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Defenders of Oasis

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Reviewed by Inkhands Defenders of Oasis is a rather typical RPG. It uses the same systems as most other RPG's in terms of hit points, magic points, experience points, and money. You buy weapons, buy items, and learn magic spells. The storyline is rather vague and the backstory is a bit pointless. At some points the game is involving and others it is very frustrating. The backstory is that centuries ago an evil man named Ahriman rose up to destroy the world. A young warrior used three rings given to him by a wizard and destroyed Ahriman. This young warrior went off to found the town of Shanadar, but was then killed by an ally of Ahriman, named Zahhark. Zahhark was then killed by a young man named Fallidoon. Centuries pass and everyone has forgotten all of these events. Then the town of Shanadar is under attack again and that's where this story begins. I didn't give anything away there, because all of that is found in the introduction of the game, before you get to the title screen. The main character in this game is a Prince. He's never given a name other than Prince. Basically, he is the Prince of Shanadar. He has to save the kingdom, the world, and the Princess of Mahamood, who just happened to be visiting Shanadar at the time of the attack. The story advances and plot twists take place, mostly of the variety of people and things being stolen. You begin as only a one character party, but will progress to having four in the party at one time. The Prince acquires a Genie and meets a ship captain's son named Saleem along the way. Saleem advances in levels very quickly and becomes a strong fighter. Also, his special attack, which is called Dance, allows him to attack every enemy on screen in one turn. The Genie isn't much in terms of fighting. His levels do not advance based on Experience Points. Instead you have to find or buy items, such as platings, silk, and crystals, to make him more powerful. Mostly the Genie is a helpful character, because he is the only one that can use Magic. He can heal up the characters and you won't have to be concerned with running out of herbs. His other spells can be used as attacks and also to teleport from one area to another. Since the Genie doesn't move up based on his experience points, he has to learn spells another way. The game is divided into five chapters, all of which can be quite lengthy. The setting is that of an Arabian desert. All of the characters have that look, because they mostly wander around wearing turbans and capes. Each chapter usually requires you to do a certain amount of raising your levels. Each chapter also usually requires you to complete a certain task, while wandering around in tunnels and mazes. You usually will not have more than two enemies on screen at any given time. Occasionally, a main battle will force you to fight three at once. Your enemies vary from soldiers to a cyclops. You earn experience points and money, called dinars, after defeating these enemies. You can try to run. Sometimes you are successful, but other times it tells you that you tried to escape, but stumbled over a stone instead. Usually, building levels is a very tedious process for me. However, in this game it wasn't much of a problem. The levels usually move up rather quickly, due to the high amount of experience points you earn per battle and the low amount of experience points need to level up. In fact, the players all increase their attributes, such as will and stamina, rather quickly. Also, total Hit Points usually advance around 10 or 12 points at every level. This makes you very strong very quickly. The battle system is turn based and really is quite standard. You have the options of attacking, defending, or using an item. The Prince is the only one that can select the Run option, Saleem is the only one with the Dance attack, and the Genie can only use Magic. The battles are rather easy, due to the frequent level ups, and the fact that usually it's your three or four character party against only two enemies. Control is not a problem in this game. It's simply a matter of walking around on the World Map and clicking through menus during battles and to check your status. Purchasing items and weapons from shops is easy, as is equipping them. There is no text that will tell you what an item, weapon, or spell is for, however. This can be somewhat of a problem if you want to know the effect of what you are about to buy or use. It is also a problem, due to the name of the spells. The spells are given exotic names, to fit in with the Arabian theme. Your spell to heal isn't given the usual Cure name, but instead it is named Alma. The other spells have names such as Skanda and Varyu. With no text accompanying the spell, you really don't know what you are about to use, before you use it. The challenge in this game is rather low for a few reasons. I mentioned above that you become very powerful, very quickly. There is also the fact that nothing about the game is complicated. At most it's frustrating because you will know what you have to do, but because of problems with the game, you can't do it. This is a game that is hurt somewhat by unclear graphics. The feature that makes this game very easy is the save feature. Any time you die, it will save and you can start exactly where you left off. If you lose a battle just outside of a weapon shop, you will begin the game again at that exact same spot outside of the weapon shop. Only, you won't have to deal with the battle, and your hit points have been restored to what it was before you entered the battle the first time. Also, you can turn the game off at any point, and it will save your exact position. You will turn the game on and find yourself standing in the exact same position you turned it off on. You don't have to manually save anything in this game, it does it all for you. The only real challenge comes from the length of some of the chapters. This may be a game for a small system, but it is actually a fairly long game. The music fits in with the Arabian setting. If you have ever seen Aladdin, or any other movie or cartoon set in the desert, you have heard this game. For example, have you ever seen a cartoon or anything with the man drawing a snake out of a pot by playing music? That's the type of music this game has. If you still do not what I mean, just imagine something a gypsy might dance to. If you still don't, then I have no idea what to say. There are a few different songs in the game, all with the same Arabian theme. Most of it is sounds average, but it does fit in with the game fairly well. The graphics also have that Arabian look. Not only do your characters wears turbans and capes, as mentioned above, but the settings fit the mood as well. You have deserts, with an occasional palm tree. There are temples and castles that look rather ancient. The people you talk to in towns also fit in with the setting of the game. You ride around on a ship and travel through tunnels. The characters look rather small and undetailed. The Genie is large, with a mustache, and is a typical looking Genie. Inside the castles is colored glass that match up quite well with the rest of the game. The buildings in town have no roofs on them, however. You simply walk into one and talk to the person inside and walk out. No doors, no roofs, and it keeps everything in an overhead view. One problem with the graphics is the lack of detail and it led to me having problem seeing where I was supposed to go. I spent a lot of time wandering around, because I couldn't see an opening, that should have been clearly there. A hallway was there, but it looked more like a wall. Role playing games tend to have low replay value and this one is no exception. There are no side quests and you probably won't miss much of anything the first time through. The story isn't very unique and it shouldn't keep you too interested. It's mostly standard save the world type of storyline. There is no character development, because the characters usually do not speak. You are only spoken to in this game, and all of those characters are very one dimensional. Between chapters you see some story sequences. They are usually nice looking, but don't do much in terms of advancing the actual storyline. You see a little of what is going on away from the action and your characters, but it's rather uninteresting and typical evil characters plotting to do evil things. Basically, this isn't a unique game. It's rather easy, but it is a somewhat long game. The replay value is very low in this game. The graphics and sound are both rather average. All of the elements of an average RPG are found in this game, with little that makes it stand apart from the rest. The only real appeal this game has is the setting. The Arabian setting does a lot for the game, as does the addition of the Genie, but it mostly makes it feel like an Aladdin retread. However, the exotic setting might keep you interested more than the weak plot. Overall, this game is good enough to play through once, but it's mostly a take it or leave it type of game. You can miss this game and you really won't be missing anything too interesting. Graphics - 5/10 Sound - 6/10 Control - 6/10 Challenge - 5/10 Appeal - 6/10 Story - 5/10 Game Play - 7/10 Replay Value - 3/10 Overall - 6/10

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