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Egypt 3 - Egyptian Prophecy


Release date Germany: 04/2004
Developer: Kheops Studio
Publisher: Dreamcatcher Interactive
Game language and manual: German

Homepage


USK: 6 years and up

 

 

 

 

A review by slydos   1st June 2004

 

Almost 4 years after Egypt 2 and 7 years after the first part - The Tomb of the Pharao (both published then under the name of the company Cryo) - Dreamcatcher and the developers of Kheops Studios abduct us again to the Nile, this time into one of the heydays of Egypt, the time of Ramses II. Asking today a native taxidriver for the legendary pharao, then he will bare his white teeth and call himself a descendant of the king. And why not? Ramses II. had many women and is credited a crowd of children, who could fill more than one village.

 

Story of the game

But as fertile as Ramses II. may have been, in his 60s he sees his end come near. And he makes for Abu Simbel, to ask Egypt's highest God, Amun-Re, for a longer life. The god promises him health and a long rule up to his 80th year, if he establishes the largest obelisk, that humans have ever created, before the Shemu Time. And Ramses commands the production and erection of this enormous stone needle. But the project comes to a standstill, it seems to be cursed. Ramses sends the young sorceress Maya to protect the obelisk and ensure that it can be set up in time. Maya visits the master builder Paser in Pi-Ramses, because he is the only man, who can accomplish this enormous project. But Paser is affected by a serious disease and cannot supervise the work any longer. Maya must use all her forces to prevent the death of the Pharao that would mean the fall of the country too ...

 

Installation/start

Egypt 3 - The Fate of Ramses, as the German version is titled, comes on 3 CDROMs along with the German manual in a flap-box holding a map of ancient Egypt from the Mediterranean to Abu Simbel. The installation procedure of the minimum 1.3 GB and maximal 1.9 GB runs smoothly. You hardly notice that you have to leave CD3 in the drive for copy protection, because after the installation no more CD change is needed here.

We first have to select one of 5 player slots before reaching the main menu. Here it is already possible to adjust the sound and graphics settings or visit the document data base, which deals with the most important historical topics addressed in the game. If we start a new game, Khâemouaset, a son of Ramses and high priest of the God Ptah, writes down the story of his father and the sorceress Maya accompanied by dramatic music, while we - or better the camera - enter the nearly 60 meters deep temple of Abu Simbel and the sun illuminates the 4 gods in the sanctuarium (actually this repeats February and October of each year). We get to know that Ramses' prayers were answered and he orders Maya to take care of the obelisk. She enters the temple of Pi-Ramses after the exciting intro, on search for the master builder Paser.

 

Controls

Egypt 3 is exclusively and very comfortably controlled by mouse. We see the scenery from 1st-person-view, and can pan steplessly in all directions with easy mouse movements - also upward and down. The variable cursor constantly indicates the panning direction by an arrow. A flashing arrow cursor marks spots that we can reach. Other hotspots are likewise made clear by the cursor shape, if we e.g. can look at areas more closer, take up objects into our inventory or can talk to other characters.

An action bar in shaped like the wings of Isis opens at the bottom of the screen by a clicks with the right mouse button. The left wing shows the inventory with 8 simultanously visible objects. If there should be more, what only happened once during the game, one can scroll through it by arrow. On the right wing 8 substitute symbols for spells are already present at the beginning. Maya possesses only the gift of clairvoyance at the start. She gets further magic powers during the course of the game and can place them on the right wing to use them more than one time.

In the center of the action bar there are 4 icon-shaped functions: a magnifying glass, in order to zoom inventory items, a scribe palette to open the document data base, a task book, to get real time recordings of the game actions and hints, and last but not least the icon of the main menu. If our cursor rests on an object or a icon for a longer time, a text description of the item is faded in.

Explanations of special rules for some mini games are given by help buttons faded in at the beginning of each game. Even if one should die in these games, one always restarts from the beginning of the sequence. Therefore it's not necessary, to save the game often, what is however possible through the save and load options of the main menu at any time and unrestrictedly. If you save the game, a picture of the actual scene, the number of the chapter, date and time are stored automatically. If one should have left the game once without saving explicitly, then one can return over the main menu directly to the point where you've left the game.

Dialogues and film sequences can be skipped with the right mouse button or space bar. Returning to Windows works on push of a button without delay from the main menu.

In the document data base you orientate by menu options and arrow navigation, just like in the task book. A perfect handling, executable without looking up in the manual! It leaves the players in full concentration on the game.

 

Graphics

It would be surprising, if nothing would have been improved graphically compared to the 4 years old predecessor game. Of course it has. In the frequently embedded excellent cutscenes we become acquainted with our heroine on the Nile barque, whose black hair you can pinpoint nearly singly in the wind and whose blue eyes derive from the Hittite side of her ancestors. She moves lithtesome and lithesome too her nearly transparent seeming dress flows, only scarcely veiling her breasts in the very style of Egyptian murals and papyri.

Like her antecessor Tifet in Heliopolis, with Maya again a female heroine is selected, but fans of the other sex are also provided with a few cute NPCs, who however weren't attended by the developers with so much high diligance as Maya. Other characters are relative rare, there are about 15 speaking and just as many mute characters at the 6 main game locations. I had actually expected, to catch at least a short glimpse of the living Ramses, but he exclusively comes across us in the richly illustrated document archives in shape of his mummy and a mural.

Starting point is Pi-Ramses, the today destroyed and completely scattered around Egypt seat of the government of Ramses with its typical temple and sanctuary. The white city of Memphis with the sanctum of Ptah and the Nilometer and the village Aswan with its quarries. Beside this historically confirmed and probably also realistically designed places, Maya also enters the realms of different gods: the lava world of the forging God Ptah, the wonderfully nocturnal water world of Isis with sea-roses, reed pistons and blooms where bees look for nectar and the surrealistic dead realm of Osiris.

Cutscenes and exciting game sequences are accompanied by dramatic music, which represent the oriental atmosphere well. The noises of the stone-cutters or animal sounds animate the scenarios in addition.

 

Puzzles

You'll slide through Egypt 3, as through a piece of butter. Without on-line hints or walkthrough beginners will hardly need more than 8 hours. The object-/inventory puzzles are extremely simple. Objects cannot be combined within the inventory and disappear immediately after use. We nearly always know, what we are looking for and if we are once exeptionally unaware, the program calls our attention to the issue: a dramatic fanfare sounds and the camera is focused automatically on a hotspot. In addition there are tips like: "Oh, some stones. Those could be useful later. I'll better take a few with me!". Thereupon one only has to click on the stones. Now one surely also knows that the following puzzle must be somehow solved with stones. Dreamcatcher has no mercy with players, who would like to rack their brains sometimes by themselves. It would have been a good idea, if there would have been two difficulty levels (with and without announcement) for such cases.

The dialogues, relative scarce in number and length, can serve as puzzle preparation. It's possible that interlocutors, you've already talked to, later offer new information for the players. Often clues can also be found in the document data base. All puzzles are by the way very well interlaced into the story and even some few mini games, as e.g. a board game fight with an enchanted snake, are no foreign matters. Even if you should die here, you'll restart nevertheless automatically again at the starting point of the board game.

The mini games are a rather welcome challenge. Besides we find another modified slider puzzle, a melody sequence to memorize and the well-known ferryman riddle (used last in BS3). One cannot change between the scenes by oneself, but is held until one has solved the respective tasks. It gets really exciting during a time-dependent task, in which Maya must produce as soon as possible an antidote for herself.

Contrary to inventory objects Maya can use magic spells more than one time, particularly in a spell fight, in which she must answer with the correct saying to the opposing magic.

As to puzzles, Egypt 3 is a beginner's game, which offers indeed varied tasks, which however hardly exceed the degree of difficulty of the kids adventure Egypt Kids and so even make fun for the age group starting from 6 years.

 

Document data base

Egypt 3 differs from its predecessors by the contents of the learning part, or in this case better called document data base. It's based on the knowledge of an Egyptian at the time of Ramses II and gives e.g. also background information on the fictitious characters of the game. The result is, that there are no dates contained in it, e.g. about the reign of the Pharao, what I personally missed very much. As reference book and hint disposer the data base is surely helpful during the game, but those who search a few facts about the epoch, should rather fall back on other materials. This time one finds more about the Egyptian set of beliefs, their Gods and their magic. Just at the beginning of the game repeatedly the word 'Naos' is used for the internal temple area. It wouldn't have been bad, if the data base would have supplied information about that and one could have find these infos alphabetically or by search function.

 

Technical notes

Egypt 3 ran on my system without errors or crashes.

 

Result

Honestly said, I thought I must scream, if I would come across another Egypt game next time, since the topic really doesn't earn the innovation award. Well, it wasn't that bad. Egypt 3 connects in very entertaining way historically proved facts and realistically designed buildings of the Ramses era with a ficticious plot with Gods and magic as realities. The mixture of facts and fiction is felicitous, only the personal appearance of the title hero 'Ramses' is missing. The time pressure for Maya and the possibility to die here and there makes the game more exciting than its predecessors. With perfect handling and simple puzzles Egypt 3 distinguishes as family game or game for beginners, even for the young players starting from 6. The story is not boring for advanced adventure gamers, but the fast walkover will limit their fun. They should play other Dreamcatcher games e.g. The Omega Stone. 

 

Rating: 72 %

 

Adventure-Archiv rating system:

  • 80% - 100%  excellent game, very recommendable
  • 70% - 79%    good game, recommendable
  • 60% - 69%    satisfactory, restricted recommendable
  • 50% - 59%    sufficient (not very recommendable)
  • 40% - 49%    rather deficient (not to be recommended - for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
  • 0%  -  39%    worst (don't put your fingers on it)

 

 

Minimal systemrequirements:

  • Pentium III 600 Mhz or similar PC
  • WIN 98SE/ME/2000/XP
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 1,3 MB free space on hard disk
  • 16-x CDROM-drive
  • Soundcard DirectX 7 compatible
  • 3D graphic card with 32 MB

Played on:

  • Windows XP
  • P IV 1,6 GHz
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
  • nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
  • Sound card DirectX-compatible

 

Copyright © slydos for Adventure-Archiv, 1st June 2004

 

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Player selection
Player selection

 

 

Saving and loading
Saving and loading

 

 

At the beginning Maya is only clayrvoyant
At the beginning Maya is only clayrvoyant

 

 

It all starts in the temple of Pi-Ramses
It all starts in the temple of Pi-Ramses

 


Paser is very ill
Paser is very ill

 

 

The document data-base also describes the NPCs of the game
The document data-base also describes the NPCs of the game

 



To have a closer look at an inventory object
To have a closer look at an inventory object

 

 

While Maya is travelling we see the map of the river Nile
While Maya is travelling we see the map of the river Nile

 

 

We have to search some houses
We have to search some houses

 

 

Tuya can make magic potions
Tuya can make magic potions

 



Maya was bitten by a snake and must make an antidote quickly
Maya was bitten by a snake and must make an antidote quickly

 



Not quick enough - Maya is dying!
Not quick enough - Maya is dying!

 

 

A mechanical puzzle
A mechanical puzzle


Maya in the lava world of the god Ptah
Maya in the lava world of the god Ptah


Two interlocutors
Two interlocutors

 

Isis
Isis

 

 

Maya in the world of the dead - doesn't it look a bit like Matrix?
Maya in the world of the dead - doesn't it look a bit like Matrix?

 

 

 

More screenshots