Written by  :  ETJB (450)
Written on  :  Mar 01, 2010
Platform  :  Windows 3.x
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Laura Bow moves to the Big City

The Good

The Colonel's Bequest (1989) is an underappreciated classic, graphic adventure game created by Roberta Williams and published by Sierra. In it, spunky student Laura Bow visits her flapper friend and her eccentric family on their posh estate. Naturally, this weekend getaway quickly descends into a murder mystery. The Dagger of Amon Ra is the second and, sadly, final entry in the series. Having graduated from college, Laura Bow is now a reporter for a big city newspaper where she investigates a new murder mystery involving a new cast of eccentric characters, with their own secrets, and, as the title suggests, Egyptology. The sequel features improved graphics and sound, along with an engaging storyline that weaves in a 1920s society that is both realistic history and glamorized Hollywood. Gone is the pesky requirement that all commands must be typed, with a new, more, user friendly, point n’ click interface. The CD-ROM version also adds some fine voice acting to the mix.

The Bad

As is typical of many classic Sierra adventure games, Laura Bow will die often and face certain puzzles that are difficult only because they are too abstract or illogical. The point n’ click interface beats having to type in commands, but having to repeatedly flip through the Laura Bow notebook for a noun is a cumbersome method of asking other people questions. In terms of the story, The Dagger of Amon Ra is not sure if it wants to depict the 1920’s accordingly to history or Hollywood. Case in point; the game does an excellent job addressing the sexism that Laura Bow, as a woman, would face. Yet, when it comes to depicting the 1920s in terms of race, class and sexual orientation, the game seems to be returning to a sanitized Hollywood where celluloid innuendos and gentlemen’s agreements ruled the day.

The Bottom Line

The Dagger of Amon Ra is an enjoyable point n’ click, graphic adventure game. The graphics and sound do their job well, but will probably not win any awards. Likewise the voice acting is good, but not above some cheesy dialogue and stereotypical accents. It stands out for its heroine, in an industry where damsels in distress are far more common, and its period storyline that, while not always historically accurate, does create an engaging murder-mystery atmosphere.