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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Viva Media
GENRE: Adventure
August 28, 2006
 Written by Jason Young  on September 15, 2006

Review: Walk, talk, and click like an Egyptian.

Prior to the introduction of intensive graphic-laden console games, there was a time in the history of gaming where the ?point-and-click' adventure genre ruled. Featured prominently on PCs, these games brought players through an interactive storybook that relied on simple gameplay, memorable characters, and witty humor. For those of us lucky enough to remember these times, games like ?Monkey Island', ?Sam and Max', and ?Grim Fandango' jolt our minds with memories of games that we can easily consider to be some of the most enjoyable times that we've had at games.

Fast forward to 2006, where the ?point-and-click' has essentially become a lost art and you begin to wonder where they all went. Thankfully, the developers of Ankh decided to take players back on a nostalgic trip back to the 90s where the PC scene was ruled by the almighty ?click.'

Much like the title suggests, Ankh takes place in Ancient Egypt where you take the role of Asil who is death-cursed by a mummy for breaking his earthly goods during a party. Unfortunately for Asil, the only person who can remove the curse is the pharaoh, who pretty much looks at the penniless Asil as a spec of dirt. Meaning, no cure for you!!

For the most part, Asil's quests revolves around him attempting to find a way to remove his curse, bringing him around Egypt's glorious wonders like the Camel Wash and Sphinx Souvenir Shop. Admist all of the hustle and bustle, puzzles and Egyptian-filled music leaves the player in a constant shock of awe and confusion. Literally.

You will get stuck in this game, and even if you manage to get through it all there's not that much story to speak of. If you're clever enough, this game will only last you several hours, which doesn't particularly balance out with the price of the game. Even at only $19.99.

Similar to most adventure games, there isn't much gameplay to speak of. Like visual novels, you play these games for the story, or in this case humor, and unfortunately much of it got lost in the translation from German. Although the replacement for German humor is admirable, it's just not as great as it could have been. As a result, the player is constantly left with slight chuckles rather than bursts of laughter that a classic game like ?Sam and Max' would provide.

Additionally, items and choices become a chore to find as you're literally left there without much of a clue on what to pick up. For example, you can't pick up every jar in the game. Rather, you have to pick up the correct one; even if it looks like every other one. Yes, it's that frustrating. The game is guaranteed to have you puzzled looking at what items do what and how you should combine them. I mean, it wouldn't take a genius to figure out that you need to use a bottle of wine and a coat hanger to open a prison door now would it? You be the judge.

Although the graphics are pretty to look at, they don't bring anything ?earth-shattering' to the table. A lot of the locales appear as though they were stolen out of the stereotypical Middle-Eastern themed game, relying on sand, sand, and err?more sand. Backgrounds aside, the characters themselves are rather simplistic relying on simple-quality texturing rather than something graphics intensive. This does however mean that people with simple onboard graphics cards can still enjoy the game on the minimal setting without sacrificing a whole lot.

Graphics aside, the music and voice actors do a decent job at conveying the emotions of the characters. Although how many times can you hear ?I don't need a jar' without going insane? A little variation would've been great in the game; sadly we never get it. On a positive note however, the opening and closing dance sequences were absolutely brilliant, reminiscent of classical Disney films.

Bottom Line
All in all, Ankh is a slightly fun game that fails to reach the plateau of the classic adventure game genre. It does however bring back hope that somewhere out there, developers still care enough about the genre to prevent it from completely falling out.

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