Ankh Heart of Osiris is not your typical adventure game. Not only are the game?s characters over the top and verging on crazy, but none of them take their roles seriously, which creates a comical atmosphere throughout the game. Heart of Osiris is the second game in the Ankh series, continuing the story where the first game left off. The comical adventure takes a new turn when Assil, the game?s main character, wakes up in a dark alley to find that his Ankh, which he is to protect, is missing. The wacky journey to find the Ankh takes players all over a slightly modernized version of Cairo, solving quirky puzzles and meeting strange, but humorous town folk.
For players that have not played the original Ankh, Heart of Osiris? storyline has a few references that will not make a whole lot of sense, but by and large Heart of Osiris remains its own game and the missing pieces from the original story are filled in through conversations with the many past and present friends Assil meets along his journey.
From the very beginning players will learn of Assil?s relationship with the Pharaoh?s daughter, though it must not be a very good one since he is not allowed into the palace without bribing a guard. Since neither the pharaoh nor his daughter seem to be any help at this time, it?s off to check out the new town bar and find the missing Ankh. The story takes place over several chapters, some of which require players to control multiple characters that assist one another. In one level, even the pharaoh himself is playable.
Ankh Heart of Osiris utilizes a simply, but elegant, point and click interface. In general, the game was not picking on what part of an object you click on to use, though at certain times during the game the mouse had to be positioned just right to work. A feature we really liked with regard to the point and click interface was the ability to make characters run, rather than walk, by simply double clicking. Double clicking sometimes even allowed a new area to load immediately before the character reached the boundary between areas.
Just like a normal adventure game, there are items lying about that must be spotted and used correctly. Some items must be combined with others to become functional devices, while other items must be used in the correct order to become useful. We weren?t always thrilled with some of the item combinations since some of them were not very obvious. For instance, during one quest you must combine fish bones with a sack of berries; however, this can?t be done while in your inventory and only works if the berries are used in the correct way first. We also ran into some trouble early on in the game when attempting to give a character some items. He would only accept them in a specific order, though this didn?t make a whole lot of sense since he would use both separately (and confused us more since we only had one of the two items at first). In general though, the puzzles in Ankh Heart of Osiris are challenging, but at least make sense.
We enjoyed the music themes in the different areas of the game, shifting from what one might expect to a jukebox that would play a variety of tunes from different eras. Some of the voice acting did not fit the characters, but due to the comical and lighthearted nature of the game, some of this could be deemed as intentional. One of the keynotes on the box is the improved graphical system in Heart of Osiris. While the graphics requirements are fairly low for a game that is released today, we ran into some glitches with the character models while running in high graphics mode. They seemed to have black locust-looking flickers all over them, though dropping the graphics down to medium fixed this trouble. We also had some trouble with the inventory items displaying properly. At times, the entire inventory appeared as silhouettes, which would make sense in a dark room or alley; however, this occurred in bright daylight as well. Leaving an area sometimes remedied this error, but sometimes inventory items simply remained uncolored, though thankfully, fully usable. We also managed to get the game?s camera stuck several times on an object in the bar. This didn?t happen in any other area?s and has the fairly easy solution of moving Assil back toward the object and to the right.
Ankh Heart of Osiris is mainly a game released in Europe; though players should able to purchase it and have it shipped to the United States. PEGI, which stands for Pan European Game Information, rates games released in Europe much like the ESRB or Electronic Software Rating Board rates U.S. titles. PEGI rated Ankh Heart of Osiris for ages 12 and up, though we believe 14 is a more appropriate age for several reasons.
From the onset, the game contains sexual references both in text and speech. These references aren?t explicit, but could be deemed as inappropriate. Some of the female characters are also given skimpy clothing comparable to the dress of the saltine?s daughter, Jasmine, in Disney?s animated film, Aladdin. There are several quests and references to alcohol in Heart of Osiris, going as far as requiring players to help the wine seller create a proper mixed drink.
For being such a short game, Ankh has quite a bit of profanity taking the form of variations of phrases involving the words hell and d***. The game is also sacrilegious at times referencing God as a burning bush, which is displayed as a wimpy, barren bush with voice to match. Moses is also referenced, who happens to be a star soccer player in the game and is portrayed in a more positive light.
Ankh Heart of Osiris is a more enjoying adventure game than most due mainly to its interactive and entertaining characters. The game takes a light hearted approach where many games in the industry take on a darker storyline. Even with some minor graphical problems, the game is still fully playable. The game?s storyline definitely caters to a younger audience, but due to content parents need to be aware of the content to which their children will be exposed.
» By Stephan Mack, Plain Games. Published 5/5/2007 6:36:06 PM.