Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
We bought this game when it first came out because this is a subject that has fascinated us for many years. And then something (called 'real life') intervened so we never got around to playing it. But with a sequel about to be released that promises to be a continuation of the same story, we decided that we'd better find out what happened in the first game. And we were both impressed and intrigued by what we found. Believe it or not, the game was created and produced almost entirely by only two people: multi-talented husband and wife team, Jeff and Karen Tobler. It took them nearly five years of blood, sweat and tears before they were finally able to get it published, but the magnificent results of their love and dedication show through in every detail.
The enigma surrounding both the Sphinx and the three famous Pyramids which are located nearby has been a source of speculation and controversy for centuries. Who built these massive structures? And why? And does the Sphinx, like the one built by the gods in Greek mythology, indeed pose a riddle that will kill all those unable to solve it?
Of course, orthodox Egyptologists insist that they were built around 2500 BC by Pharaoh Cheops (Khufu): the Sphinx simply as a personal memorial carved in his own likeness, and the Great Pyramid as his tomb. But for some people, that official scenario fails to adequately explain all of the known facts, especially in the light of some recent discoveries.
Just their construction details alone are enough to make one wonder, for they reveal a level of knowledge and a skill in masonry that we would find difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate even today (for details, click HERE). Besides, if this is a tomb, then where is the mummy, or any other funerary evidence for that matter? What lies behind that mysterious 'door with brass fittings' that was discovered at the end of a shaft in 1993? And what were Old Testament Canaanites doing here in the early 2nd millennium BC, as revealed by archaeological digs in the 1930s?
In 1940, American psychic Edgar Cayce stated that these structures were really built by Atlanteans around 10,500 BC, and that a guarded 'Hall of Records' would be found under the Sphinx's paw which would reveal humanity's true history and heritage ..... among the stars! And as fantastic as that sounds, some recent discoveries appear to be pointing in that direction.
In the early 1990's, a seismic survey revealed a rectangular room hidden in the bedrock under the Sphinx, right where Cayce said one would be. And geological and climatological research conclusively showed that the erosion on the Sphinx could only have been made by heavy rainfall, which has not occurred in that area for well over 7000 years. Recent translations of the ancient Egyptians own scriptures (the archaic 'Pyramid Texts') appear to speak of some sort of 'Stargate'. And now, computerized astronomy simulations reveal that at sunrise on the Spring equinox in the year 10,500 BC (and only in that year), the layout of the Nile and the 3 pyramids below would have been an exact match for and map of the Milky Way and 3 stars in the constellation Orion's belt above (whom the ancient Egyptians associated with their god, Osiris). And the Sphinx would have been gazing directly at his own heavenly counterpart, as the constellation Leo the Lion rose in the eastern sky to introduce the 'Age of Leo'! Did the ancients deliberately leave us a message carved in stone; one that could only be read by those evolved enough to understand it?
It is obvious that Jeff and Karen Tobler are familiar with all of this controversial research, and in this first game they present us with some of their own deductions ..... and offer much food for thought. You play the friend of an archaeologist who has died uncovering the truth. Now you must follow in his footsteps, and try to solve the Riddle of the Sphinx.
This is a long, 1st Person, 3D, point & click, non-violent adventure game, with a smart cursor, a zoom for certain close-ups, and a labeled inventory. There is very little speech (only at the beginning and the end), but unfortunately there are no subtitles for it. Movement is linear, with 360-degree panning and a warp arrow for fast travel available in most locations. But the interface is somewhat unusual, so do read the manual.
By today's standards, the 3D graphics may look a little grainy, but their awesome realism more than makes up for it. Everything has been meticulously researched and beautifully rendered, with both the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid recreated in such authentic minute detail that you probably see even more than you would with an actual trip to the site. And the many elaborate imagined scenes, where most of the game takes place, are absolutely stunning: we were particularly impressed with the unusual artifacts, and the richly rendered textures. It's a world that's a joy to explore, and the Tobler's own excellent original soundtrack completes the mood.
And the game is a puzzle lover's dream. They are all part of the environment, and so may involve anything from ancient mechanisms and deathtraps to modern robotics. Many are multi layered and some are quite challenging, but they can all be solved with careful observation and logic, if you remember to use the clues that are provided in the scrolls. But you must thoroughly explore each area and take notes, particularly whenever you see a number or symbol. And yes, you can die, but potentially dangerous situations are usually obvious, and you have unlimited saves.
It's a fascinating journey back through time that, unlike many games, gets even better as you go along. It's a totally immersive experience, one that is made even more so by the Tobler's surprising and yet logical answers to some very old questions. We look forward to seeing where they take us from here, in the sequel The Omega Stone. Highly recommended!
© February 2003 Mr. Bill's Adventureland
Visit the beautiful Riddle Of The Sphinx Official Website in order to see more screenshots, watch the trailer, listen to the haunting music, and much more.
NOTE: A patch is available for this game, and it is usually necessary. You can download the patch HERE. Many people also report a problem freezing at the tape machine in Gil's tent even after the patch has been installed, but it's easily circumvented by downloading the text of the tapes, and then just placing the unused tapes in the inventory. Click HERE to read the contents of the tapes (right click to save a copy to your hard drive). Visit the Riddle of the Sphinx Hints & Tips Page to find information on problems that you may encounter. Make sure that you also change to 640 x 480 resolution, and 16-bit color, then restart your computer with these new settings.
Developed (2000) by Omni Creative Group, Int'l and published by The Adventure Company.
Rated: E for Everyone
Minimum System Requirements:
PC: Pentium 166 MHz Processor (Pentium II Recommended); Windows 95 / 98 / ME; 32 MB RAM (64 MB Recommended); 8X CD-ROM Drive; SVGA Monitor (640 X 480 with Thousands of Colors)
Mac: 80 MHz PowerPC (G3 Recommended); System 7.5 or Greater; 32 MB RAM (64 MB Recommended); 8X CD-ROM Drive; 640 X 480 Monitor with Thousands of Colors
Where To Buy This Game:
OR: See our Places To Buy Games for other sellers around the world.
Walkthroughs or Hints: