Tales of the Arabian Nights

1984, Interceptor Software

Lemon64 - GB64 - Longplay

I have vague memories of advertisements about this game, all intrigued by the story the game was based on. And not to mention that it had speech output in it! Remember this was very early in the C64 games era. Interceptor Software was in it from the start since 1982, but the Interceptor label was only used in the first years. Among these was this game which is an interesting but very very difficult game.

Basically, you play Imrahil on his quest to free the beautiful Anitra so that they can live happily ever after! :) The game consist of two different game types, one where you control Imrahil around a single screen platform to pick up jars with letters on. And you have to pick them up in order to spell the word ARABIAN. Interesting puzzle, since the word contains three A's which can make it all the more difficult (at least on one level you need to know the order to pick them up in). All sorts of things happen to make life miserable for poor Imrahil (and the player). Birds flying in from the sides at intervals but rather random in their movement. Guards shooting arrows, arrows flying from the sides, cannons fireing, barrels and stones falling. The usual stuff to hamper a heros quest. :)

The second game type is a side scroller (left to right) where you control Imrahil in either a boat or a flying carpet. One of each type at the start but later more of the first platform types before the end getaway where you have Anitra as a passenger (although you cant see her on the carpet). Generally the side scroller is much easier than the platform puzzler.

This was actually the first time I have tried this game, and I kinda like the puzzle aspect here, and the side scroller is a nice "breather" in between the tough parts. But its like all games of this era, they are just too hard. You will find yourself tearing out your hair quite frequently (if you got any that is). It doesnt make it any easier that you start back at the beginning every time you die, and if you happen to complete a level you are not awarded any extra lives to help you out. But its at the same time a bit addictive in that you feel you got to try to solve that puzzle. And like many games of this era they arent very long, this one only has 7 levels! But that is 7 hard ones... well perhaps 6... since level 2 was very easy. Anyway, I would probably have played it for weeks to complete it without the help of Vice and snapshots to the rescue. :) The music is ok, but gets very repetitive, and the graphics are ok and gives the game some feeling of Arabian folk lore. The speech synthesis was also a pleasand surprise, and it uses a real synthesis here so its not using recorded samples like in Impossible Mission. It sounds very crude of course, but its kinda fun to have the story of Imrahil read between the levels.

All in all, kinda fun, but way too hard in my opinion. The player should at least have been awarded with one extra life for each level completed, since it can take a while to play through the levels all the way from the start to the level you want to play just to die lots of times because you need to figure out the timings between arrows, barrels, rocks, etc. An interesting sidenote is that if you play perfectly you will only get 5250 points at the end of the game which is not enough to get to the top of the hiscorelist which is preset at 8000! :) You actually have to collect many jars and die before the last one for every life you have left at the end to get on the top. Interesting game that does not reward a player for playing through each level perfectly... think that one slipped through QA. ;)

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