The Magic of Scheherazade (NES)

The Magic of Scheherazade Box Art

The Magic of Scheherazade

System: NES

Release Date: January 1990

Developer: Culture Brain

Publisher: Culture Brain

Genre: Action RPG

The Magic of Scheherazade is a time traveling romp through the world of Arabia. Stand back Aladdin, the descendant of Isfa is tapped to grow his magician powers and save his sweetheart, her family, and the region from demons. To do this, he must travel across different worlds, through many times, and find friends to help him defeat the demon bosses on the way to the evil Sabaron.

After naming your character, your first choice is to pick a class. The fighter is brave and strong with the sword. The saint is weak offensively, but can gain an item to cross damage zones with impunity. The magician uses a rod to shoot projectiles and is especially strong against bosses. Don’t feel stuck, though, as you can pay to switch classes at the Mosque. I spent most of the game as a magician, but there are points you need to play as a saint or fighter to move the plot forward. This is picked up from in game clues, so make sure you’re reading everything.

The vast majority of Scheherazade is played as a top down action RPG. The start menu allows you to choose among several different commands to map to the A and B Buttons. Make sure you don’t have a sword equipped when you want to Speak to someone in town or they won’t deal with you anymore. The information menu shows you the allies you’ve collected, the different commands available to you, and a magic map for the chapter’s dungeon, if you purchased one.

Fighting is usually pretty annoying. The enemies move about as quickly as you, so if you miss an attack or don’t kill them outright, they can move with you and continuously drain your health, while you can’t get an attack in because they’re too close. What’s worse are the occasional traditional turn based RPG battles. You start by choosing two of your allies to fight alongside you. They all have different weapons and abilities. They all seemed kind of useless, except for Faruk. You don’t get any control over who is attacked within a group, and attacks run from left to right. You can buy little troopers who will do most of the damage for you, but they’re expensive.

There are a lot of magic spells that I couldn’t tell you what they really do, because they don’t always work. The bosses at the end of each chapter aren’t terrible, until you get to Salamander at the end of Chapter 4. That was a struggle. The world is mostly barren and repetitive. One of the gimmicks is the occasional solar eclipse. This makes your odds at the casino go up, allows you to plant a money tree, and gives you the use of a Great Magic once a game.

Graphics: 2.5

Nothing looks bad, but we’ve seen a lot better. The ally sprites are pretty unique, I’ll give it that.

Sound: 2.5

Music is pretty good, but the attacking sound effects will get on your nerves pretty quickly.

Gameplay: 2.5

Nothing works perfectly. I hate the turn based battles. Getting trapped by enemies or hit with insta-kills on the world map is stupid.

Difficulty: 3.0

You have to piece together what to do in order to move forward, but I think everything was fair. You also get three lives and if you lose them, it’s game over.

Fun Factor: 3.0

I almost gave up on this one at the boss of Chapter 4, but I persevered and finished it up. Any longer and I would have quit.

Overall Grade: 2.7

The Magic of Scheherazade earns a B-. I played it and you don’t have to unless you really, really want to. There are better RPGs out there.

The Magic of Scheherazade Video Review on YouTube