Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Eye of Horus (DOS)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.7
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Written by  :  Terry Callahan (67)
Written on  :  Dec 14, 2013
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Summary

A nice attempt at platforming

The Good

This game was one of the first DOS games I've ever seen, but incidentally, not played. I remember as a young kid around 1990 or 1991, I remember visit a friend's apartment with my brother. On their computer, I saw my first set of DOS video games. Aargh, Airborne Ranger, some other games I don't remember, and Eye of Horus. I actually got and played all the other games EXCEPT for Eye of Horus, and while that didn't bother me very much, it did ingrain itself in my mind.

With that bit of personal history stated, let's get on to what I believed was good about the game. The graphics for the DOS version are OK, and the depiction of Hieroglyphs and the scenery are actually quite nice. Each part of the game has it's own pattern and it never gets monotonous at all. Though the graphics are inferior to the Amiga version, but that's understandable, since DOS-based graphics did not reach the same level until a few years later.

The game design is actually fairly interesting. Instead of jumping, you turned into a hawk (no surprise since you're Horus, the hawk headed god of myth and legend), and fly around, which makes for some interesting strategy, though you have to be in demi-human form in order to pick up anything. The story itself is actually pretty interesting and well written, though you would need the manual to get it, which is absolutely essential, since there's no in-game explanation as to what you need to do to finish it. The challenge level of the game can be pretty tricky, but is not entirely unfair, though it does have its moments. The last second of the game is the exception, and it would need a lot of practice to get through.

All in all, this game is fairly average for the time, and while it does have some interesting attempts at being original, such as having no 'levels' or stages per se, but only sections divided by color that can be reaccessed over and over again if you felt you missed something in them.

The Bad

The sound in the DOS version is really bad. In 1989 when this game came out, it was obviously going to be inferior to most everything else available at the time, like Amiga or Atari ST, but there were many games at the same time that were adlib or soundblaster compatible, which makes me wonder why it wasn't made at least compatible with that, it would have certainly made for much better sound and music.

That's the main issue, perhaps a second problem in the game, the most significant, is the fact the game does have it's unfair difficulty moments. By that I don't mean the occasional annoying enemies that you have to get hit to get past (if you use the in-game power ups wisely, you should be able to get past many, if not most, of them. No, the point I'm making is that there are some unfair dead end moments in the game. There is one incident, which I will partially spoil, in the use of the red colored keys to unlock the elevators. There are two elevators that need them, and one of them leads to a room with another red key, so if you figured to use your key on that one first, you can access the other side easily. If you choose to go the other way, you can actually still go throughout the entire game until you stop to think about something you missed... and then realize you used that key in the wrong order.

That is my main problem with the game. I am not a fan of dead end situations like this unless they have a very good reason to exist, and this game does not provide the player with such a reason at all.

The only other problem is fairly minor, such as the manual's description of the power-ups (called amulets) and what they do. They aren't 100% clear at certain times, but some of them do at least provide a good idea what they're supposed to do, which is why I plan on writing a guide for this game describing them to the best of my ability.

A final comment, more of a nitpick than anything else since I didn't really think it a negative point... but Set in the game assumes the form of a Chinese dragon? It doesn't make much sense to me, since I'm sure they would have been able to find some cool Ancient Egyptian creature to choose for him.

The Bottom Line

I... wouldn't really. This game is highly obscure to begin with, but I guess I'm being unfair.

I would describe as a platformer with an Ancient Egyptian theme going to it. If you're a fan of Ancient Egyptian mythology, you might be able to see the fact that it is based on the real myth of Osiris being cut into pieces and having to be pieced together again by Horus, as well as the fact that Set and Horus were mortal enemies and that Set really did take the form of various creatures to attack Horus.