Egypt II: The Heliopolis Prophecy
First posted on 28 July 2010. Last updated on 28 July 2010.
Cryo Interactive's Egypt II: The Heliopolis Prophecy is a first-person adventure game set in ancient Egypt. It is the sequel to Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharaoh, also from the same developer. The game bears no official ties to Kheops Studio's The Egyptian Prophecy, even though the latter has also been released as Egypt III: The Fate of Ramsesm to capitalize on the series' name. While this sequel may look visually dated when compared to more contemporary counterparts, the game benefits from careful historical research, good characters, and an intriguing storyline. Students of history with an interest in ancient Egypt will most likely appreciate this game; others will probably be too turned off by the low resolution graphics and scarcity of puzzles.
The game does not assume any familiarity with the previous title in the Egypt series. Here, the player takes on the role of a shapely young priestess named Tifet, who is charged with finding a cure for a deadly plague that has begun spreading in Heliopolis. Tifet has been raised by a doctor and is intimately familiar with medicine herself, but the source of the plague eludes both of them. Eventually, Tifet uncovers a conspiracy and must deal with corrupt administrators as well as the disease. Most of the game's story plays out in the form of cut scenes, though a great deal of back material is available, disguised as documentation, inside the game. This in-game material provides historical text, images, and details that are not necessary to finish the game but are still interesting and informative. If played thoroughly, it is a game that you will walk away from knowing more than when you first began playing it.
Although the game's graphics look impressive for the time of its release, they have not aged well when compared to more contemporary titles. Many scenes are very dark and blurry, and some of the transitory cut scenes (such as when Tifet enters and leaves the temple) get very repetitive. The game is played from a first-person perspective, though it shifts to third-person during cut scenes. On the other hand, the sound and voice acting is great, and the writing flows well despite being a translation of the French original. The game seems much more historically accurate than other adventure games based on Egyptian themes. In part, this is because the game is developed in collaboration with France's Réunion des Musées Nationaux, and that Isabelle Franco, a Doctor of Egyptology, and Jean-Claude Golvin, a Doctor of Archaeology, have also served as scientific consultants for the developer.
Most of the gameplay consists of running around the city finding designated characters with whom Tifet needs to speak. There is some backtracking here and there, but probably not enough to discourage most players. Most of the puzzles involve finding objects, such as fetching a bottle of ink, paper, and pens for the doctor to write Tifet a recommendation letter. There are also a few inventory based puzzles, such as combining a stick with a rope to allow Tifet to climb into a silo. Logic puzzles are rare, but a few of the old classics are present, including a puzzle that has Tifet pouring liquid into and out of 3 differently sized jugs to try to get an exact amount. In addition, there is a rhythm puzzle in which Tifet must beat 2 drums in time to the music; this may be an issue for deaf gamers.
Some of the solutions to the puzzles are difficult to justify, even in hindsight. Perhaps the most baffling is when Tifet needs to read a tablet whose words are written backwards. I keep trying to use her mirror, but using her mirror did not work. As it turns out, the solution is far more complicated, and I still cannot imagine why the mirror is not an option for solving this puzzle.
All in all, though, Egypt II: The Heliopolis Prophecy is an enjoyable game with a nice story and some fun or dramatic interactions among the characters. Tifet is likable enough, and her beauty tends to draw unwanted attention from the male characters in the game. Tifet is not above using her charms to extract favors, but she is generally earnest and makes the occasional jibe at the player. This game may not be to the likings of all adventure gamers, but it may be of interest to fans of ancient Egypt and fans nostalgic of older graphical adventures.