(This is part of my journey going playing through 1992’s The Dagger of Amon Ra. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Now that fledgling journalist Lara Bow has the most important tool in her reporter’s arsenal — a pretty dress — she can attend the museum fundraiser and try to get to the bottom of the burglary of the famous Egyptian dagger.
This being a murder mystery of sorts, it’s important to get to know our cast of suspects, which is why the bulk of Act 2 has Lara hanging out at the party eavesdropping on everyone to see what vital clues they might drop. It also has the effect of making her stand out like the nosiest of all Southern Belles…
See? Even the game knows it and calls Lara out on it. Of course, since there’s no other way to advance the plot, Lara has to keep sneaking up behind people and listening in to conversations. Fourteen of them, to be precise.
So who do we have at the party? There’s the arrogant Dr. Carter who found the dagger, Dr. Carrington who is the new museum president, the French sexpot Yvette, Detective O’Riley from the police station, Dr. Smith who keeps calling down curses for the absconding of the dagger from Egypt to anyone who will hear him, stool pigeon Ziggy, Egyptian accountant Najeer, the stuffy Countess, and death-obsessed Dr. Myklos. Oh, and there’s a Nazi guard named Wolf and some dude named Steve who is a total stalker and shows up at the party in work boots.
Over the 14 conversations, you do learn a lot of backstory and personality traits for each of the characters, even though it is a massive exposition dump. At least it is occasionally amusing and bizarre. Deep Conversation on a Dinosaur is going to be the name of my alt-rock band.
File this under “things that you often hear during polite and civilized discussions.”
Stalker Steve shows up and whisks Lara outside of the museum for a little walk. He comes on way, way too strong, and his voice actor sounds a lot like Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. So I’m going to call this guy as the muderer, because who wears work boots to a formal event, poor or not? And stupid poor Lara ends up kissing him anyway, even though they just met. Her head is going to be in his trophy room by the end of the week, mark my words.
Eventually the game frees me from the nonstop talk talk talk to let Lara do some investigating. She actually finds what looks like the real stolen dagger in the gift shop, although Wolf goosesteps in there to usher her out before she can do anything about it.
I like how cartoonish these two dinos look, especially as they have to stare at each other for all eternity. Meanwhile, Lara steals a bone because… why not? Free bone.
Over in the Egyptian wing, Lara spots a bit of blood in front of a sarcophagus. When she opens it, the game hams things up with dramatic music, the above shot of Lara freaking the heck out, and then…
Snooty Dr. Carter, stabbed in the heart and someone’s to blame because he gave love a bad name. If I was playing this game as a kid, this scene would have totally freaked me out. As it is right now, I’m just impressed that the guy can maintain such a pose and a face after death. He commits to the part!
So now the question is… whodunnit and where’s that dagger?