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Just beat the game and figured I'd type up a few tips and pieces of advice for anyone looking for help.

My three main guides and sources while playing were:
- The hint guide included in the "Extra Downloads" section on GOG - this is probably your best resource as it has maps for all locations and write-ups for how to get through certain sections and dungeons.
- The GameFAQs walkthrough: http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/564566-al-qadim-the-genies-curse/faqs/1767
- The Computershow.com walkthrough: http://www.thecomputershow.com/computershow/walkthroughs/alquadimtgcwalk.htm

The walkthroughs I found aren't 100% accurate in all areas, but will help you in the major places you get stuck.

Some thoughts from my playthrough:
- Save often. You can save scum your way past any obstacle or challenge.
- Once you can get to Bandar Al-Sadat, you can play the gambling game and save scum it to get free, infinite money, which you can use to buy greater healing potions - this is basically your only recourse to overcome some of the more difficult sections of the game.
- Combat is very difficult at first, and one of the toughest fights I had was early on against all the zombies and skeletons when you go to the haunted island to get your ship. I've seen on a YouTube walkthrough that someone put up that they had the sling for that which would help a lot, but I didn't get the sling until well after the boat. Not sure how the other person got it earlier. Don't get discouraged while doing this - it IS possible, just very difficult.
- Combat gets much easier when you get your sling, and when you start to level up your attacks. The third level of your attack, the 360-degree whirl, makes combat fairly easy.
- Speaking of combat and movement, for the middle section of the game my protagonist would get "stuck" facing a certain direction and wouldn't turn around in the direction I was pressing until I made him move all over the place and "unstick" him - this meant that many times I couldn't face the right way to attack, which was quite frustrating. Near the end of the game this problem seemed to go away.
- The game also gets much easier when you get the magic +1 items for attack, defense, and sling. Near the end of the game combat was kind of fun since it wasn't so stressful and there was a lot of leeway to make mistakes.
- Early on when you have to find the mermaid, I found spent a long time thinking my game was bugged until I realised that you basically had to have your character stand on the outcropping for a long time - I'd say close to 30 seconds, just waiting, until the mermaid finally arrives.
- In the last 20% of the game you have the option to visit a few "side quest" islands to get extra scrolls that are supposed to help you in your fight against the nameless masters. Unfortunately, you are never told how or when or where to use these scrolls - they are basically useless. On one of the last bosses I think I managed to find the right scroll (which needs to be read backwards) and I think it damaged him a bit, but I can't be sure, and I found it easier to just attack him normally. I found this whole scroll thing a very poorly designed section since a lot of emphasis is placed on the scrolls helping you, but you're never told how or when or where to use them, and you're not sure how much they help. Also, the biggest frustration, was to get one of the scrolls you had to go to an island and get through a difficult challenge where you're locked in a small area and have to race to get a vanishing chest, all the while dodging a dozen lightning bolts. Two strikes from a lightning bolt will kill you, so you have to pause the game every 0.5 seconds to quaff a greater healing potion, move a bit, then pause and heal. This section took me at least an hour of repeated attempts until I finally got it. In return I got a scroll for a Nameless master that I never ended up using, or even needing. If you're playing the game, just skip the entire island that the Cyclops tells you about - it's a huge waste of time.
- I couldn't figure out what Potion of Invulnerability does. You'd think it's obvious, but every time I drank one I got harmed by enemies regardless, so it seemed broken or useless. Potion of Giant Strength helped against some tougher enemies, or helped clear a pirate ship quickly. All the other potions, other than the healing ones, were pretty useless.
- The shards are pretty helpful when fighting tough enemies, or a large number of monsters - don't feel like you need to save them - I had way too many at the end of the game that I should have used earlier.
- The most difficult enemy in the game I found to be the big Cyclops in Al-Katraz. I couldn't defeat him and just skipped him. But it turns out you're supposed to free him earlier in the dungeon so he can fight the mercenary captain for you - when you get to Al-Katraz, try doing this to save you some time. I killed the mercenary captain on my own so the Cyclops would just attack me and he basically one-shotted me every time.

Overall I really enjoyed the game and it gave me a fun nostalgia trip to the mid '90s. I can't imagine how I would have got through some of the areas that I got stuck on way back in 1996, before finding this information was so easy on the internet. But even if you're playing this today you can run into some difficult parts - hopefully some of these tips will help. Enjoy the game!
Thanks for the guide. I'm on the haunted island, trying to get the ship, and was flirting with maybe just giving up on the game for being almost impossibly difficult to avoid dying in, when I decided to come here first and read how others have dealt with the difficulty. It's very comforting to read that this haunted island is one of the toughest fights in the game and that combat gets a lot easier as the game goes on. That gives me motivation to keep at it and push through this location. Thanks.
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jnisbet: Thanks for the guide. I'm on the haunted island, trying to get the ship, and was flirting with maybe just giving up on the game for being almost impossibly difficult to avoid dying in, when I decided to come here first and read how others have dealt with the difficulty. It's very comforting to read that this haunted island is one of the toughest fights in the game and that combat gets a lot easier as the game goes on. That gives me motivation to keep at it and push through this location. Thanks.
Just saw this reply now (few months later) - hope you managed to overcome that section!

I remember it being incredibly challenging. It's quite a poor design decision to put such a difficult thing so early in the game, but when you do overcome it (just try approaching from different ways, don't be afraid to run back, etc.) you'll find the game becomes easier and a lot more fun. If you played this back in the '90s it's a great nostalgia trip. Hope you enjoy it!
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dementia13: Combat is very difficult at first, and one of the toughest fights I had was early on against all the zombies and skeletons when you go to the haunted island to get your ship. I've seen on a YouTube walkthrough that someone put up that they had the sling for that which would help a lot, but I didn't get the sling until well after the boat. Not sure how the other person got it earlier.
To get the sling early, make sure to talk to the main character's sister first in the streets and then in her home before progressing with the main story (essentially, as soon as you arrive in town). She lives in the house in the bottom left of the town. As long as you're not impolite to her, I think she should give you the sling as an early wedding gift once you've exhausted all dialogue with her.
Post edited July 10, 2019 by Wratts
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dementia13: Combat is very difficult at first, and one of the toughest fights I had was early on against all the zombies and skeletons when you go to the haunted island to get your ship. I've seen on a YouTube walkthrough that someone put up that they had the sling for that which would help a lot, but I didn't get the sling until well after the boat. Not sure how the other person got it earlier.
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Wratts: To get the sling early, make sure to talk to the main character's sister first in the streets and then in her home before progressing with the main story (essentially, as soon as you arrive in town). She lives in the house in the bottom left of the town. As long as you're not impolite to her, I think she should give you the sling as an early wedding gift once you've exhausted all dialogue with her.
Cool - good to know! Hopefully this helps someone playing it in the future!