The NES was, in my opinion, the greatest system ever created. Not only could
you play some of the greatest games ever made (Castlevania, Gradius, Bionic
Commando. . . need I go on?), but nearly any kind of game that you could
possibly want was out on the NES. Want to wheel and deal on Wall Street? Get
Wall Street Kid. Want to save the embassy from terrorists? There's Rescue: The
Embassy Mission. Want to have your fortune told through Tarot cards? Get Taboo
The Sixth Sense.
Yep, I'm serious. Taboo is a Tarot card reading simulator! But that's not all
- Taboo will also give you fortune numbers for the lottery (customizable for
your state)! What surprised me was that Rare (makers of the Wizards and
Warriors series, as well as R.C. Pro-Am, Cobra Triangle and various other
games) was the company to come up with Taboo. Interesting, to say the least.
For those of you that don't know about Tarot cards, they're considered the
ancestors of our current deck of cards. Tarot decks are split into two
divisions: Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of Fool,
Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot,
Justice, Hermit, Wheel Of Fortune (hopefully no relation to the TV show),
Strength, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun,
Judgment, and World. The Minor Arcana is divided into four suites. Each suite
is split up into King, Queen, Knight, and Page, then 10 through 2, and finally
the Ace (as you can see, this is where the similarities to our current deck
comes in). The four suites are Staffs, Swords, Coins and Cups. To go into
detail about what each card means would require a small book (which is exactly
what the Taboo instruction book is), and I really don't think I have enough
space to go into detail.
Playing Taboo is simple enough. Enter you first name, birthdate and sex, then
enter a yes or no question. From there, sit back and watch the game shuffle,
deal and read the cards to you. After the cards have all been read, you get
your fortune numbers and the game is over. Simple, huh?>[?
The people who created Taboo obviously took their work very seriously. Here's
the opening prologue to the instruction book:
"IMPORTANT NOTICE. TABOO IS NOT INTENDED FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 14
YEARS, AND THEN MAY ONLY BE USED IF PARENTAL GUIDANCE AND ADVICE IS FREELY
AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES DURING THE PRODUCT USE. TABOO IS OFFERED FOR CURIOSITY
VALUE ONLY, NO MYSTICAL OR MAGICAL CLAIMS ARE GUARANTEED OR INFERRED. ALL
POSSIBLE CARE HAS BEEN TAKEN TO ENSURE THAT TABOO INCORPORATES ALL OF THE
ANCIENT MAGICAL SYMBOLIC REFERENCES AND TRADITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS TYPE
OF PRODUCT AND FOLLOWS THE AUTHENTIC TECHNIQUE TO OUR OWN KNOWLEDGE AND
EXPERIENCE OF THE METHOD OF DIVINATION OF THE KINGS. NO RESPONSIBILITY IS
ACCEPTED IN ANY FORM WHATSOEVER RELATING TO TABOO AND ANY SUCH EFFECTS
INFLUENCES OR MIRACLES INCURRED INFERRED DIVULGED RESULTING OR DIRECTLY
CONNECTED WITH TABOO WHATSOEVER. FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY. USE TABOO AT YOUR OWN
RISK. TABOO SHOULD NOT BE PURCHASED BY MINORS UNDER THE AGE OF 14 YEARS OF AGE
(no, that is NOT a typo!)."
Okay. Well, I've already thought of my first question for Taboo: Are the
people that came up with Taboo still employed by Rare?
The graphics, such as they are, are done quite well. There's even a few
interesting background effects that occur when the cards are dealt. The cards
themselves are all presented in a 3-D form, which is a nice effect. Each card
even has it's own theme music, which is all typical Rare music (and Rare has
always had some decent music in their games). Warning: certain themes WILL be
played over and over and over. . .
The question: Should you buy Taboo? Well, it depends. If you are a diehard
adventure fan (or shooter, or RPG, or whatever else) then pass this over;
it'll bore you to tears. However, if you're looking for a party game (and I
really don't know too many people who break out their NES at a party and go
"Let's play a game" - not unless it's a kid's birthday party, and Taboo isn't
exactly recommended for kids) or you just want something completely unique for
the NES (which was my case) then Taboo might interest you.
Hmmm - maybe you should ask Taboo. . .