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CONSOLE: Famicom DEVELOPER: Human PUBLISHER: Human
RELEASE DATE (JP): May 31, 1991 GENRE: Puzzle
// review by SoyBomb

Don't be living in deNile.

Egypt: it's not just the place where people have been storing pyramids and giant stone cat figures, or where the Three Stooges ended up briefly shilling out poorly-maintained used chariots. It's also the place where the events of Egypt for the Famicom took place! Under a blazing sun, our journey shall begin presently!

Picture this: you are NOT Indiana Jones, just a reasonable earth-toned facsimile character. Your mission in life is to explore and examine the mysteries within the sacred temples of Ancient Egypt. Suddenly, you are approached by a giant bejeweled orb, about the size of that giant rock in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (but in no way inspired by that movie, no way, no sir, no nuthin', no how). But the jewel speaks! It is not really a jewel at all, but a goddess whose power has dwindled so much that she can only appear in this form. What, the only thing she could do was become a giant ball of glass? Guess we can still see sapphire in her eyes... Erm, anyway, puns aside, in order to restore her lost magical abilities, you, the person who is not Indiana Jones, must fuse yourself together with the jewel and solve the many puzzles of the temple. The in-game introductory text is in Japanese, but I assume you actually are daft enough to agree to this.

So you control an orb that can bounce around. You start off on a strange dark temple floor in the middle of the Star of David and surrounded by six orange spots. Each spot leads to a different puzzle in which you need to match up icons of the same type to make them disappear. All the objects need to be matched in order to clear the stage. Because remember...

To move objects around, you have to hop (as the blue orb of love) on arrows that shift the coinciding line of blocks and objects in that direction. By shifting them around, you need to make the matching items touch and disappear. The first set of puzzles is very simple and require very little thought on your part. Later puzzles, however, are far more complex, requiring extensive hopping and shuffling (and more moves than you'd think were necessary), and will cause torment unto your village. It's worse when you have to match three at a time, though it's doable if you have perseverance and a lack of sanity. The game keeps track of how many jumps and shifts you perform, but in the end, it's inconsequential as long as you finish the stage. And, to add to the wonder, you don't have to finish all the stages on one level to move on to the next. When you see that glowing Star of David, you know you can progress.

To make life slightly easier for our explorer-turned-ball, you can use a few magic spells here, too, unless you're on the highest difficulty level. The lightning bolt will cause any wall blocks within a 3x3 tile vicinity to explode, just as a real lightning bolt would do, whereas the flash item crushes all the walls in the stage. The feather gives you a bit of flight over any tile in case you get wedged somewhere unpleasant and can no longer move. The items aren't NECESSARY, but it never hurts to have them...


Cleopatra would have been mildly amused with this offering.

For what it is, Egypt is quite playable... for about ten minutes, after which time it gets dull quickly. Intrepid puzzle enthusiasts may get a kick out of this game, but its concept does tire easily if they don't add much new to the equation. The presentation leaves much to be desired as well. Every overworld screen looks exactly the same, and in the levels, someone REALLY had an affinity for a brown and black combo that day. The Egyptian-inspired soundtrack gets really old really quickly. Too many high-pitched notes made my intestines crack with discomfort.

Egypt is the thinking man's Egyptian-themed video game. But for the rest of us with better things to do (that one person out there), Egypt is a game that must be played in small spurts. Thank goodness for a password system!

One more thought before I go: I just realized I went through this entire review without making one snide joke about Egypt. So let me just drop a terrible one on your doorstep and run: What did the Pharaoh say when he saw the pyramid? "Mummy's home!"


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