Release date: 10/2001
USK: ages 6 and up
A review by slydos 30th January 2002
The gamemakers have discovered the Egypt adventure game for children! Apart from almost contemporaneous released "Sethi and the Secret of the Pharao" by USM and "Lumie in Egypt" of Luminar, Cryo also wants to interest the age group starting from 6 years in this topic. "Egypt Kids" is the first game in a new series with the title "Kids Historical Adventures" from Cryo. This in co-operation with the Réunion of the Musées Nationaux developed new series is meant as supplement of the already released historical adventure series for adults (Versailles, China, Pompei, Egypt).
Cryo wants to present the grand cultures in child-fair form. Therefore already used sceneries and actors (here from Egypt 2) are connected with a new story, which always starts in the children's room of our main character. You take over the role of a name-, face and sexless child (only some hair blink from under the blanket), that is brought to bed by its mom after a long day. And each time, when we fall asleep, our friend Dragoo awakes from his crate and abducts us into a far-away world unbeknown to our parents. Dragoo belongs to a magic civilization with special forces, which enable him and others to travel through time. Dragoo and his friends visit all important historical ages and if they find nice children, they stay for a while with them.
Dragoo just received a message from his cousin Hippo, who's just living in Heliopolis of the year 1360 B.C.. Hippo has a friend named Nay, who is missing for some days. He is very much concerned about her and asks Dragoo to help. Dragoo requests the gamer to accompany him and that's where the adventure begins.
The main menu
4 save slots
The installation of the game from CD ran smoothly under Windows ME. One needs 360 MB for the minimum installation, for the full installation 515 MB free fixed disk space.
You arrive at the main menu, in which you can begin or continue a game, open the Egypt guide or the workshops, adjust sound volume or quit the game. The game is mouse-controlled with one exception, with which I will cater to more detailed later.
The adventure takes 5 nights - it is thus divided into 5 chapters. After each chapter you'll return to the bedroom and are asked if you want to continue or leave the game. The lively dragon Dragoo however explains all possibilities so exactly to us that we actually don't have to look into the detailed manual. A click on Dragoo let us start the time journey and we're pushed into the roads of Heliopolis.
The mouse pointer transforms into an arrow, if we can move in another direction, shows up as hand -, mouth or wheel cursor if we can take something, speak or use an object. From time to time the cursor becomes a camera - in some places one can take photos, which are added to the Egypt guide, that we always carry with us. The inventory is located at the bottom of the screen.Constantly moving Dragoo is placed in the very left corner of the area where he stores taken objects. On the right of the inventory there are buttons, which can take you to the main menu, in order to e. g. save a game. Four save slots are available, where you can store the current picture. Game-chapter and time are stored automatically.
During "Egypt Kids" we'll receive a city map from Heliopolis at a certain point, which can be accessed by clicking on another icon in the inventory. Here the game's locations are drawn in, and if one of those can be visited, it's shown by a marker. A simple mouse-click on this area will bring you to the scenery. Other buttons can recall Dragoos tips or open the Egypt guide.
The information in the illustrated Egypt guide is arranged both, alphabetical and according to topics: there you'll learn about trade in old Egypt, about architecture, religion, art and writing.
Another inventory button will change from the inventory object list to the question list. The icons here represent persons or items. You can question your vis-a-vis about them by dragging the icons on a person whom you want to ask. "Egypt Kids" uses the same graphic environment as Egypt 2 - but in the kids-game the gamer can only move around horizontally - no upward or downward moves possible.
Those who know Egypt 2 will feel pretty much at home here. Roads, buildings, characters and the interior of houses or temples are identical to those from Egypt 2, only the freedom of movement is restricted. The gamer is limited to certain areas of Egypt 2, which he can investigate from the same 1st-person-perspective. In Tifet's house from the Egypt 2-adventure game for example now lives the obscure slave trader Sobekhotep and the dealer at the harbour now is Nay's father, who worries about his daughter.
Apart from the well-known, real-looking environment in 360 degrees all-round visibility Dragoo introduces us also to the world of his friends, which remains undetected by the adult Egyptians. Apparently normal toys, as a river horse or a column, transform into living beings. They welcome you in their cartoon world, which is existing at the same time. There is e.g. Hippo, Nay's friend and simultaneously a dealer of many interesting things. He is worrying about Nay and will always try to help you on your search for her, if he can.
But before granting their help all those cartoon characters, such as Column, Miau or Two-Pages will ask you to play a game with them. This mini games are partially quite entertaining, as for example a kind of board game, in which one must collect certain merchandise, a Tetris-like game, a puzzle or a music game.
In each mini-game there are 3 difficulty levels and you can earn points. The most difficult of the mini-games for me was Miau's arcade game in which you have to control a boat up the river Nile against a supremacy of enemies with the 4 arrow keys and shooting with the spacebar simultaneous. Unfortunately you are trapped here until you manage to bring it to a happy ending. "Egypt Kids" is an absolute linear game and if you can't win the mini-games at least once, the adventure won't continue. But even on the easiest level I saw uncountable Game-Over-screens and after one week of desperate effort I was able to terminate Miau's game nevertheless victoriously.
Possibly no difficulty for experienced arcade gamers and fast-reacting kids, but I almost gave up here. It would be desirable, if one could bring the adventure to the end, without being a keyboard master, because one is curious, if Nay can be saved and what's about the mysterious mummy ghost.
In order to be able to progress in the adventure, not only the mini games (altogether 5) have to be completed but also the so-called "workshops". There are again five of this kind of puzzles. You must find some objects, that you can only get after successfully completing a task from a certain professional section of the interlocutors. So e.g. you have to assemble a sun temple model for the architect or translate hieroglyphics for the scribe. There are 3 difficulty levels and you can also earn points here.
Like the Egypt guide this workshops belong to the learn-sections of the game and are quite easy to master. They can be played repeatedly, same as the mini games, even if already successfully terminated. In opposite to the mini-games the workshops are quite well integrated into the game and have at least a reference to the story. I find it quite unfortunate that there must be such inserts so often in adventure games meant for children, which interrupt the game and rather prevent concentration and idenfication with the characters then promote it.
The actual adventure part of "Egypt Kids" has an exciting story, in which you must find Nay, an adventurous member of a child gang, and solve the mystery around a mummy ghost at the same time. You have to explore the environment, find and use objects and speak with other characters. The puzzles of the adventure section are somewhat more simple than in Egypt 2, which isn't very difficult either. In the main you have to ask the correct questions and visit the correct places.
If you get stuck, then the always babbling Dragoo will help surely. He doesn't hold back very much and that is quite nerving sometimes. As soon as you enter a new location, at which you can find an important object, the freedom of movement is cut until Dragoo tells you, what you can find here. You often have to listen to that, before even be able to look around and spot the object for yourself. Thus the search for items is sometimes quite corrupted. Here I would have expected that perhaps Dragoo gives a hint after the gamer's demand, but not before you at all could make your own thoughts about it. If one at least could have switched off Dragoo's voice - he betrays simply too much too fast! One should even concede some selfinitiative and researcher spirit to a six-year old!
The nervous Dragoo is constantly and noisily eating snacks. This was very disturbing within a music puzzle, where one has to differentiate between some very similar musical instruments and the constant "boiiing" and "krrz, krrz" wasn't very helpful during this action.
In the whole it's an entertaining game with the nice graphics of "Egypt 2" and a new, interesting story. The likewise new cartoon world and its lovable inhabitants are a beautiful supplement. The price-/output relation is also correct with approx. 24 Euro. However partly the joy of solving puzzles was taken, since Dragoo betrayed too much too early and so the grey cells were only required rather during the "workshops" as in the actual game and the mini games weren't really connected to the story. The Egypt guide is expertly designed by specialists in well understandable form and can be also used alone as reference book.
My rating: 64%
- 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)
- Windows 98/2000
- Pentium II 300 Mhz
- 64 MB RAM
- 3D 8 MB graphic card
- DirectSound compatible sound card
- 8x CDROM-drive
- Mouse, keyboard
- 400 MB free psace on hard disk
- DirectX 8 (on CD)
- Pentium III 850
- 128 MB RAM
- Sound- and graphic cards DirectX-compatible
- Toshiba DVD-ROM