Volume II, Number 3 March 1st, 2001
by Mary Kay Radnich
Build a Kingdom. Rule the Nile.
I am not much of a game player. I cant handle much more than a game or two of "Go Fish" with my daughter. I like thinking games, and my favorite all-time game is Password, so if you know what that is, you are, like me, showing your "maturity."
Computer games and simulation games are completely new to me. Last summer, I was shopping with my family at a large computer store and spotted "PHARAOH," a part of the city-building series by Impressions Games and Sierra Studios. Of course, I was inspired by the opportunity to "build a kingdom, rule the Nile" and so we not only purchased the game, but also the official expansion sequel, CLEOPATRA.
We came home, loaded up the game and my husband played. I kept my distance. My 4th grader played. I kept my distance. My best friend from high school, Sherra, came for a visit and she played. (She is a real game player, as she knows how to play bridge and has won at MYST.) I saw more of the back of her head than her face on that visit we could barely pry her away from the computer. She loved the game so much that when she returned to her town, she went out and bought her own game.
Meanwhile, this winter I decided that it was time to overcome my game-o-phobia and try this Pharaoh. And I was pleasantly surprised.
I started by reading the instruction manual while waiting one Saturday morning at a swim meet. That gave me a good overview of the game, even if I couldnt remember all of the details. Then, my daughter showed me how to start and helped me boot it up, etc. (She loves to show mommy what to do.) We opted for the easiest level of difficulty.
The opening graphics and animations of the game are great. It was reminiscent of the animations in the movie, Prince of Egypt. You are treated to a very nice tour of the creators vision of ancient Egypt, and are greeted by the Pharaoh. You have the opportunity to pick your family name when you begin the game. Everyone must start at the beginning, the earliest dynasty and progress through the various dynasties by accomplishing your mission, as defined at the beginning of that dynasty. You get to build houses, roads, and water wells, attract wanderers who come to settle in your village, you can build temples and construct granaries. After successfully accomplishing my first challenge, I thought, this isnt so tough
As you progress through the dynasties, you are challenged with more events and people to take care of and provide for. You must have enough money in your treasury to build and even to tear something down. The ancient gods of course, must be appeased, with temples, shrines and festivals. Intruding marauders may come and attack you and the Nile will flood and affect your village. Fire stations and architects posts are also necessary to maintain your buildings, granaries and mining operations. You, the ruler of your kingdom, must consider all of these conditions and their inter-relationships, as you grow your empire. Will you be successful or not?
The graphics in Pharaoh are great. I found myself absorbed by the graphics and the music, wondering how my gold mines were doing and hmmm should I build Bast another temple to curry her favor? Oh, yes, I need some more workers and a way for feeding those workers (granaries and hunting lodges). And dont forget to entertain your villagers! They need jugglers schools and booths for performing.
I will say that after a few days on the second level, I was wondering, what more do I have to do to get through this level?? I upped the difficulty level, which caused some of my buildings to burn or collapse, however, I was able to continue providing for my people. I discovered that, at the beginning of the game, is a link to the Pharaoh site. So I went to this link, hosted by Impression Games, and found lots of useful information and knowledge, not the least of which is the button for the cheat codes on the sidebar of the site. I am not going to say too much about those codes, other than that when you play the game, be sure to try out "Hippo Stomp" and "Side Show." The geniuses behind this game have a good sense of humor, too.
The Nile, the Moon and Sirius: The Ancient Egyptian Calendar By Richard Weininger
The Egyptian Traveler's Survival Kit By Jimmy Dunn
The Tomb of Nefertari By Paul Groffie
Palace of the Sun King By Dr. Joann Fletcher
The Ecological Context of Ancient Egyptian Predynastic settlements By Michael Brass
Tunnel Vision By Ralph Ellis & Mark Foster
The Queens of Egypt - Part II By Dr. Sameh Arab
Cross Staff and Plumbline and the Great Pyramid By Crichton E M Miller
Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn
Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes
Book Reviews Various Editors
Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman
Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich
Hotel Reviews By Juergen Stryjak
Egyptian Exhibitions By deTraci Regula
Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad
Nightlife Various Editors
Restaurant Reviews Various Editors
Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak
Web Reviews By Siri Bezdicek
Last Updated: June 9th, 2011