🕹️ New release: Lunar Lander Beyond


aka: Farao, Faraon, Faraó, Faraón, Pharao, Pharaon
Moby ID: 538
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 4/23 2:57 AM )

Description official descriptions

The fourth in Impressions Games' city building series, Pharaoh takes place in ancient Egypt. Take on the role of a family and follow it through Egypt's dynasties, perform well and one day you might become pharaoh! This is a SimCity-like game, but offers much more. Manage trade, immigration, farming and the military, all while building grand monuments.


  • Фараон - Russian spelling
  • 法老 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 法老王 - Simplified Chinese spelling

Groups +




See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (Windows version)

33 People · View all



Average score: 83% (based on 27 ratings)


Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 74 ratings with 3 reviews)

Fun historical city-building sim

The Good
Pharaoh has the same addictive gameplay as Caesar III, Pharaoh's immediate predecessor. But where Caesar III had you building cities in the ancient Roman Empire, Pharaoh has you building cities in Ancient Egypt.

The game mechanics are somewhat similar to the SimCity series. You can lay down roads, zone housing, and provide infrastructure. The similarity ends there, however. Unlike the SimCity series, Pharaoh requires you to take a much more hands-on approach.

In the SimCity games, you don't have to provide anything to your citizens other than zoning and municipal infrastructure. You didn't have to provide them with food or goods -- they took care of that themselves. In Pharaoh, you have to provide all of your citizens with the things they need to live a happy, productive life, including food, religious facilities, recreation, and so on.

When you lay down housing plots, citizens will move into your city. The homes built by these first citizens are small, dirty, and prone to fire. In order to get your citizens to upgrade their houses to larger, cleaner, less risky dwellings, you have to provide them with infrastructure. First, each house must be provided with clean water from a Water Supply. Next, each house must have food from a Bazaar. Then each house must have access to basic religious facilities. And so on. As each one of these goods or services is provided, the housing evolves to more advanced forms. And more advanced housing equals more people to work your industries or more tax money from local nobles.

This "hands on" approach makes the game challenging, as it requires you to provide your citizens the services they need while simultaneously maintaining enough additional workforce to keep your industries running (since your revenue is based on exports from your industries).

Another fascinating aspect of Pharaoh is that the help section for the game contains tons of interesting facts and trivia about life during the real Ancient Egypt. If you're a history buff, you'll often find your game being put on hold as you surf through the historical info and learn about real Egyptian life 3000-4000 years ago.

The Bad
The only critique I have about the game is that the Monuments (Pyramids, the Sphinx, etc) can take a LONG time to build. Make no mistake, the Monuments are a fascinating addition to Pharaoh, and they make the game seem like more than just a city-building sim. So I'm glad they have them in the game.

But jeez, some of 'em are HUGE, and take forever to build. The Stepped Pyramid Complex took over 50 game years to complete, start to finish. You'll have a working, functional city which requires very little in the way of maintenance and monitoring within the first 10 years of any mission, which means that for long Monument construction projects you'll spend most of your time just staring at the screen, waiting for the construction to finish.

The Bottom Line
Pharaoh is a fabulous, addictive look back into the world of Ancient Egypt. Highly recommended.

Windows · by Afterburner (486) · 2001

"Caesar III Enhanced" (ENGLISH/GERMAN review)

The Good
-ENGLISH- The idea of taking the gameplay of "Caesar III" into an Egyptan scenario is quite good. There are fewer gods, what's really better than in "Caesar III" as you haven't to build a temple on each corner of a street to treat all the gods well. The trading feature is still great as it used to be in the inofficial prequel. The thing with the flood is also very cute, and water supply isn't that difficult anymore. You can ask every person you meet in the streets about how they think about your leadership.

-GERMAN- Die Idee das Spielprinzip von "Cäsar III" in ein ägyptisches Szenario ist einfach gut. Es gibt weniger Götter, was wirklich ein Fortschritt ist, da man nicht an jeder Straßenecke einen Tempel erricthen muss, um jeden Gott gnädig zu stimmen. Das Handelsfeature ist nach wie vor großartig. Die Idee mit der Flut wurde gut eingebaut, und die Wasserversorgung ist nicht mehr so fizzelig wie in den inoffiziellen Vorgängern. Du kannst jede Person in den Straßen fragen, wie sie mit dir zufrieden sind.

The Bad
-ENGLISH- If there is a big order, like building a mastaba, you just can't do anything but wait and watch the people doing their work, that's where the game gets a bit boring.

-GERMAN- Wenn ein großer Auftrag ansteht, wie der Bau einer Mastaba, kannst du nichts machen als zusehen wie dei Leute ihrer Arbeit nachgehen, hier wird dass Spiel etwas langweilig.

The Bottom Line
-ENGLISH- Build up towns in Egypt, trade with lots of goods and defend your expanding empire as you rise in your political position.

-GERMAN- Baue Städte in Ägypten, handle mit diversen Waren und verteidige dein sich ständig ausweitendes Imperium während du deine politische Karriereleiter immer weiter emporsteigst.

Windows · by DaHero (970) · 2000

...and they say drugs and smoking are addictive...there should be a government warning for this fine game!

The Good
2nd Update. Last updated: June 8, 2004.

Before I start, I'd like to point out that in my many years of gaming experience, I've never found a game quite addictive at this. Even the word "addictive" doesn't do justice to this game...I was practically GLUED to the computer for a whole dang month. Good thing it was during a school break cause I didn't go out of my room besides to get food and going to the toilet...and I also didn't turn off my computer for that whole dang month...which is quite amazing really (probably the longest was 2 weeks, but who's counting?) This game totally gave me insomnia....hahaha couldn't get my eyes off the monitor. The only time I HAD to stop playing is because my eyes were so tired, I got dizzy and faint and had to sleep. Sometimes, I wake up too early (due to anticipation to play again) and find out that my eyes haven't recovered...this is the first time in my life, I had to force myself to actually STOP playing a game...due to health reasons. Wow.

Well if addiction was the theme of this game, the developers did it with flying colors. It's a very well planned game, basically a better upgrade from Caesar III. (I made the mistake of playing this game prior to Caesar III, and believe me you can tell the difference!)

If you like governing and controlling the lives of your citizens and be a GOD! This is definitely the game for you! And guaranteed you'll never get bored (like those SimCity games...ahem).

So what's so good about this game? Hmm...well it's an upgrade of Caesar III for one. If your not familiar with that, just think city management, really micro city management where you have total control of what's happening. SimCity games is macro city management compared to this game, as there are many elements in SimCity that you cannot control, e.g. growth, etc.

In Pharaoh, your more than just a mayor of a city. You practically ARE the city and a little bit more. The game has several roles that you must juggle in a balance in order for you to succeed:

  • The Mayor: City Administrator and Architect - This is the role where you plan and plan ahead. Make sure all building have the correct radius of influence and effect, that your citizens get all the services your city has to offer and enough space and entertainment for it grow into a massive metropolis! Failing to plan carefully will mean disgruntled citizens, inefficiency which in the long run might effect your carrier or even your life.
  • Traffic Control - Building blocks is one thing, but another is making sure your citizens need to go where they should. Pharaoh introduced a major upgrade from Caesar III where you can help traffic your citizens from one area to another. Of course they still have their own minds when they walk, but you can put some useful road blocks that help direct them for maximum effect of service and influence your fellow citizens can offer.
  • Economist and Merchant - One of the best aspects of the game is making money. Resources are to be consumed and consumed they must be! Create local industry while helping lower the unemployment rate. Create goods for your citizens so they can increase their lifestyle while surplus goods are sold at the market for a high profit. Nothing feels better than hearing the sound of gold coins flowing in your treasury!
  • The General - There are a lot of envious neighbors that are quite uncivilized compared to the mighty Egyptions (too bad they degraded big time now), and sooner or later they'll send an army or two thinking they actually have a chance against Egyption chariots. Well, if your a good militarist, you'll keep them at bay. Create a legion of soldiers that will help protect your city as well as help your nation when your Pharaoh calls for aid!

The Bad
Other than not getting much sleep? Hmmm....

Well, I was expecting a little more action in the battles, 3 unit types don't just quite cut it. I wish they'd put more strategy in the combat, formations and even more units. You can have a maximum of 6 legions with 3 different unit types, which is kinda boring after one too many battles. Heroes, more units, anything to keep it more alive would be nice!

There's also that matter about that that dang irritating "bug" when loading and unloading your troops from ships...the bug usually prevents your troops from disembarking and loading. Sometimes you get lucky, often times your not.Thus, it can take forever to command those soldiers to enter and exit your warships...

Other than that, pretty much fine...not that I'm complaining or anything but those pyramids really do take a long time to build, even for a game...hahaha

The Bottom Line
Caution: 1. Extremely addictive. 2. Play only on really long holidays. 3. Do not turn off monitor for the next 2 weeks. 4. Buy plenty of eye drops or you'll have to sleep the "red eyes" off.

Windows · by Indra was here (20755) · 2004


Italian version

The Italian version is not so well done. Ostrich (struzzo in Italian) was translated as oyster (ostrica in Italian). Imagine the game speech saying how the oyster hide their head under the sand...

Polish version

The Polish initial release had a coupon in the box allowing you to exchange the English game disc (included) with the Polish localized edition (which was supposed to be in the box instead, but they didn't make it in time) when sent to the distributor. To make it up there was a book in the box: a XIXc. historical novel Faraon [Pharaoh] by Bolesław Prus.


  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2000 - "Best Managerial Simulation in 1999
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/2000 – Best Building Strategy Game in 1999

Information also contributed by Rola


MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Pharaoh: Gold
Released 2000 on Windows
Tintin Reporter: Cigars of the Pharaoh
Released 2023 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
Released 2022 on Macintosh, Windows
Assassin's Creed: Origins - The Curse of the Pharaohs
Released 2018 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Rebirth 2: Beware of Mr. Wang
Released 2021 on Windows
Pull Him Out
Released 2020 on iPhone, iPad, Android
Summon My Girl
Released 2023 on Windows
Aer: Memories of Old
Released 2017 on Linux, Windows, Macintosh...
Bing in Wonderland
Released 2023 on Windows

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 538
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jonathon Howard.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Emanuele Ravasi, Unicorn Lynx, chirinea, Joel Segerbäck, Aubustou, CaesarZX, Paulus18950, marley0001, Patrick Bregger.

Game added December 6, 1999. Last modified April 10, 2024.