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A User's Review of Pharaoh From Sierra Games

by: MD Weems ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

If you have read any of my reviews or articles, then you already know I'm a big fan of strategy games. I found Pharaoh on sale and thought that it looked interesting, and I was right. This is a review of the popular game to help you know how to play, what to expect, and let you know if it is the right game for you.

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    A Great Game For Anyone

    When it comes to strategy games, most of them on the market are easy to beat within just a few hours of game time.  But, when it comes to those that actually take a lot of play and thought, Pharaoh takes a place right up there at the top.  I found this game on sale and thought that it looked interesting, and I was right.  The game is a mix of ancient Egyptian culture and strategy, which works your brain constantly.  After a few months of owning the game, I still haven't beat it so I figure that it was well worth the money.

    You can play the game in both free play mode and in story mode.  While the free play mode allows you to build at your own pace and play how you wish, it gets old after a while as you are not working for anything at all.  I personally prefer the story mode, where you are working to become one of the most powerful Pharaohs in the land.  You start off small and work your way up to fame, going through all the different ages and building everything from mausoleums to Spinx to massive pyramids.  Each different level that you play will have you achieve a special goal, and as you go up in levels your goal will be bigger and bigger.  You also have to keep your people healthy and happy, which means that you must have a constant food supply, entertainment, schools, and more.  This is one of the strategy games where you have to keep your people happy or they will leave.

    You will also have to keep your people happy enough so that they will keep upgrading their homes to bigger and better things.  This will also be one of your goals as well, and you will have to ensure that your people will have the different items that they need to continue to upgrade their homes.  Some of the different items that you need to provide to your people so that they can upgrade their homes include: several types of foods, wine, oil, pottery, and papyrus.  You will also have to make sure that they have access to entertainment venues, schools, bazaars, and temples.  But your town people are not the only ones that you have to keep happy!  You also have to keep the gods happy by throwing festivals dedicated to them as well as ensuring that they have temples and shrines built to honor them as well.  If the gods are not happy, then your crops will fail, enemies will win over your armies, and more.

    The graphics on the game are decent.  Since you need to have a large overview, there is not a lot of detail on the smaller aspects of the game.  But, there is enough that you can see the crops grow, the hunters kill their prey, papyrus makers turn reeds into paper, and more.  Each of the different types of townspeople have different clothing, so you can easily tell who is a priest, who is a fireman, and who is a farmer.  You will also be able to see the houses evolve into bigger, better dwellings and see the harvests as the farmers wheel their carts to the storage yards and the graineries.  Each different building will have a special look so you can easily tell them apart and send people to different areas to work, eat, or play.

    You pretty much have to control everything in the town and ensure that everything is flowing smoothly.  There is a lot to remember, a lot to do, and a lot to keep track of.  You have advisors that will help you with all of this, and the special screens that you can check will help you keep track of everything and help you run your town smoothly.  But, you still cannot just let things go, as most require that you take care of them personally.  This helps to keep you involved in everything dealing with the game, hence the strategy!

    Overall, I would easily rate this game a 4 out of 5.  It is fun to play and will keep you playing for hours on end.