The Colonel's Bequest & The Dagger Of Amon Ra
Review By: Gringo

There once was a woman called Roberta Williams who made PC games. Still is, by all accounts, unless she went and got death. She created a bunch of titles for Sierra, from four-colour horrors through to FMV horrors like Phantasmagoria.

However, the games I'm most interested in with this review are the two murder mystery adventure games she made, starring that irrepressible unknown, Laura Bow. She was a journalist-cum-amateur sleuth (hee! Cum!) that solved a couple of murders and was never heard from again. Probably because Sierra realised they were no good at making PC games.

Incidentally, I got these games as part of the Roberta Williams Anthology (it was going cheap), which has 14 of her creations inside. There's a big scrawl on the CD case that says, "THE EVOLUTION OF ADVENTURE GAMING IN A BOX" (no, really, it's all written with caps lock on). Sadly, I think the designers were taking the Bible version of evolution, because I don't see any reality in its proclaimed genesis of quality adventure in any of the 14 games mentioned! Take that, you Darwin-hating moose-beasts!

Anyway, the two Laura Bow games are quite different from one another. The first is a 16 or 17 or something colour keyboard-driven wacky show. The second is a traditional point-and-click adventure game. The common theme that binds them together? DEATH.

The Colonel's Bequest. This is a nightmare of a game. Not because it's creepy, but because everything - from walking to talking - is done via the keyboard, making it laborious and depressing. Although there is of course the delight in making Laura Bow say "I got me an itchy cunt!" to an old southern Colonel.

A university friend has invited Ms. Bow to the plantation home of said Colonel. The Colonel then proceeds to give a verbal fuck you to his whole family by telling them he's changed his will. Cue murders and mystery.

I was more obsessed with getting Laura Bow naked than solving the murders, and got as far as having her strip for a shower. Sadly, someone went and stabbed her to death while she was washing (MOTHER! BLOOD! NO!) so it made whacking off kind of icky.

The problem with this game is that death is everywhere. "I will walk over this bridge" = DEATH! as the bridge collapses. "I will open this secret door" = DEATH! as you plummet to your doom down a hidden chute. "I will look at this suit of armor" = DEATH! as the axe it's holding falls loose and slices your face open. "I will walk up these stairs" = DEATH! as the banister gives way. It's a wonder the fucking Colonel wasn't finished off by Death Manor before Ms. Bow even arrived.

A 50 per cent game in every sense of the word, whatever that might mean.

The Dagger Of Amon Ra. This game goes to show that you can improve the graphics, make the thing easier to play, but if you can still get killed by a 1920s taxi driving at 100mph (from out of nowhere) then it's still a sucky butt.

Admittedly, while playing this game I had more "fun" as the kids say, but there are still enough annoyances to make it not worth your time.

For one thing, if this is part of "EVOLUTION", albeit in box-form, it's definitely at the primordial swamp end, as the game seems to crash as often a retard on a bike.

In addition, because this is an adventure game with voice-over actors, the awful factor is upped by about 10 or 20 something. For example, go and speak to the Chinese guy who owns a laundry downtown (yes, it's really that stereotypical) and you'll get the PC world's best "Fank ooo missahs Bow" fake Asian accent.

Sure, the murder mystery aspect is relatively interesting for a while, but this game is far too pernickety about what you absolutely must do and don't do that it takes most of the enjoyment away very quickly. I rate it 295 out of 108,256!

There's also a song that plays over the end credits, which starts, "I want to marry an archaeologist and keep his artifacts warm." Quite.


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