Pharaoh's Curse

reviewed by Steve Gould


Issue 6

Nov/Dec 83

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Yet another instant hit from the Synapse people. The theme of the game is influenced by the latest arcade craze. You have seen the Space Invader clones and the Pacman clones, now it's the turn of Donkey Kong. It seems that, just lately, if a game features ladders and elevators it has a good chance of success.

Pharaoh's Curse has the lot - lifts, mummies, pharaohs, jumping, man-traps and 16 treasures to collect. There are 4 skill levels with the first level being level 0! To access the other 3 levels, you must complete the previous one to find a password that will enable you to proceed. To start level 0, you simply press the joystick button.

At the start of the 'mission', the character you control, a sort of Indiana Jones, is standing outside the pyramid. On entering, you are immediately dropped into one of 15 rooms, each of which contains a treasure. How come only 15 rooms but 16 treasures? You are generously 'given' a treasure as soon as you enter the door! Across the top of the screen there are 16 'blobs', each of which represents a treasure and which disappear when you collect each treasure. You can always see how many you have left to collect. In the various rooms there are glowing keys which, when touched, disappear. The character then begins to flash, to show that you are in possession of a key, and you can then unlock the numerous secret doors. You will need a key to get out once you have collected all the treasures as the exit is through a secret door.

To make things harder, there is a Mummy and a Pharaoh who chase you and shoot at you but you can return the fire although it is not as easy as it sounds. Also wandering around the pyramid is the 'Winged Avenger' who can, if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, carry you away to another location in the complex. Sometimes this can be an advantage, but most of the time-well, the less said, the better. On the helpful side, you do get a bonus life every time you collect a treasure.

Graphics and sound are up to the usual Synapse standard and if you like 'jumping' games, this one is highly recommended.