MINI-REVIEW: The Egyptian Prophecy: The Fate of Ramses

G

Guest

Guest
Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

MINI-REVIEW: The Egyptian Prophecy: The Fate of Ramses

(Review copyright 2005, Andrew Plotkin <erkyrath@eblong.com>)

I didn't intend to write a review for this one. I jumped in and look, it's
an *educational* game, which is usually a fast way to lose my interest. (I
started _Egypt 1156 BC: Tomb of the Pharaoh_ once, and gave up almost
immediately.) Thin story piled on a bunch of historical research, and
they're *really proud* of the research.

Puzzles are a bunch of fetch-quests, strung together in the very standard
way. Plus a few puzzles with timers. I'm not opposed to a timer or two for a
good cause; but these puzzles really would have worked just the same without
them. The time limits were there solely for dramatic tension. Ennh.

Interface vaguely clumsy. (I felt like I was clicking exactly twice as often
as I should have to, getting into and out of menus.) Dialogue vaguely
clumsy. (When a person asks you for something, you have to *end the
conversation* and then select the object from your inventory. You're
constantly saying goodbye to people in the middle of talking to them.)

And then, in the middle of the game, I dropped into a
dream/mystical/prophetic sequence which is entirely beautiful, and entirely
constructed of new and original puzzles. In fact there are two of these
sequences. Both of them left me with my jaw bugging open. The scenery was
strikingly well-imagined, while still wholly in tune with Egyptian
mythology. Every puzzle was either completely new, or -- at worst -- an
interesting new variation on some puzzle theme. I *want a physical copy* of
that three-dimensional puzzle lock. It was gorgeous.

(Okay, there was the fox/chicken/corn puzzle. That was a retread. But that
was the only one.)

And the rest of the game, outside of those dream sequences, was just
standard fare. Oh, the endgame was pretty cool, with a magical battle and a
board-game puzzle. Which are good if you like timed puzzles and board games.
Which I do.

But, sheesh, did there have to be such a *contrast?* Yes, every adventure
game will have some routine "go-get-this" puzzles. You need that for pacing,
and to give the player a satisfying path between the serious brain twisters.
(And because no designer can come up with *enough* serious brain twisters to
fill an entire game.)

Only, you're supposed to mix them up. A game like this, I wanted to just
play the dream sequences, and skip over the real-world chapters. Or go back
and play a surreal-fantasy game instead.

Before I fling this up to the Net, I want to be confused about story for a
minute. I am never sure, playing these historical/fantasy/myth games, how
accurate they're being. Obviously the designers have read lots and lots of
Egyptian mythology. They have all the elements right: prophecies, gods, the
flood of the Nile. They've found rituals and spells and magical potions from
the correct period of time, and incorporated them into the plot.

But do they have the *stories* right? _The Egyptian Prophecy_ is about one
of the gods getting nasty, and trying to overturn the natural order, end the
life of Pharaoh, and destroy Egypt. Is that the sort of conflict that
Egyptians saw in their world?

I mean, "one of the gods is evil and tries to destroy the world" -- that's
very much a story of modern genre fantasy. I always get suspicious when I
see it applied to ancient mythology. The Greek and Roman gods were pretty
much all a pack of jealous back-stabbing bastards; Norse mythology has
entire races of hungry monsters who are fated to devour reality and all the
gods; and so on. Trying to cast Ares or Loki or whoever as "the evil
antagonist" is simply a mistake.

But, for all I know, this story is a direct retelling of some Egyptian myth.
I have no clue. Such is my distrust of the game industry. End of tangent.

(This review, and my reviews of other adventure games, are at
http://www.eblong.com/zarf/gamerev/index.html)

--Z


"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Andrew Plotkin <erkyrath@eblong.com> writes:

[...]

> But do they have the *stories* right? _The Egyptian Prophecy_ is
> about one of the gods getting nasty, and trying to overturn the
> natural order, end the life of Pharaoh, and destroy Egypt. Is that
> the sort of conflict that Egyptians saw in their world?

I don't know. It doesn't seem unlikely, though, does it? Do any
cultures only have good Gods? (Well, monotheistic ones, arguably, but
Christianity has Satan; I presume Islam has some kind of evil
spirits.)

Wikipedia seems to support elements of the story (or I think so;
depends on exactly what the story is):
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_mythology>,
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apep>.

[...]