ARABIAN MAGIC / Taito / Arcade
Conceptually, Arabian Magic is a pretty blatant copy of Sega's Arabian Fight, right down to the cast of playables and the genie lamps you pick up to cast spells. However, it lacks the graphical gimmickery of Arabian Fight -- no scaling, huge sprites or foreground anime overlays here. Instead, it's a more straightforward beat-em-up of the type Taito was dabbling in at the time (like Growl), but it plays a lot more smoothly while also still being pretty good-looking to boot.

To be fair, it's not a COMPLETE copy of Arabian Fight, though you'll notice plenty of obvious lifted bits if you've played both. You do get a eunuch with a morning star as a playable in this one, you can't say that about Sega's game! The levels also tend to be different, and Arabian Magic definitely has more varied and imaginative bosses than Fight did. But perhaps the biggest difference is that instead of each character casting one stock screen-clearing spell, using a genie lamp summons an actual genie who wanders around the screen hacking up enemies. And as you beat level bosses, they join your roster of genie summons. It seems to be random as to which ones come out, and some are more helpful than others, but all of them make your character invincible while they are out and you can still move about and attack enemies on your own while the genie is doing their thing.

There also appears to be some weird parry system that involves hitting the attack button right when the enemy is attacking, but I could only get the eunuch to do it, and then only very infrequently. Maybe it's unique to him? I dunno.

Taito was obviously sitting there cribbing notes from Arabian Fight while they developed this one, but nevertheless they ended up actually making the more fun game of the two. It's still a fairly stock arcade brawler, but probably worth one run with friends if you like the genre.
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