Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharoah Review

The pyramids and everything about the Egyptian culture has always fascinated me. So the fact that I would actually be able to "Raid A Real Tomb" while playing a computer game was something I couldn't pass up. I eagerly anticipated examining hieroglyphic drawings, opening sarcophagi and finding precious artifacts while solving the mysteries of ancient Egypt.

Installation went very smoothly, and soon I felt like Indiana Jones as I stepped into the first tomb. Egyptian music filled my ears, exotic figures danced on the walls, and I was engulfed in tall columns and colorful architecture. The interface was easy to learn. Panning screens were a little disconcerting in Normal mode, but changing the Omni3D to the Very Slow setting resolved that problem. The navigation menu included Documentation with photographs of real Egyptian artifacts and history. You can also "Visit a site" to explore it without actually playing the game. This is handy if you want to go back and look more closely at a location you have already visited.

You play Ramose, whose father has been accused of raiding a tomb and stealing its riches. You must uncover the identity of the thieves and find proof of your father's innocence to save him from execution. You are given an encoded message to decipher using drawings and clues found while exploring. Conversing with other characters gives you clues to the locations of the missing artifacts and the real culprits. During the game you will visit five locations: a pyramid, an Egyptian town, an embalmer's workshop, the construction site of a nobleman's tomb, a nobleman's home and the Temple of Amon Re. Even though these locations can be visited only once, enough time is spent in each for your goals to be accomplished successfully.

I was disappointed that there were no true puzzles to be solved other than to find one thing to do another. Challenges in the game appeared mainly in the form of navigation and conversation. Many of the scenes were too dark to be fully enjoyed, even though some of them could be illuminated by lighting a torch or lantern. There are some hidden compartments and exits to be found, items to be picked up for use later and a few maze-like passages to be travelled. While there are a few word and item riddles, the only real challenge was during the game of Senet, an Egyptian board game using tiles and markers akin to Backgammon.

As the game progressed, the music became so repetitive that I turned it off for the majority of the game. The characters were uninteresting, for the most part, with choppy features and monotonous voices. Selecting different topics did not enhance the conversation, but rather seemed to slow things down. Even the main character seemed mostly void of personality so that his fate became unimportant other than to get through to the end of the game.

Egypt has been compared to other Cryo Interactive titles Treasure Hunter and Versailles 1685, although I have not played those games myself. Overall, the game was disappointing, the only saving factors being the Egyptian architecture and history.

-- Jeanne Muse