#388 – Magic of Scheherazade

Magic-of-Scherazade

 

I’ve never understood developers’ need to make NES box art look so realistic. They age so poorly.

 

MagicJP

 

As opposed to this Famicom cover, which looks awesome and gives a better feel for the game’s spirit.

 

Magic-of-Scheherazade-The-U-5B-5D-0

                                         

                                                                         You’re knee-deep in adventure now, son! 

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Culture Brain

DEVELOPER: Culture Brain

GENRE: Action/RPG

RELEASE DATE: December 1989

 

The Magic of Scheherazade might be one of the best examples of genre-splicing the NES has to offer. It takes equal parts RPG (explore towns! Random battles! Leveling up!) and action (Zelda-esque world maps! Direct combat! Linear progression!), a little bit of tactics (accumulate different partners and up to fifty mercenaries, each with different skills, to battle with you!), and a surprising amount of time-travel (past, present, future, it’s all here!). The story is your typical “save the princess from the evil demonic wizard,” but the Arabian flavor – rarely used in gaming history, save for the Prince of Persia series – renews the age old gaming trope. Battles are great, especially when you learn how to configure different teams against different enemies, but one niggling complaint is that you can’t choose which enemy you want to hit directly. This is frustrating when certain enemies are almost dead, and your protagonist or partners hit a different one. The townsfolk, while ignorant and lazy (some towns admit as much about their citizens, although they use the more positive term “carefree”), are surprisingly helpful with their knowledge. Even though it’s easy to guess where the game is leading you – defeat this boss, acquire a new partner, etc. – it’s a joy getting there. The time-traveling isn’t as immersive as, say, Chrono Trigger‘s, but it’s a unique concept that hadn’t been used in any NES games up to this point. And the soundtrack! Beautiful, haunting melodies abound at every turn, in particular, the overworld theme which sounds like a mix between Zelda and Mario RPG. Entertaining, unique games like this come along only once in a red moon. Highly recommended.

 

A-

 

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Latest posts by Dylan Cornelius (see all)

  • I’ve honestly been apprehensive about playing this game as I had never heard of it until recently acquiring a complete in box copy of the game as a gift along with other classics and the cleanest NES system I’ve seen in my life. Now, thanks to your review I’m looking forward to getting home to play it.

  • Yeah Ricky, this game’s a gem. I didn’t want to stop playing it.

  • Anonymous

    When I saw the name Scheherazade the first thing that came to mind was a hidden character chick from Soul Calibur IV, wonder if there is a link… -RK

  • Alanna

    The box cover is gorgeous! It doesnt embody the spirit of the game, but that snazzy logo especially kept drawing me back into the desert secrets. This one should be more revered, it was certainly a unique title at the time.