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Cleopatra: Pharaoh Expansion

by Mish.

I never thought that a great game could be improved upon until I got my grubby little hands on the Pharaoh expansion CD, Cleopatra. When I reinstalled Pharaoh so that I could install the Cleo expansion, I had to wrack my brain to remember the reason for uninstalling it in the first place! Not only is Pharaoh enthralling and engaging, but is even more so with Cleopatra added to it.

First of all, there are 15 new missions and four new campaigns. You can do things like become Ramses and recreate a city to rival the greatest of Egyptian cities-show off that greatness, baby!! Other missions include, 'Valley of the Kings' and of course, my favorite, 'Cleopatra's Capital'. This particular campaign gives you a time limit in which to build a mighty city that meets Alexander the Great's approval. Here you have to build Alexander's mausoleum, the great library (yes you can burn it down) and even the fabled Pharos lighthouse. Oh and while i remember, do not forget to check out the river of blood. It is an added feature with the Cleo expansion. You would not like to take a cozy dip in these waters-I'll let you play the game and figure it out.

For those who have not played Pharaoh, I shall give you a little overview of this Egyptian simulation game. Pharaoh/Cleopatra is very intense and much like Caesar 3 where you do not just build merrily and expect everything to go as planned. You have to appease the gods so that they help your city to prosper- -for if they are angered they can either destroy your chances for a good inundation or ruin your reputation in the kingdom. But this expansion has brought on new features to challenge your growth, such as locusts and frogs as options for godly punishments. You also have to remember to keep the people happy as well. There's nothing like a bit of urban goodness to keep the good old Egyptians evolving in status. I once had an entire area 'de-evolve' because the local bazaar did not sell pottery. The trick is to keep good council with your overseers. Your overseers maintain a record of where you are lacking or growing. This way you can keep a skilled eye on your city and catch problems before they get out of hand.

Speaking of eyes, you can also lay your eyes on some new structures in Cleopatra. You can have such things as Tomb Artisans in your cities now and even some new nifty pieces of art and sculpture for beautification. More massive additions that Cleo brings include the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and of course the very eye pleasing library at Alexandria.

But unfortunately, the Cleopatra expansion did not really improve on the music variety. I would have liked to hear a change in the music or at least a few new tracks that would stick out and remind you that you have purchased a quality add-on from top to bottom.

One thing that most people look for in a game is replayability and this expansion provides it. You can replay each map a countless number of times because you never build each city the same way and in general, this game is abound with things to do, with buildings to make and a wealth of beautification to spread around.

In terms of graphics, they are pretty good-you don't expect an expansion to bring anything new though in terms of graphics. The people may still be small, but you can easily determine who they are with respect to their clothes and anything that they carry. The workers of the firehouse carry human-yokes with water buckets and the bazaar girl carries little things in her hands, yadda yadda. You get the picture. Graphics are still good, but as many pointed out when comparing Pharaoh to Caesar 3, the graphics haven't made a giant leap for mankind-or any kind for that matter.

This expansion definitely made me take another look at Pharaoh and I have to admit that with the expansion, it is worth the sleep deprivation to play this game into the wee hours of the morn. There is no reward greater that being revered as a god. This is one expansion that isn't good just because it offers new structural and mission-based tidbits etc., but it re-invigorates one's interest in playing a game that many probably forgot about a while ago with the rush of games that came during Pharaoh's original release.

There isn't much else to say about this pack that those who didn't play the original already don't know. Other than the aforementioned additions (the most of which are better left to surprise for when you play it yourself) i can only say that it is a nice return to a quality title.

If I may, a little message I read on a message board seems to sum up my feelings on the Cleopatra expansion:
"Cleo has improved Pharaoh immensely, like any lady complements a manů"

Need I say more?


FINAL MARK

They have added just enough new 'stuff' to keep old Pharaoh players happy.

Game often feels like perhaps a little bit more added would have been great, but no serious complaints.

This will drag replayability out of your old game of Pharaoh and remind you why the game was pretty darn good to begin with-no matter how much it was just like Caesar 3. :)

88%

 

Oh great...people are always getting sick and dying, ruining my master plan to be Pharaoh. Hmph.

 

Darn this neighbourhood! Nothing ever evolves around here! Come on, i want some quality Egyptian condos!