| Egypt 1156 B.C.:
Tomb of the Pharaoh
Review by Orb
Egypt 1156 is an edutainment title that exhaustively recreates
the culture and environment of ancient Egypt in partnership with
Reunion des Musees Nationaux. There is an expansive companion
documentary zone to further study aspects touched upon by the
game. It boasts good-looking cutscenes that are one of the highlights
of the game. It also has beautiful, exotic music. These are the
best features of the game. The rest of it is mediocre at best,
agonizingly bad at worst.
The story of Egypt 1156 BC: Tomb of the Pharaoh is a mystery
to be solved. In ancient Egypt during the time of Ramses III,
tombs are being ransacked, and your character's father has been
accused of arranging the looting of the tombs. Playing as Ramose,
it is your job to find proof that your father is innocent of this
crime and to bring this evidence to the Pharaoh.
I consistently had the unpleasant sensation of exasperation as
I moved through this game. A number of areas were impossibly dark,
or absurdly identical, almost as though the designers resorted
to visual trickery in lieu of well constructed ideas. As for gameplay
itself, the direction of the game is very linear, and the player
is pretty much led by the nose from one location to the next,
each with its inherent design flaws: too dark, too repetitious,
often with grainy images.
There are dead ends in Egypt 1156. There are a specific
number of clues that must be collected, and if any of these are
missed, you may not return to earlier areas to look for them.
Instead, you must restart or load an earlier saved game.
Puzzles in the game are inventory-based, and they are original.
Unfortunately, the inventory system reduces the items to tiny
white outlines in orange boxesugly and indecipherable. Luckily,
there is an onscreen description of each item when the cursor
is run over it, as otherwise it would be a complete mystery.
As for game controls, the game has something called an "Omni
3D Engine." What this actually means, I soon discovered,
is "spin around like a nut until you throw up," even
on the very lowest possible setting. How fun. In fact, the wrong
move with the cursor can cause the game view to twist and spin
wildly out of control, so while playing you must be ever mindful
to keep the cursor very close to the center of the screen and
not near the outward edges. And let me tell you what that trick
does for any possible immersiveness one might otherwise experience.
There is a horrible mapping systemyou have to spin in a
circle while running the cursor over pixelated lumps that are
locations to visit, looking for a slight change in cursor and
font of the name of each lump to determine which is the one that
is open to be visited at that time. And since the game is very
linear, only one is open next, and the game controls when the
map is accessed, not the player. Why even bother with a map at
all if the player cannot go to it when she wishes and can only
go to the next place she's supposed to? Why not just send her
to the next scene and cut out the mind-numbing spinning pixel
Another bizarre and confusing thing that the game has going for
it, in a twisted hall of mirrors sort of way, is that all of the
male characters in the game have eerily identical faces, looking
strangely like cartoonist Bill Griffith's Zippy
the Pinhead. Talk about disconcerting. Of course it would
be very Zippy-like to shoot from one location to another all the
while talking to himself, so that would be okay, except that the
game is so darned humorless that you just know this wasn't
done on purpose. And if it was, it was most likely done with the
belief that we would be too stupid to notice that everyone in
ancient Egypt seemed to have the same father.
One of the better portions of the game concerns playing a game
of Senet against the computer, with a board and stone pieces.
Senet was played originally in ancient Egypt, and this was a fun
and entertaining puzzle to include in the game.
This is a very somber and overly serious little game. Egypt
1156 explores ground covered by a number of other, better-built,
games, including Riddle
of the Sphinx and Secrets
of the Luxor. My suggestion is you pick up one
of those, where they can be found, and skip this one. Unless,
of course, you'd like to spin around in a dark, frustrating country
populated by strangely identical but unrelated men.
Release Date: 1997
Four Fat Chicks Links
Pentium 90 (133 recommended)
16 MB RAM
4X CD-ROM drive (8X recommended)
SVGA, thousands of colors
2 MB video memory
Sound card recommended
Power Macintosh 68040
12 MB RAM
4X CD-ROM drive
Thousands of colors
System 7.1 or later
Soundmanager 3.0 or later
Where to Find It
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