Title: The Lost Tomb of Ananka
From: Compass Software, 111 Mill Road, Cobholm Island, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR31 0BB
By: Jack Lockerby/Zenobi Software
Price: £1.99 - available on tape and +D disk, or +D SAM Coupe-compatible version. (State version when ordering.) Cheques and POs payable to Compass Software. Overseas customers add £1.00.
Reviewer: Tim Kemp
The discovery of an ancient stone tablet in the valley of the kings causes Dr Jack Foswell (that's you) to rush to the scene of the dig, where you find a secret entrance to the lost tomb of Ananka. A landslide has already killed your colleague Professor Sorinson, so perhaps the curse that is contained on the tablet is to blame - and should be reversed ASAP! Initial investigations uncover the Professor - or rather his arm protruding from the debris of the rock fall. Don't pass it by - it holds vital clues to aid you on your quest.
The game contains one or two surprises early on. First there's a little pull-down menu that shows you the hieroglyphics and associated letters that are used to translate the encrypted in-game messages. Don't worry, whenever such a message appears on screen the translation panel can be accessed and remains on screen along with the message so you can decipher the clues with no problem at all. By the time you get to your fourth or fifth message you can spot the key 'glyphs and pretty soon you'll be deciphering the words of the ancients like a demon!
The second little surprise comes when you are told to open the small envelope that comes with the game (in the cassette case along with the storyline sheet). The enclosed letter contains info not available in the game itself!
Travelling around the labyrinth of tombs, chambers, rooms, vaults etc, is easy enough... at first. The deeper you delve, the more difficult things get. There are one or two key objects to collect from early exploration, and there are a couple of simple grave robber traps to avoid or set off in a controlled way. Everything (save the Ananka name) is pretty much authentic. The curses, gods, objects, places are all genuine, and even some of the tasks you have to perform are at least based on the sort of things ancient Egyptians would have done with the objects provided! Don't panic - you certainly don't need any knowledge of this ancient civilisation in order to play the game. There are enough friendly messages to push you in the right direction. Then, of course, there are also the numerous sound and screen effects that adorn most Compass adventures. Do something right (or wrong) and you normally get to hear or see the result via a barrage of screen wobbles, border flashes and cacophonius squawks and warbles.
You can, at certain points, control your very own mummy, beat off hordes of evil black things, and get to face the ultimate challenge in the hall of the gods - where the objects and knowledge gained from your earlier exploits will be put to good use. But wait... what you think is the final challenge isn't! This is the best Compass adventure to date, and that's really quite an achievement.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB