Review by EPoetker

Reviewed: 02/08/01 | Updated: 02/08/01

This was like Chrono Trigger back in the old days...

Well, the company's called ''Culture Brain,'' and they've managed to pack quite a surprising amount of Islamic and production culture into this title. No, really, I'm sure ALL Muslims visit the local casino at night. I'm sure they also drink wine in the middle of slaughtering people with a very large scimitar. And I'm sure that the person at the mosque STILL blesses them in the name of the pagan deity Airosche, despite the fact that all the things I've just mentioned are expressly forbidden by the Koran. Heck, this title barely managed to get anything about Islam right, (unless it's trying to say that they're all a bunch of hypocrites) but I suppose video games really aren't supposed to do that. Heck, Castlevania was NOT an accurate representation of the life of a Christian either. (We'd never use whips to kill vampires. Swords are still the weapon of choice.) And besides, the game is really friggin' FUN, and that's what counts the most. Not the

GRAPHics, although this game doesn't slouch too much when it comes to this category. Isfa and pretty much everyone on the normal overhead map look a bit on the fuzzy side, mainly because they didn't figure out how to use black lines to accentuate features until the subscreen or RPG portions. Thus most often you're attacked by what looks like a blur of color, and you end up too busy swinging your sword or your rod at the things to figure out what, exactly, you just killed. Okay, the Zelda-area graphics aren't THAT bad, but they still could have used a bit more detail. The best animation, frankly, was on those rolling statue thingies. As far as variety goes, you find a little bit of it amongst the identical forests, towns, and dungeons, but not much. Ah, palette swapping, thou hast never failed me. Nevertheless, the RPG portions and characters are much better drawn, and the bosses and spell effects are simply AWESOME!

MUSIC: Culture Brain has GREAT opening theme songs, and this one is no exception. But then again, they also have great subscreen music, great traveling music, scary dungeon music, and a bunch of nice little event tunes that tend to be really, really good. And much of it has a distinctly ''Arabian'' feel, which'll make you think you're watching ''Aladdin'' again. (Yeah, I think the Islamic Anti-Defamantion league would have gone after this one.) Really, these guys are top quality in the music department, which might be why they made the SOUND rather muted. Well, not COMPLETELY muted. That rod-blasting FX is danged annoying after hearing it about 150,000 times!

GAMEPLAY: Rocks. Really, really, really rocks. Let's see: You can swing your sword, swing your magic rod, jump, cast spells, use items, and fall into water if you're not careful. There are TWO modes of battle-one overhead, one in RPG mode where you bring out any friends you happen to have picked up on the way. And you can use the same spells, attacks, and items in either setting, which is really, really, cool IMHO. (I'll really, really, really, be using the adverb ''really'' a lot in describing this. Not because my vocabulary is bad, but because saying ''marvelously'' or ''splendiferously'' twice or three times doesn't sound quite as good.) You can hire troopers too. Seriously. Little bulldog-like troopers with pointed helmets. And during an intermittent event called the Alalart Solar Eclipse, you can perform a gaggle of subquests and get a myriad of bonus items. You can go to ''Magic University.'' You can upgrade your weapons. You can find new people and combine them in ways that let you do super attacks. You can...there's a mosque-load of stuff to do in this game! And it actually tends to be HARD at times, though mostly it's just the ''get lost in a dungeon maze'' kind of ''hard.'' In fact, that's probably my only gripe-getting lost too often. At the very least, I think that other people hated the areas with hidden bottomless pits as much as I did. But it really doesn't detract that much from the sheer enjoyability of this or any other Culture Brain title. If you haven't played it yet, emulate it now.

Nintendo Logic:
Yep, talking owls in mermaid villages at the bottom of lakes during mideaval periods always ask you about your dating habits in modern burger joints. I had that dream once.

Faruk and Hassan rule. I've always wanted a genie or two on my team. I mean, sure, a robot, a fairy, an owl, a flying monkey, a reanimated doll, a talking frog, a midget with a whistle, and a thing that looks for all intents and purposes like a bullet casing with arms and legs are good friends, but you really need a genie or two if you want to kick some demon tail. Yes, there was a little bit too much Japanese influence on this game. I'm surprised we didn't find a ninja out there.

Prease Oprin the door for me. Don't make me Bolttor your face into the ground! Ow...that hurts...Pampoo! The spells in this game might be stupidly translated, but despite it all, Flamol still manages to sound LESS gay that Firaga.

Gun Meca's a translator? Maybe he's C-3PO's ancestor!

Run away or Curly'll get you! And if he doesn't, Larry and Moe will! Ha ha ha ha...silly translators.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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