Once Upon a Time: Abracadabra
Abracadabra is another part in Once Upon A Time series and interactive book for kids similar to another part in the series Baba Yaga.
Some time has passed since the dragon brought a child to one of the four houses in the kingdom. Child has grown and became a brave guy. One night his parents went out of home for some reason, and evil wizard Satanicus stole the very precious item of your parents. To not make your parents upset, you decide to return this item.
During the 7 chapters you'll switch between three modes of the game:
1) Searching an object in first-person view via point and click;
2) Move through the forest, jumping, ducking, and using a weapon in third-person side view;
3) Fighting with the one of big bosses in first-person view via point and click.
Three difficulty levels are available. Finishing the game, player may replay the game starting from the one of four certain game parts. The game is available in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and French languages.
Credits (DOS version)
Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 5 ratings with 1 reviews)
The whole "Once Upon a Time" series is such a... well, let's say strange and specific case, that I will now exclusively tell about the game's "pros and cons" and write more in the last section.
However, I have to say one thing: generally I didn't like these games very much. But one thing is certain: all three do have really nice graphics. Already the first two images set the tone: first, the "intro screen" of the whole series (it looks like a medieval town in blue darkness, with a spark slowly lighting up fireplaces and lamps in homes) and then the first scene of the game itself, when you get to choose in which home the protagonist will be born. Almost the same scene will be repeated in "Once Upon a Time: Baba Yaga" and here it looks better, the snowy landscape is so atmospheric that it only seems to be missing some Christmas decorations... Then we have the places which our protagonist will visit, from his home to a strange castle - also well-drawn, often quite spooky... The forest scenes don't look as good, but they aren't bad either.
It's possible to name the protagonist, choose his appearance and the color of his clothes... not very much to choose and this of course doesn't make it a role-playing game or anything like that, but it's quite a nice idea.
The forest scenes are, by itself, quite an interesting, although irritating, action game. They are difficult even with lowest difficulty settings - especially the second and third part - but if you like jump'n'run games... Just don't pay attention to what the text above says. "Use the magic!"? - no, not necessarily. Different solutions are used for different monsters: using the magic item, ducking, jumping over the monster, moving on in the right moment and pretty much any combination of the above...
Not much to listen to in terms of music and sound effects.
The forest scenes, as I wrote above, may be too difficult. Fortunately, even if you lose all lives, you just have to restart the section (and you may encounter different monsters, it seems to vary between gameplays).
And here's the thing I called "self-parasitizing" starts. We can see four homes in the first scene... however, both castles and both cottages have exactly the same graphics. As if the authors of the game couldn't be a bit more creative... This also means that it pretty much doesn't matter which home you choose: it only changes what the boy's parents say, but doesn't change anything in the gameplay itself. No matter whether he's a prince or a woodcutter's son, he will have to find the same item and take the same path.
Altogether, the game seems fairly silly... Sure, there are lots of stupid games that are nevertheless still enjoyed - but they don't pretend to be adventure games... Maybe that's the difference.
Finally, a purely technical problem. The game starts with a fairly complex copy protection - it's simple by itself, but there are lots of possible combinations, so guessing is hardly an option. The game was never popular so nowadays it's not easy to find the documentation. I played the game through D-Fend Reloaded/DOSBox, it is now also supported by Scumm VM - but from what I've read it seems that even Scumm VM won't always let you bypass the copy protection.
The Bottom Line
The whole "Once Upon a Time" series seems to be quite cohesive in a certain way: all games share its flaws, at least to some extent. Therefore, perhaps the best idea would be to review the whole series together and compare the games. I won't do it - however, there are comparisons between the three games in my reviews - but altogether I can say that it's a wasted opportunity. I though at first: wow, such beautiful graphics... wow, it's such an interesting idea, and there are lots of fairy-tales so it's a pity they didn't make more games in the series. Now I think: perhaps it's better... - if there were five or six or seven games as unsuccessful as "Abracadabra", "Baba Yaga" and, to some extent, even "Little Red Riding Hood"... I don't know much about the games' background, so I can only speculate about the reasons: too much haste? Anyway, the final result are short, half-baked games which make an impression that its creators quickly ran out of ideas and tried to finish it as soon as possible... The forest sequences are not so bad, but not great either, so it seems that the only real advantage left are the games' beautiful graphics.
DOS · by Nowhere Girl (8680) · 2016
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by POMAH.
DOS added by Agamenon3.
Game added December 5, 2007. Last modified January 28, 2024.