Al-Qadim: The Genie’s Curse, PC

I remember playing and reviewing this PC MS-DOS game when it first came out in 1994.

Al-Qadim: The Genie’s Curse is a more ‘action-oriented’ TSR role-playing game, compared to many of the other ‘Gold Box’ TSR RPGs of the time (and there were lots – courtesy of SSI and US Gold). ‘RPG Lite’ you could call it.

For starters: character generation is kept to a minimum. You choose a name and: you’re off… No long-winded menus to negotiate, as is the norm in these games. Stats are predetermined and you can’t change them. The player cannot upgrade weapons or armour, but experience points are gained which unlock new powers as you progress.

Control of the main character (a Corsair) is via mouse or joystick, and the controls are kept simple. You can move, talk and shoot, in real time, and do other things depending on the context icon. Combat is real time as well, and the Corsair can wield two weapons simultaneously – and power them both up – which makes things different and interesting.

Getting a foothold in the game means passing an assault course at the beginning of the game, then holding onto an island swarming with monsters. It takes a while and some nimble swordplay to make way. Thankfully the game has easy saving, so you can pick up anywhere outside of a conversation.

Actually, the dialogue in Al-Qadim: The Genie’s Curse is pretty good too. Better than something out of a pantomime. Which makes this game all the more worth playing… still. If you fancy a classic TSR RPG with a setting that isn’t trolls and goblins.

More: Al Qadim: The Genie’s Curse on Wikipedia
GOG.com: Al Qadim: The Genie’s Curse on GOG.com

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