#388 – Magic of Scheherazade



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




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




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



PUBLISHER: Culture Brain

DEVELOPER: Culture Brain


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.



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