The vine barriers use white square placeholder graphics and can't be interacted with. It's just as well, since Simba can walk through them anyway.
  • There are fewer vine barriers toward the end of the level and more closest to the end.
  • Despite appearing in the level name, Rafiki is nowhere to be found.

Be Prepared

Hasn't been started yet. Attempting to load this level via the level select brings the player to Hakuna Matata.

Simba's Return

  • Referred to as "Hyena Lairs" in the level select. This is still its name in the portable versions.
  • Uses "Be Prepared" as its background music.
  • Simba has no animation for entering the caves: the screen just fades out.
  • Like Simba's Exile and Simba's Destiny, this stage is almost complete with only minor differences from the final.
  • Background is slightly different to the final.
Proto Final
LionKingProto-SimbasReturn.png LionKing-SimbasReturn.png
  • Despite the name, no hyenas spawn.
  • The spike pits are water pits instead. Like most stage hazards, they can't hurt the player at all.
  • Entering the first cave at the start then returning will make Simba's sprite disappear in a glitched splash animation, causing the game to softlock. The same effect will happen if Simba moves too far to the right of the first screen.
  • One cave leads to an area (located in the same place as the deep spike pit in the final game) with an incredibly bright rising water overlay and a trampoline from the Elephant Graveyard stage, using a glitched palette, that rises with the water. Entering this area locks the player's controls. Simba will fall until he disappears in a splash, again causing the game to softlock. Another cave leads to the same area, but the water overlay doesn't appear, although the player's controls are still frozen. If Simba lands on the trampoline, he can rise up with it and reenter the cave he came through.
Proto Final

Return to Pride Rock

Referred to as "Pride Rock II" in the level select. Like Be Prepared, it hasn't been started yet and will redirect the player to Hakuna Matata.

Bug Toss

  • Referred to as "Kaboom" in the level select. This is a reference to the Activision game Kaboom!, which Bug Toss was inspired by.
Proto Final
Lion King SNES early bug toss.png Lion King SNES final bug toss.png
  • No music plays since you aren't playing as Simba with platforming gameplay. Pressing Select reveals the stage uses "Be Prepared" for its music.
Proto Final
LionKingProto-BugToss.png LionKing-BugToss.png
  • The palette is completely different. Some parts are also less detailed, but they can only be seen properly when disabling other layers.
  • The background is slightly simpler and less polished than the final game.
  • The ground is very glitchy.
  • Timon and Pumbaa are pencil sketches.
  • Timon pauses to drop bugs in the early prototype, using a unique animation. In the final version, they simply appear underneath his sprite.
  • The "bugs" Timon drops are graphics from other levels, mostly with glitched palettes, as well as developer artwork. This includes:
    • A turtle from Hakuna Matata.
    • A giraffe head from Can't Wait to be King.
    • The gorilla from Hakuna Matata, weirdly labeled "Who Turned OFF the Fax Machine. Who Turned OFF the Fax Machine."
    • A very rough frog sprite, not seen in any level in the prototype. Frog enemies appear in the final version of Hakuna Matata.
    • A very rough spider. Catching it causes Pumbaa's sprite to flip upside-down, locking the player's controls, although the stage won't end and Timon will continue to drop "bugs" until one falls away from the player.
One of gaming's great mysteries. Will we ever find out who turned it off?
  • If the player misses a "bug", Timon will stop dropping them, but the stage won't end.

Bonus II

This option, presumably meant for the Bug Hunt bonus stage, resets the game.

Music Differences

To do:
Much more than this...

Title Screen

The title screen uses a unique remix of The Pridelands theme, reminiscent of the Genesis version. It is not present in the final game.

Circle of Life

Proto Final

The chanting sample is different.