Review by Sephir0th56
"Card based RPG turns out to be a great, addictive game."
Arabian Nights was never released in the United States, so there was no English version of the game. However, with a Walkthrough and a Japanese friend by my side helping me understand the script, I am pleased to say that Takuyo's middle-eastern set RPG is a must try for all RPG fans.
Story - 9/10
The introduction of the game shows a jinn named Ifrit sealed away in a magical ring, capable of granting wishes. The seal could only be broken after 1000 hands have met the ring, and 1000 wishes have been fulfilled. Hundreds of years later, Shokran, the main character of the game, comes across this magical ring in Bazaar town. When asked what her wish was, she replied "to bring peace to the world." Ifrit, joins Shokran's party and your quest begins to fulfill the wish. The story is very well put together, and will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the game. With many different scenarios to choose from which affect the rest of the game, the game has multiple endings to conclude the great story. Character development is great, but that isn't surprising seeing that there's only a few characters.
Gameplay - 10/10
The gameplay for this game is very much like most other RPGs, with a turn-based battle system, towns with 3 shops, weapon, armor, and items, and of course, inns. However, there is one different aspect that sets this away from other RPGs. In battle, you have the standard commands of attack, magic, items, defend, and flee. Along with these commands is a "Card" command, which lets you place a magic card on the field of battle to change the effects of attacks or magic. There are 6 cards of different elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Dark, Light, Steel, Tree, and Moon. The cards are labeled 0-5, each number with a different effect.
For example, you can use a Fire 1 card, and it will an attack attribute of fire. If you use a Fire 2 card, though, your attack power goes up. Once you place a card, the effect will last for 3 turns, but can be nulled by an enemy's card of higher level. There are plenty of different weapons at your disposal, and there are also skills and magic to use. Weapons, Armor, Magic, and Skills are similar to many other RPGs, so there's nothing too special about it, but it's consistent and solid. Battles occur randomly, but they aren't too tedious, and they can get pretty hard if you don't know what you're doing. If you're not prepared for a boss battle, be prepared to get destroyed, as I very well learned from the first boss of the game. Bosses can sometimes attack multiple times in one turn, dealing immense(at the time) damage to your characters. After each battle, you gain experience to level up, so there is nothing too different about that, either. Controls and such are easy to learn, and won't take any time at all. Overall, the main distinction of this game's gameplay is definitely the card system, and although the gameplay isn't completely original, it is very well done, giving you a smooth playthrough to go along with the fun of the game.
Graphics - 10/10
The graphics in this game are very good for an SNES game. Even if you're used to more advanced graphics, these graphics won't make you feel too old for playing it. Textures and backgrounds are very well done, and dungeon design is nice as well. Animations in battle are well done, and element changes via cards, magic, and just regular attacks are perfect in this game. Character designs look great, especially that of Ifrit and Suleymon. Suleymon fits the part of looking like a devious middle-eastern, and with the facial portrait to accompany the text, you can really see the expression on their face. Obviously, being a SNES game, there are no FMVs to judge, but all in all, Arabian Nights' graphics are very well done.
Sound - 10/10
The sound of this game is another nearly perfect quality of this game. If you were blind and listening to someone play this game, you could easily tell it was set in an Arabian environment. Themes in this game are great, not to mention solid sound effects, and amazing boss music. There's not really much to say about the sound in this game, aside from that it's good, and some are memorable as well.
Duration - 6/10
This is the game's one noticeable flaw. The game is not long at all, and you can perhaps finish it in 15 hours. It is definitely not a Final Fantasy in terms of length, but you can count on putting on more hours than that, just trying to level up before each and every boss battle. Also, side quests can take some time, and although there aren't many, they are good to do, whether you get good items from them, or meaningless, but fun, Shokran's hidden outfits. Don't be surprised if you're done with the game in 15 hours, but if you're a compulsive leveler and must have everything in a game, you might spend longer. I suppose I also spent a bit more time, due to the foreign language and such. >_>
Challenge - 10/10
This game is no walk in the park. It's a sit in the chair. I mean, it's not very easy at all, and you shouldn't be surprised if you die in a dungeon, or numerous times against a boss if you're not leveled high enough. Using the right cards is also an art, but bad strategy can send you to your deathbed. The game is hard, but not too hard if you have a brain that is capable of basic understanding of strategy and leveling. Once again, I may have thought this game to be harder than it is, just because I do not know Japanese at all, and there is no translation for this yet.
Replayability - 9/10
This game has multiple endings, based on decisions throughout the game. Seeing that the game is definitely fun enough to play a second time, getting the multiple endings isn't really an involuntary labor, it's more like a willing challenge. The game is short, and it won't take you all too long to get the various endings. There is no "New Game +" or "Ex-Play" or anything like that in this game, you just have to start over from scratch. A new game+ would've been cool though, considering the challenge of the game, and having to go through it a few times to get the endings.
Arabian Nights falls short in only the duration category, and that can be even more of a problem when you consider addiction to it, and five hours can seem like one. Graphics, gameplay, story, sound, and challenge are all great in this game.
If only somebody would care to make a sequel to this forgotten gem, or even a remake/port would be nice.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/18/06
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