Review by SPaul
"A classic murder mystery."
The Dagger of Amon Ra is a sequel to an earlier Laura Bow (pronounced like"low") mystery entitled "The Colonel's Bequest." Although I have not playedthis earlier adventure, I can say without doubt that the follow up is anexcellent game on its own.
Innocent but intelligent Laura is about to make her way up in the world.Leaving her southern hometown, she ventures to New York to make it big as ajournalist. At the newspaper she is given an assignment to cover a new exhibitopening at the Leyendecker Museum. The exhibit shows off artifacts from arecent Egyptian dig, including the Dagger of Amon Ra. The dagger is rumored tohave a curse on it. Needless to say, the rumors may be true when the professorwho dug it up turns up dead inside one of the relics. As more and more bodiespile up, Laura must find out who is killing these people and stop them beforeshe ends up the next victim.
The game is set in the 1920s, which adds a sense of film noir (not to mentionthat interest in Egyptian artifacts piqued during this time period) to thewhole thing. The difference between this game and most movies made in theactual film noir era is probably the murders. These are not the simple stabs,gunshots, and poisonings that your parents know. They are far more grisly andunnerving, and overall adds a lot of menace to the game. For instance, one manis found decapitated and pinned (literally) to the ground by a fallenpterodactyl beak. His head is found two rooms over hanging amidst a collectionof masks. But that's not the worst of it: he was decapitated by the blade ofthose huge paper cutters! (You know, the ones where you lift the blade, put thepaper on the block, and pull the blade down. Not a very plesant way to go).
Good, but not as good as SQ4 was (and that game came earlier!). Charactersbecome very blocky when walking towards bottom of the screen. Closeups arewell-rendered, though, and with speech the mouths match the dialogue wordfor word! Bravo, Sierra!
The high point. This was the era of jazzy music, and every musical numberreflects that (I recommend having a card that plays MIDI music well to get thefull effect, though. Sound effects match what you're doing. Voice acting isfairly well-done (listen for Ziggy, who's voice is done by somebody who watchedtoo much Peter Lorre!).
Sierra pretty much had the point-and-click interface down pat, and this gameis no exception. The only problem is that the hand icon is rather unwieldy(it's a huge Eqyptian hieroglyph and sometimes hard to aim on what you want).
Great fun. Things are solved in the basic Sierra way, with using objects in thecorrect places (although a score isn't used in this game). The mood is just likea good murder movie, with seedy characters, mood-enhancing music, shockingviolence, twists and turns, and a genuinely frightening last chapter. I don'treally want to spoil it, but let's just say that being thrown into a situationwithout preparation while being chased by a character that looks like the GrimReaper is probably enough to creep out anybody.
Another Sierra adventure game that lives up to promise. Check this one out ifyou don't mind a little detective work. Oh, and turn off the lights. Igurantee you'll be looking over your shoulder every couple of minutes.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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