Egypt III PC CD-ROM
by Dreamcatcher Europe
Developed by KHEOPS Studio
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99
For a genre that's supposed to be dead you sometimes get the impression that adventure games are making something of a Lazarus style comeback in recent years. After having nothing at all for so long new games have begun to emerge on a fairly regular basis. In fact we have two adventure games in for review here at Deaf Gamers. The first of these games is Egypt III. I have to be honest here and say that I haven't played either of the first two games in the series but this isn't necessary as the game is a self contained story and doesn't require any previous knowledge of the first two games. Anyway enough babble it's time, for a very pleasant change, to take a look at an adventure game.
Egypt III put you in the role of Maya, a gifted clairvoyant, who has been asked to carry out a task for the Pharaoh, Ramses II. Ramses II is an old man and has pleaded with the god Amun-Re to grant him extra years to live. Amun-Re has agreed to another 20 years reign for Ramses II providing Ramses II can erect a great obelisk in his honour before the season of Shemu. Not a problem for one of the Pharaohs who was responsible for some of Egypt's greatest monuments you might think. However the project seems doomed and from the very beginning seems to be cursed. In fact it is cursed and a jealous god is doing his best to sabotage the project. Paser the architect who is the only one who has the knowledge to erect the obelisk has been taken ill and no one can cure him. Further accidents have also occurred and the quest to gain Pharaoh an extended reign seems as if it's going to fail. Maya has been entrusted with sorting the whole thing out as she has the ability to see things that others can't.
The last adventure game we looked at, the third installment in the Broken Sword series, was a disappointment for any seasoned adventure gamer. Whilst it was essentially a good game the puzzles had really been dumbed down and mostly consisted of block pushing. Thankfully Egypt III contains some real puzzles and whilst none are ridiculously difficult there are some that will make you think. Most of the time you'll be obtaining items for various people in the usual style of adventure gaming. What I really appreciated about Egypt III is that the various components needed to solve a puzzle are all to be found in the same area so it's not necessary to move between various locations in order to find a certain item. This helps to keep frustration to a minimum, which is always appreciated and it shows that the developers have put a lot of thought into the puzzles.
Graphically Egypt III uses pre-rendered 3D backgrounds with animated characters. Those who've played games such as the Myst series or games such as The Secret of the Nautilus will know exactly what to expect. Basically you play from a first person perspective and you don't actually walk as such but instantly move from one fixed position to another. But you can rotate your view through 360 degrees to allow you to observe your surroundings. The game doesn't need a 3D graphics card to run as it has a 2D mode but this looks fuzzier and slightly less impressive than the 3D mode. The graphics look great for an adventure game and the style of the interface really suits the Egyptian theme of the game. Best of all though your 3D card doesn't need to be that impressive as I played the whole thing on a GeForce 4 MX440 and it performed very nicely.
Adventure games have almost always been deaf gamer friendly and Egypt III is no exception. Subtitles can be enabled and as a result of this you'll be able to fully enjoy the story. Having just completed the game only yesterday I can say there is only one puzzle that relies on the ability to hear and even this is possible for deaf gamers. It's a puzzle where items have to placed in certain locations and as there are only three items in question, for deaf gamers it will be a case of employing a process of elimination rather than making use of the clues the sounds provide. Basically the challenge is to retrieve the magical Dolerite ball for the god Ptah. In order to do this you'll have to progress through three rooms. The final room requires you to recreate some music by creating sounds in a specific order. Hearing gamers will of course be able to hear the sounds and this will help them in solving the puzzle. Of course this is not ideal for deaf gamers but it's by no means impossible. The game also provides you with a Documentary Database that provides you with some relevant Egyptian history as well as occasionally providing you with a clue or two. After completing the game you'll also have a Victory Diary which summarises the events of the game. The information in both the Documentary Database and the Victory Diary is both pictorial and textual so there's no problems for deaf gamers. Occasionally you'll get a puzzle that is kind of a game and on these occasions, there are text instructions explaining exactly what needs to be done.
I found Egypt III to be an enjoyable game and I actually appreciated a modern adventure game having decent puzzles for a change (only Syberia has offered decent puzzles in the last few years). The only thing I would say against the game is that it's not that long. Seasoned adventure gamers will have the game completed in less than eight hours, which is disappointing. What magnifies this shortness is that the story is actually an interesting one and once started you'll be enthusiastic to keep playing. On the subject of the story it was great to see an unexpected twist in the latter part of the game which makes for an exciting finish. Even taking into account the shortness and the one slightly problematic puzzle that we mentioned in the last paragraph I would still recommend Egypt III to fans of the genre. It's a reminder of what adventure games can be when they aren't dumbed down or resorting to Tomb Raider style jumping and block moving puzzles.
Game Rating: 8.0/10
A well thought out, Egyptian flavoured adventure game with solid puzzles and an interesting story. Shame it doesn't last longer though.
There is one slightly problematic puzzle that makes use of sound but this can be overcome through a process of elimination. The game is fully subtitled.