June 30, 2005
Here's a relatively unknown title that I stumbled across one day on eBay. Created primarily as an educational tool,Secrets of the Pyramids contains a discovery mode and a movie mode that educate about ancient Egypt. Of greater importance here, it has an adventure component that is brief but a lot of fun.You play Harold Peabody on his quest for the hidden tomb of Ankh-Re. The interface is simple, consisting of look and use icons. BUT, don't think this makes the game easy. Items can be somewhat hard to find, and failure to take heed of warning results in death in most rooms of the tomb.The game has one save game (by pressing S) and games are restored by pressing R. It is possible to be killed in this game, and at least one puzzle (at the very start of the game) can prevent progress in the game if an inventory item is not used correctly.There is some light humor in the game (take note of the body outside the tomb) and Harold Peabody is a lot of fun to be.Graphics are great for the time and hold up reasonably well today but please do not play this if you need Syberia visuals to enjoy a game. Sound is sparse-a few odd sound effects and an upbeat Neverhood-like theme. Elsewhere, this becomes more of an adventure soundtrack akin to the cliffhanger serials of the fifties. There is no speech nor is there any need for it.If you've ever wanted to be an amateur archeologist, don't go past Secrets of the Pyramids!Outside the PyramidClimb up the stairs.Entrance to the TempleThe body of the last unfortunate adventurer lies outside the entrance to the temple, guarded by a vulture. Give the vulture the hamburger from your inventory. It flies away.Examine the body of Mr. I. Jones. Get the matchbox from under the fedora. Take the note from the skeletons right hand. It tells you that Osiris is a puzzle solution. Pick up the English-Hieroglyphics translator book. Get thehandkerchief from under the belly of the skeleton.At left is a medium sized rock. Recover the candle from under it.Walk to the door to the temple.Door to the TempleWipe the dust off the door with the handkerchief. A depression is revealed. Combine the matches and the candle. Push the depression.AntechamberHarold lights the torch in the antechamber. A 4x3 grid on the floor has various hieroglyphics in it. Remember the clue? Guide Harold to the following squares to spell out Osiris (in (x, y) notation):
The door in front of Harold opens. Go through it.StairsGoing down these stairs, there is a door on Harold's left and one at the bottom of the stairs. Next to the first door are some hieroglyphics. They read:"Death to all who enter"This is a warning about the door at the left.Go through the door at the bottom of the stairs.Hall of the StatuesTwo statues have collapsed from their alcoves. Harold must put together the statue at right.
Slide the statue into the middle alcove. The statues slide back revealing a secret door. Go through it.Green Floored LandingStairs lead up to Harold's left and other stairs in front of him lead down. A message on the wall reads:"Beware the doors"Go down the stairs.Stairway of TreasuresThis set of stairs features many treasures ensconced at Harold's left. The message on the wall reads:"Beware door three"Open the door at the bottom of the stairs.Hall of the GodsThe plaques with the gods names have all been moved. Harold must return them to their rightful positions. Failure results in the gods fury.The gods are (from left-right):
The plaques (from left-right, front-back) are:
When placed before the correct god, they lock into place.The gods reward Harold with a golden ankh.Return to the landing and go up the stairs.Three Door RoomRead the message on the pillar. It reads:"Beware door two"Considering the two warnings, go through door one.PassagewayWalk down to the golden area at Harold's right.Golden DoorA statue stands on either side of the door. Each has a scarab around its neck. Collect the blue scarab from the right hand statue.Enter the door.Scroll RoomPlace the ankh in the depression at the left side of the mural. A door opens in the red fresco.Go through the revealed door.Burial ChamberSix pots stand in front of a green wall. There is a depression in the door. Place the scarab in the depression.One of the rocks (five on the left, four on the right) moves. Harold must push the rocks in the order they move. This is a random Simon-type puzzle. Harold must push six in sequence to be successful.When he enters the sixth one correctly, the tomb shakes and a sarcophagus comes up through the floor to the strains of Also Sprach Zarathrusta-it is the sarcophagus of Ankh-Re! Harold has found it. He is lauded in the press and plans for a sequel are revealed in the articles.Alas, Harold Peabody is as gone as the pharaohs of ancient times