In the spirit of games like The Sacred Amulet and Beyond Atlantis, Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharaoh offers breathtaking scenery and an overabundance of educational tidbits. The mystery is set in one of the most intriguing cultures ever to exist on Earth -- ancient Egypt.
Half the fun of playing is simply looking at the surrounding architecture and hieroglyphics that seem so real you feel as if you're actually there. In some areas, you can even see in-progress Egyptian carvings or drawings that give you an idea of what the process might have entailed. Just as in The Sacred Amulet, the game includes an encyclopedia of facts outlining Egyptian history and culture with the focus on the period surrounding the game. Objects defined in the encyclopedia are found throughout the adventure and are used to solve puzzles.
At the beginning, while investigating a tomb, you receive a note with a missing piece. By examining your surroundings, you find images on the walls that correspond to the note; by placing the note over the image and clicking, the missing element is revealed. With this completed, you then show the stone you found to one of the two men in the tomb and receive a ring that gives you access to the town. In early levels, much of the game revolves around deciphering this note and putting together the different clues.
Some of the puzzles really test your deductive powers. In Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharaoh, you show other characters items you've found in order to gain additional insight and need to be incredibly observant of every inch of the area you're exploring. At times, you discover certain interactive items or areas that offer more information to be used in solving part of the puzzle.
Unlike DreamCatcher titles like Beyond Atlantis, you can be killed in this adventure. If you're not observant in the opening sequence and fail to pick up the plank at the entrance to the tomb, you fall in a pit and die. You must also keep your mind on the case and exhibit rational behavior. For example, if you accept the woman innkeeper's offer of pleasure, your character will next be seen wandering around drunk and be condemned.
The game is easy to control if you change the Omni3D speed option from the "normal" default at the beginning of the game. Not doing so will result in a wildly jerking screen and sudden movements of the mouse cursor, making the game difficult to control. Simply change the speed to "very slow" and control becomes much easier. The Omni3D option seems to be related to different mouse sensitivities.
Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharaoh is another slow-moving yet masterfully drawn game by DreamCatcher. It may not appeal to those who bore easily, because patience is the virtue needed to solve the case. If you're fascinated by ancient Egyptian culture, however, the game is a "must have." The graphics are very well done and look as good on an 8MB video card as they do on one with 64MB.
Finally, the educational value can't be overlooked. The encyclopedia offers a plethora of facts and interesting snippets of information. The era drips with mystery and intrigue, and the game offers a wonderful opportunity to explore Egypt as it might have been in 1156 B.C.
Graphics: Very detailed environments give you close up looks of hieroglyphics. You also travel in night and day, through deserts, towns and tombs. Character animation is done well with a good flair for detail (e.g., some characters even have yellow teeth).
Sound: Of course, few gamers would understand the ancient Egyptian language so, fortunately, it's all done in English. The actors do a decent job and the music is great, although it's current Egyptian-style music that fits well with the atmosphere.
Enjoyment: The enjoyment depends on your interest in Egyptian culture. For those fascinated by it, the rating would be higher but for others, the enjoyment factor would be lower. The game does require some patience before the adventure begins to flow.
Replay Value: After the mystery is solved, you can use the encyclopedia to read about the culture. In terms of gameplay, though, nothing is gained by replaying.
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