Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Pharaoh's Accent

Pharaoh's Ascent is a straight-forward puzzle game. If it was released on Flash websites just a few years later, this would have been a beloved classic. Of course, like all Flash classics, its not the best thing ever.
The story is that you're a pharaoh, now you're dead, and Set has captured your soul. This is no Fool's Errand. Its not even Pandora's Box. Its just your average puzzle game. Now the gameplay aspect is a simple use of arrow keys, jumping and shooting. Shooting enemies is fairly useless, but its used for other things. Its worth pointing out the default keyset is the numpad without numlock on. This is important, as you can't win without shooting diagonally. There are three types of blocks, completely destructible, slightly destructible, indestructible. You can only destroy the first ones with shots, the rest are moved...assuming you hit them correctly. The objective is to get a boulder into another boulder. One of them moves, the other does not.
This revolves around manipulating these blocks in order to get one boulder to a hole in the wall. Like every good puzzle game, this is simpler than it sounds.
The puzzles are usually simple enough in concept, and start off simple too. But after the first row of puzzles the difficulty sharply increases. One second you're boppin' along, the next, a brick wall. These levels can be divided into three categories, tedious bull, already solved it, and how the hell do I do that? The tedious bull being puzzles that the solution is forthcoming, but requires a annoying amount of effort.

Tedious bull, the level Death Spiral. It is, as can be surmised, a spiral. Like everything else, it is a block puzzle, one where a single wrong move is death. Except instead of one big puzzle, its a bunch of really tiny ones. You have to climb through everything. This is not very fun.
Here's more bull, look at that screenshot. Its not really a secret what you have to do on this level. Shoot the light blocks until they're gone, then they knock over the ankh block. Only, the tornado here cheats. Well, not really, they have no set pattern. They'll walk right up to the ledge, then say, nah, screw that bud. Tedium, random nature, fun.
Already solved it, levels where the solution can be pretty easily figured out, but how you actually get there isn't. These were the most fun, probably because I had something to work toward, rather than a solid brick wall that suddenly collapses. Well, that too, but it wasn't a problem.
How the hell do I do that, levels that defy understanding. Far too many of these were around, and they usually had too much tedium in them. These pushed the very limits of the physics in-game, and there was far too little balance between the two. There's also the levels that are more actiony, but the physics doesn't work very well.
Now this is only partially a problem, the game has a level skip function, but you have to wait so long, and not a do something else kind of waiting. Stay on the game and wait. Play it. For around fifteen minutes. That gives you the first half of the solution. Then play it another...I don't know how long. I never got that. You have to stay on it for a while and I rarely have the patience to stick on one level that long.
The music is some epic piece I don't remember the name of, something that doesn't have any volume for the levels, and sounds that didn't play. Just think early Windows stuff and you have hit gold. I just listened to metal music from the '90s. As long as it had a keyboard, same vibe basically.
Do I recommend this? Do you like puzzles? More specifically, do you like puzzles that make you think you're wasting your time, then discover that you're on the first group of puzzles?

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