The Cameron Files: Pharaoh's Curse
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/29/02 | Genre: Adventure
It had been a long time since I had played a pure-adventure game. The kind of game that was really popular a few years ago. "The Cameron Files: Pharaoh's Curse" has that old-style feel with an updated look. Yes, I said an updated look, but I didn't say a cutting edge look. Nevertheless, this one turned out to be one of those games that managed to bring all of the elements together for an enjoyable gaming experience.
Honestly, I didn't think that I would like the Pharaoh's Curse. I had played similar games years ago (like the Journeyman Project series, Necronomicon, and a few other games that I can barely remember the names of) before moving on to RPG, FPS, and RTS games. Maybe if the genre had a catchy acronym I would be more apt to play more of them. Anyway, it turned out to be fairly easy to slip into the character of Alan Cameron and to head out in search of his missing friend Moira and the mysterious mummy. Part of what drew me to the game is Cameron's similarity to Indiana Jones and the way the game mixes adventure with a touch of comedy. When it works right, that's always a winning combination in my book.
Going into too much detail about the game play is kind of tricky to do without giving away too much of the mystery. You'll start out in Cairo looking for clues to the whereabouts of your missing friend, then journey on a ship down the Nile, explore the excavation site, and explore an ancient tomb before wrapping this case up. Exploration takes place by moving through the world with a "point-and-click" interface. The cursor changes from an arrow when some kind of manipulation with the surroundings can take place, and you'll occasionally be reduced to sweeping an area from top to bottom trying to find overlooked clues. For the most part, the clues aren't too tough to spot (if it looks important, it probably is), and the puzzles aren't too difficult.
The graphics and music weave together in a way that makes the player feel like they are actually in 1930 Egypt. You can turn around 360 degrees and explore every nook and cranny of the crisp, pre-rendered backgrounds. The music carries the Egyptian theme with what can only be called a haunting feel at times throughout the game. The cut scene animations turned out to be a bit grainy and pixilated, but with the amount of life that they breathe into the personalities of the characters the flaws are easily overlooked.
Overall, the game played out like a movie, plucking along at a merry pace that only lost its flow the few times when I failed to notice something the first time around. Most players should be able to work their way through the game fairly quickly, but I doubt that it is the type of game that the average gamer would love. Adventure gamers will probably want to bring along a spoon, so they can eat it all up.