(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.)
The final part of Dagger of Amon Ra is a departure from a lot of what’s come before. Right away, the game transitions into a chase scene between Laura and her strangely robed (um, why?) murderous pursuer armed with a mace. There’s incredibly little time to do anything in a room before the killer barges in and insta-thwacks Laura’s skull, so this becomes all about precisely going to the right place and doing actions to stall the killer.
So, a LOT of trial and error. The stressful music adds to the not-fun feeling of all of this, but since it’s not that difficult to figure out what to do, I’m not complaining. At least Laura gets her cardio for the week.
During this chase sequence, Laura gets to see parts of the museum that were formerly hidden, such as (naturally) a sarcophagus room and a giant underground temple where people worship and sacrifice to the Egyptian god Amon Ra.
Um… wait, what? Could we go back to…
Guess not. So Laura gets captured by these happy folks, and the only way out is (drumroll)… hieroglyphic decoding! Not only do you have to solve two riddles, but you must do so with a hieroglyphic code that you had better copied down earlier in the game or else there’s absolutely no way to progress past this point. I can’t imagine how much of a kick in the pants this would feel for a player to be so near to the end of the game and yet 100% be unable to finish without resorting to an earlier save state.
My theory that Steve is the real murderer was dashed here when Laura discovers him tucked into a coal bin. Kind of wish that HE’D been the one bitten by a snake, but no such luck.
And just in case you were wondering, yes, there are so many ways to die in this last part. Laura practically ping-pongs between fatalities in Act V.
Ultimately — and I am not making this up — Laura leaves the underground temple and travels up through a secret passage that spits her out the mouth of a goofy looking T. Rex. Said dino also helps to capture the real killer, who dangles there without identification.
Of course, no good adventure game is complete without a test at the end, right? I am not joking. There’s an actual test. You have to have been looking for evidence, clues, and listening to conversations to figure out a whole series of whodunnits along with their motivations. That feels a little unfair, considering all that Laura has been through, but it’s in keeping with the investigative spirit of the game.
Solve all these and Laura becomes the talk of the town! Way to go, Laura, you’re swell.
So just in case you were wondering, the two main culprits of the game were Detective O’Riley and Watney Little. The latter was killed and the former gets 60 years of hard labor in prison. At least he gets to have his Scooby Doo monologue, promising vengeance in a sequel that never happened.
And so The Dagger of Amon Ra comes to an end. I had somewhat higher expectations for this game after hearing some people talk it up, but for me, it felt like an average Sierra game. Some yuk yuk jokes, some clever and infuriating puzzles, and some nice pixel animations. But the whole setup of the museum crimes and murders felt kind of ridiculous and nonsensical after a while, and I got extremely tired of all of the backtracking through the place.