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Defenders of Oasis (Game Gear) Review.

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Ok Let's Begin!

Defenders of Oasis (DoO) is a Role Playing Game (RPG) with a Arabian Nights theme running through it with elements of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, “Aladdin” and “Sinbad the Sailor” ,which in terms of RPG's is quite unusual. It was released on the Game Gear 1992 and bears similarities with RPG’s such as Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy. Much of the gameplay is moving a party of characters around a map dealing with random enemy encounters using turn based combat in a menu format with a static fight rather than positioning characters in a separate combat map.

Plot The story revolves around the Wizard of Darkness or Wizard King Ahriman, the games opening prologue and in game text vary on these titles. Ahriman was sealed away by a young man named Jamseed using the powers of three rings given to him by the Wizard of Light. Not willing to end his reign of evil quite yet Ahriman sent his servant the Snake King Zahhark to kill Jamseed, who had founded the kingdom of Shanadar. After Jamseed’s death the world reverted back to a thousand years of darkness until the warrior Fallidoon finally defeated Zahhark and ended the dark times. Now many years later it seems that Ahriman’s evil rises again. Though Ahriman was sealed away he still has followers in the world that seek to release him.

This is where the story starts with the Prince of Shanadar waking up and been asked by the King to escort the Princess, Mariam (though I’m pretty sure this her name only crops up in the end cutscenes, in game her text box simply ID’s her as Princess still better than the main protagonists name), from the neighbouring kingdom Mahamood from the docks to the royal castle. Upon completing this minor quest the kingdom gets suddenly attacked by the forces of the Emperor. Prince, for that is his name through out the game,  is charged with the task of escaping the besieged city with Mariam using the castles hidden escape route to Mariam’s ship. Upon arriving at the docks they discover that they have been betrayed by Kohle, General of Shanadar. Upon fighting him Prince is struck and immediately falls unconscious luckily though he is spared death thanks to Mariam and some loyal men of Shanadar. Upon waking Prince finds himself insides the Shanadar resistance hide out with the Princess Mariam. After talking to the resistance leader, Leader, he finds out that General Kohle has a magic sword that KO's any human it cuts. This is where Prince also learns of the Lamp, also known as the “Jewel of Jamseed”, with the powers to protect from such weapons hidden within the royal castle’s treasury. From this point I'll be brief as to limit spoilers but the "Prince" acquires the Lamp thus releasing the Genie who then becomes a member of the party.

Using the powers of the Genie they escape the kingdom with Mariam. During a brief stop on an island for supplies Princess Mariam is captured by Al Karria an elite royal guard of the Empire and steals the ship after killing the captain. This results in the captain’s first mate, his son Saleem, joining you on a quest for vengeance. It is here whilst marooned on the island that you discover new spells for the Genie. Yep apparently the Genie's doing the whole "I know what I know "Prince", but I'm not telling!" So Prince has to discover the Genie's stronger powers through ancient writing on old ruin walls before Genie will actually use them. On one of these walls is the teleport spell “Raag” allowing them to escape the island. Beyond this they go to save Mariam which results in them being trapped and captured. Here they meet a thief by the name of Agmar who joins them and in turn completes the party roster: Prince, Genie, Saleem, Agmar. Beyond this it's escape the dungeon save the princess try to rescue your father by trading the rings for his life, turns out he's been dead since the attack on Shanadar. Fight zombie dad then try and stop the rings been destroyed, after failing to do that, take the ashes and head to the new tower that's appeared out of nowhere. Then fight the gauntlet marathon of mini bosses to finally reach the Wizard of Darkness Ahriman and imprison him again. Pros It has "auto save"(🤯) , that's right you heard that, screw you final fantasy with your save spheres and moogles! DoO has an instant save function upon turning the Game Gear off, this is a useful feature for a portable device that could literally run out of power at any moment so props for that little innovation.  DoO also as I said before has an Arabian Nights themed story with a few of the elements from those stories showing up which is rare to see in RPG Game. I also strongly suspect that at least one of the programmers was familiar with the works of Tolkien considering the naming conventions going on with some of the monsters. The story I would say is usual fair, bar it's Arabian Nights theme, with hero stopping a great evil that'll destroy the world with the stories McGuffin. That said I did like the bit where Prince has to fight zombie dad. The story itself isn't a bad one just don't expect too many surprises especially if you've been a fan of RPG's for a while. DoO also has an interestingly different way for a character to level up. The Genie levels up in a very different from the other characters not relying on experience acquired by battle but rather collecting items to use on the lamp. This though also caused another two problems grinding and backtracking

Cons The characters within the story are in my opinion quite bland this I suspect is a limit of the actual system as there isn't much in the way of character interactions. I find though that you can add your own entertainment by adding to the personality when reading out the character's dialogue. I'd say the characters have strong motivations but limited time to express themselves. The closing credits cutscene shows off there personality probably the most. Grinding and backtracking. Now every RPG has some level of this especially if your doing side quests or completionist quests, such as destroying the Weapons in Final Fantasy 7, and most players will do some grinding before facing a difficult boss. In DoO however, if you want any confidence in your party your going to have to grind because of the Genie. Yep that thing that I said was an interesting Pro, it's also a cursed Con. The Genie can only be upgraded by finding/buying certain items. These items are expensive usually the lowest been "Plating" at 490 dinar and the most expensive been "Gilding" I think at 2490 dinar to put that in perspective the best healing item that heals your entire part, the Talisman, costs 1080 Dinar so yes you need to grind for a lot of cash. Now add this, the Genie doesn't learn spells from upgrading. Yes you can literally miss important spells for the Genie, each spell is uniquely located within the game on a wall of ancient text.

This is especially frustrating in the tower which is essentially a maze with creatures that can teleport you to different locations in the tower. Now you are probably thinking "It's just one character, it's not that important." but that's where you're wrong and "why?" You may ask, well it's because the Genie is not only one quarter of your party he's also the only character that can do any magic. That's right the only one, all the other characters are fighters with one unique skill each Run, Dance and Hide other then that they just hit stuff and two of these skills are just unique ways to hit. This means the Genie is vital to the group as he has the variation of abilities including healing abilities which you begin to realise are essential when you have a limited inventory of 9 slots for any one Item. Nerdy C's Nerd O Meter A Marvellously High 3 out of 5 Defenders of Oasis (DoO) took me about 9hrs to complete but was worth seeing such an interesting RPG to fruition. I don't think it'll blow your mind unless you've never played an RPG before but the unusual theme and setting with the really useful autosave feature will ease the Cons that crop up. Yes I think some things could have been made better, such as making the other characters a bit more unique to play and a bit more thought into the in-game presentation. Then though I come back to the fact that this all on a Game Gear cartridge and because of that I think it’s quite impressive.

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