Genre: Historical Adventure
Release Date: April 2004
Note: Originally published 19 April 2004
Third Time’s the Charm
This is the third game in the French adventure series set in ancient Egypt. I’m a nerd, so I was always a fan of infotainment games, and I played most of the old Cryo adventures in this vein: Versailles, Pompeii, China, Egypt, etc. These games tended to be a little on the dry side, but I enjoyed them like you would a good documentary on The History Channel.
I’m happy to report that this third outing into the dusty sands of time, which was developed by Kheops Studio (who also developed Crystal Key 2 for The Adventure Company) is a definite improvement on those older games.
The game is a first-person, point-and-click pure adventure with 360 degree scrolling. It’s a format that will be very familiar to anyone who’s been playing European adventure games over the last five years.
Hi. I’m Maya, and These Are My Breasts
The story (which is completely independent of the first two games in the series) takes place during the reign of Ramses II, one of ancient Egypt’s great builders. His reign was one of the longest in Egyptian history (about sixty years), and it’s this span that’s the center of our story.
The heroine of the story is the young, talented and hilariously unnecessarily buxom magician named Maya. Now, you might think in a first-person game that the main character’s appearance is irrelevant. But the game is full of lovely cutscenes (more on those later) that prominently feature Maya and her VERY prominent boobs. Honestly, it’s just funny – and it in fact begs the question, who do the folks at Kheops Studios think their target audience is? Who do they think plays academic, history-based, database-sporting, infotainment point-and-click adventures? Horny young straight guys? All I can say is, tee hee.
At any rate,. Maya and her voluptuous knockers are called upon to perform an urgent task for the Pharaoh. It seems he’s made a deal with the sun god, Amon-Re: If he erects a huge obelisk honoring the god, he can have many years of extra life. This would normally be no problem, since, as already mentioned, these sorts of erections are Ramses’s specialty. However, mysterious and troublesome events are happening in the quarry and the construction site. It seems that some dark force wants to keep the obelisk from going up!
The Ancient Egyptian God of Bodacious Ta-Tas
Maya has he work cut out for her. She’s got to investigate the mysterious events that are rendering the attempts to raise the obelisk impotent, she’s got to find a cure for the mysteriously ailing head engineer, and she’s got to deal with some ancient gods and bad folks who are trying to use the gods’ power for nasty purposes.
The puzzles in the game come in three varieties. First, there are the traditional inventory puzzles that require a careful exploration of the environments and collection of objects, and then a judicious implementation of those objects. These puzzles are generally competent and logical, and one particular one, involving music, is quite good indeed.
Second, there are several hardcore PUZZLE puzzles in the game, and these took me by very pleasant surprise. There’s a complicated lock puzzle that’s quite challenging but completely fair, a clever slider puzzle variant, a cool logic puzzle involving magic orbs, and a very innovative double-maze conundrum. Yeah, I said “maze,” but believe me, it’s a clever and fun-to-solve puzzle.
Finally, to help the pneumatic Maya keep abreast of the various supernatural goings-on, she learns a variety of magic spells. Magic spells in an adventure game? Indeed. These spells help Maya solve puzzles and to get out of sticky situations.
I want to make special mention of the final two puzzles in the game. Without giving away specifics, I’ll just say that these two “puzzle duels” are very well done and lots of fun.
All in all, it’s the most satisfying and solid collection of puzzles I’ve found in a modest game in quite a while.
Thanks for the Mammaries
The backgrounds in the game are attractive but not inspirational. The character models fare better, and they include an appropriate and believable variety in physical types (young peons are lean, older authority types pudgier).
The cutscenes are the best of the graphic elements. They have a languid beauty that borders on the sensual. And, of course, they have Maya’s huge boobs practically falling out of her gown. It’s the kind of thing you’ll really like, if you like that kind of thing.
The story is excellent. Maya has to deal not only with human allies and adversaries, but with several of those pesky ancient gods as well. The story is logical, dramatic, and has a good forward momentum.
If this review is a bit on the short side, it’s because the game is on the short side. More episode than epic, the game has a no-nonsense brisk pace and a compact structure. Think of it as a really good made-for-cable “Lifetime Television For Ancient Egyptian Women” movie. I didn’t mind this, but if you’re a stickler for long games (in which case you should probably be playing RPGs, not adventure games) then the game’s brevity might rankle you a bit.
As for me, I had a surprisingly good time helping Maya struggle to bring all of the events back into the bosom of the benevolent gods. Tight story, excellent puzzles, attractive graphics -- what else could we grouchy adventure game players ask for?
Final Grade: B+
Windows® 98/ME/2000/XP ®
600 MHz Pentium III or Equivalent (800 MHz Recommended)
16x CD-ROM Drive (24x CD-ROM Drive Recommended)
32 MB DirectX Compatible 3D Video Card
DirectX7 Compatible Sound Card
64 MB RAM