|Interface||1st 360 simple||Real-time||minor|
You play Tifet, a priestess-physician in Pharaonic Egypt. You receive a letter from your father. He is very ill, and expects to die soon. He wants to see you one last time. You dash off to Heliopolis to see him. With time short, you search for a diagnosis, a cause, and a cure. You soon discover that it is a potential epidemic, and that there is a conspiracy behind it.
Most of the game is spent running back and forth between your father's neighbourhood and the temple. The temple houses the medical library and is the usual haunt of the head priest, Meryre, a local authority and effectively your boss. This allows a few of the characters to develop a bit of personality. They're nicely done, well rounded characters, not icons or caricatures. This realism is also reflected in their physical presentation.
The plot is straightforward, but not trivial. It develops continuously, helped along by many triggers, small dialogs, and small cutscenes. There are no big info-dumps.
The story might motor along nicely, but Egypt hits a brick wall in the game department. There are few significant challenges, and many of are spectacularly uncreative: a slider, a fluid measuring puzzle, and beating drums in time to music.
The game is just about completely linear. Despite this, or maybe because of it, you spend too much time looking around for the next trigger. Meryre tends to move around the temple, so you have to go looking for him every time you need to see him -- you can't just ask his aide, who is usually in the central courtyard.
The game engine is well done. The graphics are pleasant, giving a good presentation of ancient Egyptian life. This is supposed to be something of an edutainment product, after all. The voice acting is very good, and the music is pleasant and effective. The inventory is easily accessed, and can combine items, and even gives close ups and text names for most items. Unlike the preceeding Egypt 1156, you can readily access the infobase from the main playing screen.
Some very minor engine quibbles: I don't like the momentum effect when you look around, it just makes me motion sick. In the same department, while it might be optically correct, psychologically the scene "warping" as you look up or down is excessive. Finally, I wish they would go beyond 640x480 -- well, maybe that should be "could" for 2000, but we have DVDs now.
This would have made a fine graphic novel. The game side, unfortunately, is a perfunctory appendix. Fortunately, you can probably find it for the same price as the equivalent graphic novel, and it's probably worth the "read".