Sometimes I have bad feelings about games before I play them. Consider The Egyptian Prophecy, the latest adventure from the Adventure Company. It takes place, obviously, in Egypt, and if there’s one location I’ve seen more than enough of in adventure games, it’s Egypt with its associated pyramids and excavation sites. Too many developers must really like Raiders of the Lost Ark and have a desire to emulate the movie. Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ve ever played an adventure that takes place on the Moon or in New York or at a myriad of other locations. So the Egyptian locale didn’t inspire me, and then The Egyptian Prophecy has a second whammy against it: it was developed by Kheops Studio, the developer behind Crystal Key 2, an adventure that I recently reviewed and disliked.
But, lo and behold, despite my misgivings, The Egyptian Prophecy is actually a pleasant adventure to play. It’s not “great” or “outstanding” but I think “pleasant” hits the mark just right. The game is presented well, it’s clear what you’re supposed to do, and it’s easy enough that you won’t find yourself frustrated (or challenged) very often. That last point can be considered good or bad, depending on why you play adventures, but I’m guessing most people who play The Egyptian Prophecy will leave the game happy enough.
In The Egyptian Prophecy, you play a young magician named Maya. Recently, the dying Pharaoh Ramses II heard from the god Amun-Re that if he were to build the god a temple, the god would extend his life. So Ramses II put things in motion, but then accidents started occurring at the construction site and the lead architect mysteriously fell ill. Fearing treachery, the Pharaoh decided to call on you to investigate the matter.
So, right off the bat, Kheops Studio does something good. While the game takes place in Egypt, it’s not about unlocking ancient mysteries or foiling enigmatic pyramid defenses. It’s an investigation, which is my favorite kind of adventure, because as long as it’s set up right, you always want to continue playing to find out what’s going on and why. In this case you’ll eventually uncover a plot against Ramses II, and you’ll discover that even the gods are involved.
That brings up another good point about The Egyptian Prophecy. Kheops Studio attempted to make the game historically accurate (Ramses II, for example, is a real Pharaoh who liked to build lots of things), and by also involving the gods, the game works pretty well as edutainment about ancient Egypt. You get to learn some things about how people lived, how temples were built, and how some of the gods did (or didn’t) like each other. The game even comes with a historical database of sorts for even more information.
Where The Egyptian Prophecy has some problems is with its puzzles. For the most part they’re pretty trivial, and, to make matters worse, the game even goes out of its way to hold your hand. Maya often pipes up about what she needs to do next, and about half the time when you enter a room with an object you can pick up, she turns to face it and says something like, “Hey, those sticks look pretty useful. I should pick them up.” I’m probably going to like a game better if it’s too easy rather than too hard (following along with a walkthrough is pretty boring after all), but I’d prefer to be challenged a little more than I was in The Egyptian Prophecy. In all, I think there were maybe three puzzles that took me more than 5-10 minutes to solve.
But, like I said before, The Egyptian Prophecy is pleasant enough to play. It’s nice to look at, there are frequent cut scenes, the interface is intuitive to use, and the nine chapters in the game each take about an hour to play, and so there’s about as much playing time as you’d expect from an adventure. I gave every category about 80% in my scoring, and that sums up The Egyptian Prophecy pretty well. Nothing about it is amazing, but nothing about it is bad, either. There are definitely worse ways you could spend your computer game money.