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The Magic of Scheherazade (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Reviewed by: wanderain Global Trader - willing to trade internationally Has Written 9 Reviews Canada
Reviewed on: 9-May-2011


I had my doubts when I first saw The Magic of Scheherazade. I was 12 or 13 at the time. The cover art was schlocky, and it was made by a company called "Culture Brain." In my experience as a 12-year-old, nothing with "culture" in it could be good. But the game was cheap and I was, and still am, an RPG fan, so I decided to give it a try.

The opening storyline is fairly standard. The evil lord Sabaron has stolen your chick and erased your memories, and only you can defeat him. I never understood why a level one character, with no experience, is always the one to defeat the great evil, but I digress...

You go on to meet the time spirit Coronya, who takes you through the time door at the beginning of your journey to save Arabia from Sabaron. Then the game gets really good. This is an action RPG through and through. Don't let the kawaii nature of this game fool you, because this game has it all. You can pick from three classes: Fighter, Magician, and Saint. The Fighter is better equipped with swords, the Magician is better equipped with wands, and the Saint is somewhat a split between the two. It will be necessary to change your class in the middle of the game, so I recommend you become a Fighter or a Magician at the beginning.

The action is split between two distinct methods of fighting: direct combat against multiple creatures that appear in the countryside in which you use your wand and sword, and a more traditional turn-based fight against groups of monsters. In the direct action, the creatures never seem to come right at you, but this crappy A.I. does not detract from the fun of the game. The more traditional RPG fights are like most other games, where the game cuts away from the overworld and you are in a new scene facing some assortment of monsters. These fights are against groups with names like "Fire Squad" and "Air Division." They have special talents when fighting as a group against you, such as improved magic or defense. As the main character, you have an array of ways to fight against these monsters. The swords and wands are pretty standard fare, though they do dramatically improve as you find stronger weapons later in the game. The better weapons are much quicker, and a few even have special effects (such as fire damage). The game really shines during the turn-based fights, though. As you gather more companions along the way, you are able to learn different formations. These formations are particularly effective against certain groups of enemies, quite often destroying them in one round. The formations can be learned by attending the universities that are in the game (I recommend attending all of them as some of them give out swords and wands for completing the courses).

The dialogue in the game is cutesy and can be annoying at times, but the storyline (which is only loosely based on 1,001 Nights) is pretty interesting overall, and it should maintain the player's interest throughout. The timeline aspect of the story sees the game jump back and forth thousands of years, and it is done remarkably well. This adds immensely to the game's longevity.

The graphics can get a little choppy when there are too many moving characters on the screen, but that being said, the graphics are fairly standard for the NES and are nothing to complain about overall. They get the job done and help the player feel immersed in the game.

I always found the sound for the game to be quite impressive. Yes, it is a "bit and byte" soundtrack, but it integrates into the game remarkably well. The background music isn't too over the top, the music as enemies appear is dramatic and interesting, and the turn-based fight scenes have great music as well.

Outside of maybe coming back to play the game every few years, there isn't much replay value here. The game is very linear, with very few sidequests and a clear start and finish. Even without a lot of replay value, though, this should not prevent you from picking up The Magic of Scheherazade. Loose cartridges aren't too expensive, and if you are looking for a solid action/adventure RPG for the NES, this game is a perfect fit.