FYIG went back to 1991 to take a look at a game based on one of Disney’s classic animated movies. Find out what we thought in our The Little Mermaid Game Review.

Release Date July 19, 1991
Genre Action
Platforms NES/GB
Developer Capcom
ESRB Rating N/A
Players 1 Player


Capcom created a lot of memorable games based on Disney properties back in the late 80s and early 90s. Games like DuckTales, Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, and TaleSpin are just some of the wonderful titles that they developed for the NES. There were many more than that, though, and today we’re going to talk about one of those titles. Let’s go back to 1991 and talk about The Little Mermaid on the NES and Game Boy.

The Little Mermaid has a pretty simple story as most NES games at the time did. Ursula is attempting to take control of the ocean by casting a spell over all the creatures. Ariel needs to change back into a mermaid to fight Ursula and save her friends. The game uses cutaway scenes to further the story between each stage which was a staple of the NES at the time. These scenes were pretty good in this game showing a lot more detail in the characters than you’d see in gameplay. It was like reading a storybook.

The Little Mermaid Game Review
The story cutaways in The Little Mermaid look great.

The game looked quite appealing for its time. It was a very vibrant and beautiful game for the NES hardware. I did find it strange that Ariel had red hair in the cutaway scenes and purple hair in actual gameplay, though. Each of the five levels has its own theme and they are all distinctly different from each other. I especially liked how much detail was spent on the backgrounds of the levels which were sometimes bare in NES games. The backgrounds here were full of detail and were really eye-catching. This game certainly had a better look than a lot of other games at the time. The music is also fairly good for the time albeit redundant. A great rendition of “Under The Sea” opens and closes the game so I don’t have anything bad to say about it.

The Little Mermaid Game Review
The shark is one of the bosses in the game.

This game takes the form of a side-scroller like most Capcom games of the time. The difference between this and other games is that this one takes place underwater. This is very different from most NES games at the time. Being underwater gives this game a really unique feel and allows Ariel to move freely pretty much anywhere on the screen. Ariel attacks her enemies by forming bubbles around them. She can then pick up and throw these bubbles at other enemies which take them both out. She can also throw these bubbles at various nooks to uncover hidden secrets like extra health. Ariel is able to pick up shells as well. These shells can be thrown at treasure chests to open them for an orb. These orbs allow Ariel to shoot more bubbles at once (up to 3) and make her attacks more powerful.

The Little Mermaid is only 5 levels long with each one increasing in difficulty. Each level ends with a boss fight. It’s not a long game whatsoever and can be beaten in an hour if you’re going slow. This is probably due to the fact that the game was made with children in mind, but it’s still bad. I think that they could have added at least 4 more levels to this game to make it a respectable length. The other issue I have with this game is that it’s fairly easy. Once you get the patterns down, it’s not difficult to defeat each boss. The game is still fun, but it was too easy and too short to ever go down as a classic.

The Little Mermaid Game Review
The levels are vibrant and detailed.
Pros Cons
Vibrant levels Simple gameplay
Great story cutaways Short game


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