|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Kheops Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Dreamcatcher||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 31, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Cleopatra: Riddle of the Tomb is a classic point-and-click adventure that's full of brain-teasers and puzzles. Strikingly similar to the Myst series' gameplay, Riddle of the Tomb will have gamers scouring ancient Alexandria for clues and implements in order to solve the mystery of Cleopatra's destiny and the disappearance of your mentor and lost love. The control mechanic is simplistic, the static visuals are authentic to the period and nicely detailed, and the puzzles are challenging. These three factors make this a game worth playing for any PC adventure enthusiast despite its flaws. Just make sure you're patient, meticulous, and not easily frustrated if you plan on picking it up.
Riddle of the Tomb was originally released in Europe under the title, Cleopatra: A Queen's Destiny. It was developed by Kheops Studio, and as their name would imply, they know quite a bit about Egyptian antiquity. This makes the story and settings both credible and satisfying. This also applies to the kinds of puzzles you will be deciphering along the way. From water locks to herbal tonics to refracting light with a great prism, the puzzles are varied, difficult, and authentic.
As such, there is a bit of a learning curve to the title. In the beginning, you will plod through the game as you constantly run up against confusion. Initially, it can feel as if the tasks you have to complete are not logically laid out for you. A big part of this is that you'll miss a lot of clues by simply not seeing them; crucial story devices lay hidden at your feet and in trampled brush. Be sure you examine closely every single point of interest for all of its objects, text, and action sequences. If you miss anything, you'll find yourself backtracking to every point and frantically clicking all over the screen in search of that bit of stick or the proper place to fill up a water receptacle. This can be frustrating and will be a game killer for someone who is used to popping melons in an FPS, not using their melon in a puzzle-laden adventure.
Along those lines, I would have liked to have seen a more linear progression early on in the title. For example, I had a heck of a time figuring out where to use the paint thinner I created in the Great Library. It took me over a half an hour just to notice the appropriate click point on the column. After going through every area several times I noticed a small spot that was already rubbed off. Sure enough, I pointed the cursor over the tiny spot in question, and I was able to advance. In other words, once I noticed where to click the game began to flow again. Maddeningly, these moments of confusion are frequent, so it is imperative that you diligently and methodically work your way through. Missing anything will needlessly cost you a lot of time.
Fortunately, the puzzles themselves are very logical, and it is just a matter of putting together all the clues according to the text prompts found on papyrus scrolls, wall carvings, and tomb inscriptions. Furthermore, you'll often find objects that need to be assembled or disassembled before they can be used. This is also logically done, especially considering the game gives you a formula at the bottom of the screen that lets you know how many more items you are missing before being able to fashion the necessary implement.