The Magic of Scheherazade
|The Magic of Scheherazade|
North American cover art of The Magic of Scheherazade
Role-playing video game
The Magic of Scheherazade, known as Arabian Dream Scheherazade (アラビアンドリーム シェラザード Arabian Dorīmu Sherazādo) in Japan, is an action role-playing video game for the Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System, released by Culture Brain in 1987 in Japan and 1989 in North America. The story involves the player character, who suffers from amnesia, traveling through time in an attempt to rescue Princess Scheherazade from the evil wizard Sabaron, who has summoned the demon Goragora to do his bidding.
The game was innovative for its time, incorporating elements of action-adventure and RPG styles, featuring a unique setting based on the Arabian Nights, allowing time travel between five different time periods, having two different combat systems for real-time solo action and turn-based team battles, and introducing team attacks where two party members could join forces to perform an extra-powerful attack. A manga based on the game was released in Japan.
The player controls a player-named hero who is a descendant of the great magician Isfa, who unsuccessfully attempted to defend Arabia from the evil wizard Sabaron. As a result, the Hero's memories are erased, and his beloved, Princess Scheherazade, is captured. With the help of the guide Coronya, Isfa's descendant must travel across five worlds to rescue Scheherazade's three sisters, her father, and finally Scheherazade herself.
Along the way, eleven NPCs join the party to fight against Sabaron. Once Scheherazade's three sisters and her father are rescued, the hero confronts Sabaron who realizes releasing the demon Goragora was a mistake and it is revealed that Scheherazade was never kidnapped, she had been traveling with Isfa the whole time disguised as Isfa's guide Coronya. The hero then goes to the Dark World and destroys Goragora, returning peace to the land.
The majority of play takes place on an overhead map where the player moves between screens, as in The Legend of Zelda. In each world, the player must complete a number of tasks and recruit the area's allies, traveling between two eras of the world using the Time Gate found on a particular screen. The game's time travel effect is similar to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1991), with the overworld looking both similar and yet drastically different. Landscapes are numerous and include the tree-lined overworld, towns, deserts, underwater areas, dimly-lit dungeons, and palace labyrinths.
The player's primary weapons are a sword, used for powerful close-range attacks, and a rod, used for shooting missiles that travel the entire length of the screen. Magic spells and items are also available for defeating enemies and negotiating obstacles. The character has three classes: a Fighter who uses the currently equipped sword but who always uses the weakest rod (regardless of what's equipped), a Magician who uses the currently-equipped rod but uses a dagger instead of a sword, and a Saint who can only attack with the weakest rod and a dagger but who is required for certain tasks (like gaining the NPC Pukin in Chapter 3). Changing into specific classes is often required for other quests as well. The player can change classes (for a fee) at a Mosque or by casting the Great Magic spell Moscom during an Alalart Solar Eclipse.
Each chapter concludes with a demonic boss that must be defeated with magic and the rod.
When traveling between screens on the adventure map, the player will sometimes encounter random, turn-based battles. Two allies can participate in each battle with the player, along with up to four mercenary troops. Certain ally pairings create formations, which enable the party to cast powerful group magics. Enemies also frequently appear in formations, whose best counters are discussed in "magic universities" found on the adventure map.
Alalart Solar Eclipse
After some time passes on the adventure map, the screen will darken and a message will state that an Alalart Solar Eclipse has begun. During this time, many favorable things will occur. For example, it will be easier to win at the Casino, a player can plant a Rupia tree in the earlier period to harvest for 500 Rupias during the later period. As well, the five Great Magic spells can be cast by the player.
A wise man lives in each of the five chapters, and will grant the player the ability to cast one of the five Great Magic spells. Once used, the spell cannot be cast again without going back to the Wise Man.
- Chapter 1: Monecom - Summons a Rupia Tree, which gives the player the maximum money and many helpful items.
- Chapter 2: Raincom - Causes rain to fall on the desert, stopping it from draining the player's hit points. Only useful during the Present period of Chapter 2.
- Chapter 3: Spricom - When cast during the Future period of Chapter 3 (an eternal winter) it will cause spring to arrive for a short period of time. The cold of the winter drains the hit points of the player, so it is a useful spell to conserve hit points.
- Chapter 4: Moscom - Summons a mosque which will change the player's class for free.
- Chapter 5: Libcom - Summons a mosque which will revive all allies for free.
The game uses a password system to save player location, abilities, and inventory. Specific passwords are up to 48 characters long.
A unique feature of the game's password system allows for passwords with as many as six incorrect characters to result in the player not having to start over from the beginning. If a password is entered unsuccessfully twice and has less than six incorrect characters, the game will display the message "The password is still wrong. Please check and enter it again." If after being re-entered it still is incorrect with less than six errors, the game will display the message "The password is still wrong. Please check and enter it again. If the password still does not work, I will allow you to start in that world." If the password is still incorrect in this manner, the game will ask the player for a name and class, then place the player at the beginning of the chapter determined by the game with pre-determined attributes. This resulted in an unintended stage select code, as the current chapter is stored in the password as "Wn", n being the chapter. All the player needs to enter would be those two characters, and submit it to the game three times.
There is also a total of seven special passwords. The game's ending can be viewed by entering the word "END", and a sound test can be accessed with the word "SOUND". Entering "nW" will start the player on chapter n with all allies, the best equipment, and every objective complete, save for the chapter's boss.
The game's soundtrack was composed by a Japanese concert pianist named Kume.
The original Japanese version of The Magic of Scheherazade is a significantly different game than its North American counterpart. The music, graphics, and world maps are somewhat different from what western NES players are used to. The music is simplified and sounds more in line with compositions from 1st generation Famicom/NES games. The graphics sport an anime influenced style to it, the protagonist has large round eyes versus the nondescript facial features of the North American version.
As late as 1990, plans were in the works for a sequel, but none was ever released. The Japanese Family Computer Magazine listed a game tentatively called "シェラザード伝説 ザ プレリュード" ("Legend of Sherazade - The Prelude") by Culture Brain as Super Famicom game with unknown release date 
- List of Famicom games
- List of Nintendo Entertainment System games
- Chrono Trigger (1995)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)
- Vestal, Andrew (1998-11-02). "The History of Console RPGs". GameSpot. p. "Other NES RPGs". Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-09-10.
- Colette Bennett (02/27/2009), http://www.destructoid.com/an-rpg-draws-near-the-magic-of-scheherazade-122539.phtml, Destructoid
- Nintendo Power, Volume 18, page 92. Published December(?) 1990.
- "New Game Calendar" in Family Computer Magazine, Volume 14/1995, page 175. Published July 14th, 1995.
- "New Game Calendar" in Family Computer Magazine, Volume 4/1996, page 161. Published February 23rd.