Written by  :  Jeanne (76613)
Written on  :  Feb 03, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Another Egyptian adventure? This one is better than the rest.

The Good

Riddle of the Sphinx really surprised me. I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much, or that it would take me so long to finish.

The game is based in Egypt but deals only with the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx and the mysteries within them that have perplexed historians for decades. So, never having been there, it was exciting for me to see the inside of those Wonders of the Ancient World. Just the fact that I was able to delve deeper than anyone has ever gone (or been allowed to go!) made me feel like I was trespassing on sacred ground somehow. But, in true Indiana Jones fashion, I didn’t let that feeling bother me in the least!

The story has loads of mystery and a little bit of greed and deception mixed in for good measure. Background material and clues come in the form of journals, tapes and pages which were handily left behind for you to find. I liked the fact that there wasn’t too much reading – just enough to whet my appetite.

I also liked the fact that the game was non-linear. You are able to explore anywhere in the game world that you want at any time. So if you get stuck in one area, you can move on to something else and go back later.

There are puzzles galore! And they’re all very different, I must say, and in keeping with what you would expect as “Egyptian” in design. Some of them were very challenging while others were as simple as pie. All were imaginative and luckily there were plenty of clues for solving them.

And, speaking of design, the artwork inside the pyramids is beautiful! The hieroglyphics in the tombs, glorious chambers and passages left me awestruck. The ancient artifacts and objects are realistic. And, while you’re exploring, listen to the beautiful musical score, all very Egyptian. Appropriate sound effects are added at just the right times – the crunch of sand beneath your feet, a rock door opening, liquid being poured, the hiss of a cobra (yes, Indie, snakes!). Your character can die in this game, by the way, so save often.

The game is shipped on 3 CD-Roms and I was pleased there was no disk swapping at all. The manual is nicely written and provides everything you need. The number of game saves is only limited by your hard disk size. You can type in any descriptive name and put your saves any place on your disk that you choose. This is a really nice feature that has been lacking in several other games I’ve played lately.

The Bad

Although the inventory management was very easy to use, one part kept me on my toes. I can see why the designers did it this way, but I still didn’t like it. Clicking on an inventory item with another one in your hand will make the first one go back to where you originally found it. Arghh! It look me ~forever~ to find that object and now I must go back and get it again? Live and learn, I guess. At least there’s a caution screen that warns you when this is about to happen.

The Bottom Line

ROTS, as it’s affectionately called, is a great game which I think you will enjoy, especially if you are fond of the “Myst” style of gameplay. You really feel as though you are in Egypt and inside those ancient pyramids. The gorgeous graphics and lovely music make playing a pleasure, and the story will keep you intrigued up until the very end. Personally, I can’t wait for the sequel!