Pharoah came out in October 1999. I was still a kid back then in high school, but I sure was addicted to this game. I lost so many weekends to countless hours of this Egyptian paradise. Well, okay…wasn’t always a paradise. Sometimes you just can’t keep those dang Pharaoh’s happy! So while it has been quite a while since I have delved into this game it still gives me warm memories of embracing my interest of Ancient Egypt. So is my rating a little bias on a childhood of dreams? Maybe…
Silurian’s Rating: (4.8 / 5)
|Game Play:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Story:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Visuals:||(5.0 / 5)|
|Audio:||(4.0 / 5)|
Game Play – 5
This game is much like other city builders. You have your buildings on the right and your map on the left. You have your short cuts or a button on the right to see your city’s stats. It is pretty straight forward for any experienced sim builder out there. There is a tutorial in case you aren’t familiar though!
My one real complaint has always been the same. That architects and firemen need to do their jobs better! If you aren’t careful they will take a walk so long that they wont even come back in time to save the building their building is right next to. Lost many a gold mines that way.
Story – 4
The story is pretty straight forward. You go through history from the Predynastic Period and, with the Cleopatra expansion, could go all the way to the New Kingdom. The whole span of Ancient Egypt at your finger tips! You can pick your campaign missions or go in order. I have yet to even finish this game in the 20 years that its been out and I still haven’t. Some missions are quick but the further in you go the longer they can take. You need to protect your people by both providing food and worshiping the gods, not to mention the evil military battles. Personally I don’t like the battles but that is mostly due to my personal interests. In some cases you can choose between one game that would be battle heavy or build heavy. I always wanted to build the monuments so those were the missions that I picked! Each mission comes with a message of the history and what is happening within the world. You start off as a basic village leader and keep moving through until you finally become Pharaoh yourself. You also even have to deal with plagues in the later parts of the game!
Visuals – 5
For the time, these visuals were impressive. Each building has incredible details and visually show you if they are functioning or not, which definitely comes in handy. The 3D cinematics, while looking a little awkward have aged well in my opinion. The art of the city is still worthy of playing today! They used an odd 3D pixelated look to the people that make them pop out as they travel through your expansive cities but that can come in handy when you need to find one.
Audio – 4
The music can be overpowering, making me scramble for my volume button when starting it up usually. But you can always adjust your settings! I enjoy the music and tend to hum to it now and again as I play. It shifts with sound effects of the water and animals pretty well and most times you completely forget about it being there. Though I’ve got to say that while the voices of the people in the game are engaging, I have heard, “I have no home through no fault of my own.” WAY too many times. A few more dialogue options would have been nice but it is what it is.
I love this game. It is a pure nostalgia game that I still fire up from time to time. Maybe someday I will get stubborn enough to finally play the whole way through…that would be an epic day indeed. If you play SimCity or any city building sim game really, and you like history especially Ancient Egypt history, you would love this game. If you’re on the edge of whether you would like it or not…get it!
Extra news! There is a remake coming out in 2021! Seems to be a total redraw of all the graphics and I’m still not sure about the change to cartoonish cinematics. I’m guessing they wanted to go with a hieroglyphic kind of thing…but I would have loved to have seen the 3D graphics redone.