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Publisher: Runesoft    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 384 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

May 1, 2007 | Michael Scarpelli

Click to enlarge

Is he copping a feel?
Adventure games were how I got my start as a Mac gamer, so they hold a dear place in my heart. Titles such as Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Dig, The Secret of Monkey Island and, of course, Sam and Max Hit the Road. I played every adventure game I could get my hand on because it was like getting to play a movie. I could guide the dialogue, solve the puzzles and uncover the story on my own.

Ankh, ported over to the Mac by Runesoft and developed by Deck 13 is an adventure game in the old school fashion, by and large. The gamer takes on the role of Assil, the son of the Pharaohís esteemed architect and trap designer. Assilís having a wild night out with some of his friends in a recently completed pyramid when he accidentally incurs the wrath of a mummy and manages to get saddled with a very valuable artifact. The adventure picks up with Assil being grounded by his father and desperately needing to escape so he can lift the death curse placed upon him by the mummy.

Ankh does an admirable job of capturing the feel of the old adventure game style. The dialogue is irreverent and at times elicited actual laughter from me. The characters are varied and vibrant and the puzzles are tricky and fun to solve. In short, the game is a lot of fun to play. Unfortunately, itís a lot of fun to play in spite of a great many shortcomings. Even worse, many of those shortcomings appear to be the result of a remarkably shoddy port from the PC.

The game is short for an experienced gamer, clocking in at well under 10 hours. The characters are fun to interact with, but thereís just not much you need to do with each. Thereís typically only one puzzle or problem associated with each character you can interact with in the game. When you take a count and see that there are maybe 20 or so characters that you meet in the course of the game, itís pretty clear that you can cap the total number of puzzles at a fairly low amount. However, the length of game frequently has very little to do with how good it is. With Ankh, it simply left me wanting more, which isnít a strictly bad feeling to have about a game.

The game is supremely easy to play, despite its apparent total lack of a user manual. Left click to move around, right-click (or control-click) to interact with objects. The inventory is not contained within a separate window, but rather just displayed along the top of the screen.

The puzzles are all fairly organic and most can be solved with some careful thought. I had to refer to a walkthrough twice to solve some real stumpers, but thatís more or less par for the course in the game. By and large, puzzles are related to the environment, which means sharp eyes and a roving mouse are critical, just so you can be sure you have all the tools available to you. Once you have that, things tend to fall into place. There is one ďpuzzleĒ involving dates (the fruit, not the social engagement) which is inexcusably vague though. Youíll know what it is when you get there, believe me. Much of the puzzling is plagued by a staple of the adventure genre that I wish they would do away with and thatís gopher quests. You are forever having to do something in one location and the scurry through 6 or more other locations to go back to another place, pick up a single object and then head all the way back to the original locale. It gets tiresome.


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