Upon completing The Cameron Files Pharaoh’s Curse I realized that I wanted
more. At the conclusion I felt like I was just getting warmed up. Fortunately
Pharaoh’s Curse is the second installment in the series. The first offering was
Secret at Loch Ness, and if it was as good as Pharaoh’s Curse I’m ready to sign
on for another case.
In Pharaoh’s Curse you play the part of Alan P. Cameron a Private
Investigator in the 1930’s. There isn’t a whole lot I know about the man except
he has a rather strong resemblance to an archeologist I once met. A Doctor Jones
I believe. Anyway a woman named Moira sent for Cameron. You see Moira was
involved in an archeological dig which was going just fine until some Nazi goons
showed up and started following her. She was a little scared so she contacted
her good old pal Cameron and he was ready for another case. But when he arrives
he discovers that Moira has been kidnapped. Since he has no details concerning
the situation Cameron must dive right into the mysterious doody. He must find
Moira and stop an ancient Egyptian mummy who is running around the sands of
Egypt turning the archeological team into zombies.
So let’s see. Cameron starts at his hotel, which leads him to investigating
the basement of a museum where he is assaulted. Later on you make it to some
desert island where you must uncover a temple that will bring you to a hellish
tomb complete with fire and an ancient mummy you must defeat. Good times I tell
ya. There isn’t a whole lot to the story, and plot progression is rather scarce,
but what little there is turns out to be pretty darn cool. If you’re an
adventure gamer that is. Which I happen to be.
If you’ve played other DreamCatcher adventure games this one will feel very
familiar. The gameplay is very similar to older games like The Messenger and
Necronomicon and Dracula. The environments are made up of a pre-rendered
background and the player has 360 degrees to twirl about hunting for hotspots.
When you drag the cursor over something of importance it changes into a
cogwheel, or an arrow or other icon to indicate an action can take place.
Once you find something you can keep it in your inventory because you can bet
you’ll use it later on. The puzzles are not very difficult. I’d say they offer a
decent challenge the only problem is that sometimes you must do things in a very
rigid order to proceed. This just makes for a very methodical pixel hunt type of
approach. You know what though? This is not a new issue, and if you love
adventure games as I do this is accepted and almost expected.
The character of Cameron resembles an Indiana Jones type only he is bald,
which I thought was so cool because it is different than all the other cliched
game characters out there today. There were several subtle hints throughout the
game I noticed that seemed to pay homage to Henry Jones Junior. For instance I
found that a Doctor Jones was staying at the same hotel in Egypt. In one room I
found a whip lying next to a fedora. It was all good fun.
The voice acting while sparse was all excellent. The mummy was eerie, but not
overly gorified, and the comic relief between the Lobby attendant and Cameron
worked well. The pre-rendered backgrounds still do a pretty good job of creating
atmosphere. The only drawback is that stale feeling every now and then because
nothing really moves.
As adventures go this is a very short game, but the puzzle solutions don’t
always present themselves with ease due to the games linear path. So a short
game becomes a guessing game as you try to figure out what to do next by process
of elimination. Pharaoh’s Curse has my recommendation especially if you’re an
adventure junky like me. I hope another case is in the works.
This game is basically a point and click operation. Drag the mouse cursor
around the screen searching for hotspots. This is nothing new to adventure
gamers. It’s not hard to do, but it isn’t terribly exciting. The interface was
pretty smooth my only gripe is that I had to exit each sub-screen in the
inventory section in order to get back to the game instead of one quick click.
Such a small gripe though. Petty really.
The cutscene animation is just great. It is short mind you, but what you get
is very fluid, and the characters are life-like. The pre-rendered backgrounds do
tend to get a bit dated at times especially the outdoor sequences after you
arrive on the island. You’re on a boat and the water does not move, but this is
minor and it doesn’t really detract from the experience all that much.
There isn’t much sound or music. Every now and then however you enter an
important location and a crisp original score murmurs through the speakers
adding a very subtle yet very nice ambience. I also love the song that plays
during the menu screen. It’s sort of a laid back hardboiled detective lament.
The solutions to many of the puzzles are not hard to find however they do
require a methodical process of elimination approach at times.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is the greatest movie of all time. Alan Cameron is
Indy’s slightly older, balding cousin.
Pharaoh’s Curse is short yet sweet and has a potential to continue in a
series of other investigations that will hopefully be pursued.