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Last visited on 12/12/19 at 08:59 pm

The Cameron Files: Pharaoh’s Curse review

The Good:
  • Smooth and familiar interface
  • Good story
  • Nice graphics
  • Plenty of cinematic sequences
  • And a good game for novice adventurers
The Bad:
  • Recycled territory
  • May be considered too easy by some
  • Needs more character interaction
  • And just a tad short
The Good:
  • Smooth and familiar interface
  • Good story
  • Nice graphics
  • Plenty of cinematic sequences
  • And a good game for novice adventurers
The Bad:
  • Recycled territory
  • May be considered too easy by some
  • Needs more character interaction
  • And just a tad short
Our Verdict: The relatively simplicity and polish make this a series to keep watching, and a fun trip worth taking.
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It will take you about 2 minutes to read this review.

Who do you get when you combine the savvy of Humphrey Bogart, the face of Kirk Douglas, and the intuition of Arsène Lupine? Why, Alan Parker Cameron, of course! At least, according to the team at Galilea, the developers behind The Cameron Files: Secret At Loch Ness.

With the sequel, The Cameron Files: Pharaoh’s Curse, Cameron once again is called to action on a mission that will ultimately take him to…pull the blinds and lock the doors: Egypt! If you didn’t feel an immediate thrill of gooseflesh, don’t worry, neither did I. However, even though this is well-traversed territory for any seasoned adventure gamer, the trip is still enjoyable.

My first impression was how butter-smooth movement was: first-person perspective and full 360° panning pleasure. Second, I kept expecting to get stumped and never really did. Certain areas did cause me to scratch my head several times, but that might have been mild psoriasis. This is a fairly uncomplicated game.

To digress, my first impression really was the cycling menu song. I loved it. I’m still searching both game discs past mummified grunts and chirping birds for the right mp3/wav. The melody is very Scheherazade, and does well in setting the right mood. Thereafter the music is intermittent, and always relevant. The sound is very crisp, with quality effects.

There’s sand in my dunes…

I couldn’t help wondering briefly if Egypt is such a popular setting because variations on the sand theme would seem relatively quick and easy to produce—it’s a virtual cut & paste scenery. It is NOT the only exotic locale on the adventure map. But hey, we’re here, and our fedora is getting a nice little ring of sweat around it, so let’s get out of the sun and into the…

…game starts as our sardonic detective has a brief tête-à-tête with a hotel concierge about fair Moïra Mac Farley, who’s expecting Cameron at a museum once he’s settled in his room. Poor balding chap never gets the chance to hang his hat before he’s off on a hunt for Miss Mac Farley, and unearthing an…unearthly plot along the way. His purpose for being summoned is scarcely mentioned after that, and indeed it appears Cameron’s just along for the ride. Whether this makes you feel like more of a spectator than player, will be up to the gamer to decide, but a little more story depth would have been appreciated. As it is, the offering is enough to keep the story moving without bogging it down in detail. Your continental breakfast will have to wait though, as you’re saving your appetite for the four food groups…

…hotel, museum, riverboat, and of course, Egypt. These four locales make up the primary areas you will visit in Pharaoh’s Curse. The most enjoyable to me was the riverboat, as that’s where most of the discoveries and character interaction takes place. Unfortunately, what little interaction there is just whets your appetite for more, and the kitchen is already closing. What you get in good supply is a lot of…

…keys that open doors, encrypted notes, keys, books, artifacts, more keys, and an odd scuba mask that raises your anxiety of an underwater timed maze that never comes. Yes, there is a maze, but it’s not underwater, and you have lots of time to ponder your lost-ness. You will keep that and your other wares in an inventory wallet of sorts, and the FMV sequences are kept for your viewing pleasure in a diary.

No cursing allowed…

Puzzles of Pharaoh’s Curse consist of previously said fetch-and-ferret variety, with the main puzzle involving the collection of a series of colored beetles that will help illuminate your final quest. All of this I found very intuitive and fun, if not a little easy. Clues abound. As such, this game should not be too daunting for first-time adventurers, and has much to recommend it for novice players. This is a good thing, mind you…

…this game does have timed sequences, but they are nothing like the kinds that typically make you want to rip your keyboard from its port and force-feed your mouse steel-toed boot. The developers felt it necessary to introduce a feeling of urgency at certain times, and to their credit, it does add at least some level of distraction from base exploration. I enjoyed them myself, though you can die at these times. At Game Over, you’re treated to a quick clip of our Indian song-lady, and it honestly made me smile every time. Since I died often, I was quite the grinning cadaver.

While not supplying any complex game play design or innovation, one thing I appreciated about PC is its polish. Yes, the cut scenes could have been a little cleaner, and certain areas lack dimension, but the game play itself is easy like Sunday morning. Also, if you’re a FMV junkie (like yours truly), the reward ratio is very high with this game. Galilea uses these opportunities to move the story along, and the frequent cinematic sequences are nicely done.

This is a good little adventure worthy of a place on your game shelves. It’s not very long, it’s not very hard, but it is a lot of fun. If you’re still not sure, read about the dedicated group of people behind this project here. Thus we wait in expectation of Cameron’s next case, in hopes there is one. Whatever their next adventure, Galilea is definitely a developer to keep your eye on.


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