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Pyramid Adventures - CD-i Review

>> Monday, February 19, 2007

Episode 1: Treasures of the Lost Pyramid. This hints at a series with more than just one game, but apparently developer Compact Disc Incorporated changed its mind during the years. When Philips developed the CD-i format together with other companies like Sony and Matsushita, I don't think they planned on taking the whole software publishing all by themselves. However, things changed a lot and in the end 95% of all games were published by Philips, with a few notable exceptions. One of them is Pyramid Adventures, a highly entertaining platform game for CD-i.

Facts:
Developer: Compact Disc Incorporated
Publisher: Compact Disc Incorporated (Marketed by Philips)
Release: 1996
Genre: Platform game
Review date: February 2007
Required: Digital Video cartridge
Recommended: Gamepad
Extra: no multiplayer, age rating: >7

This game was worth a sequel, but Compact Disc Incorporated was not just a games developer. People who know CD-i will remember Compact Disc Incorporated also from Memory Works series. This was also published on CD-i in 1997, aimed at a professional educational market. The title including its sequels were transformed to CD-ROM as well. Nowadays, Compact Disc Incorporated is known by Memoryzine, and still is a company that is focussing on The Memory Works®, which offers Memory Training Programs designed for everyone seeking Memory Improvement.

Pyramid Adventures was not focussed as a normal game either, although it's a dedicated platform game just like Christmas Country and The Apprentice. In fact, this was not even a retail game. The main theme of this game is 'nutrition'. It was a sponsored project by the USA National Cancer Institute. Don't be fooled though, Pyramid Adventures main thing is just entertainment, and if you don't want to learn something about nutrition, you can still play a fun game.

I'm still a little confused about the copyright. I'm not aware of any other version than CD-i, but apparently the software was written in 1993. However, the manual is copyrighted in 1995, and the disc itself sais it's printed in 1996. I got my copy ten years later because in the ninetees it was not possible for me to get this USA import. Even more, I didn't even know its existence.

The music was written by Tony Trippi, somebody that will bring back memories by some of you. Tony Trippi was the same guy who was responsible for the soundtrack of Laser Lords, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Mutant Rampage, Sargon Chess and Alice in Wonderland (All CD-i titles).

Let's have a look at the story of the game. The story is based on a childrens book, so basically this is a game license of a book, written by Jack Sughrue. It is about Dr. Olivia Pitt, a world famous archeologist.She and her nephew Dash Daniels discover an ancient and mysterious pyramid in the egyptian desert. Minutes after Professor Pitt and her nephew set foot inside the pyramid, the door rumbles shut behind them and the evil Pharaoh Antu captures here. It's up to Dash and his cat Mozart to discover Aunt Olivia's whereabouts and free her. They need her help to rid the Lost Pyramid of its awful 4000-year-old curse.

During the game, Dash gets advice and gifts from Tofu, God of Wisdom, and Yam, Goddess of Good Health, who appear mysteriously beside him. Your quest is to save Aunt Olivia and restore the healthy lifestyle of the pyramid by defeating Antu and his evil minions. Dash has entered the Lost Pyramid wearing his backpack and carrying his slingshot. The pack contains all the items Dash will need for a successful adventure. Some items you will earn (gold, extra lives), some you will pick up along the way if you are careful and observant (rich cakes for your slingshot or carrots). Some you willbe given (such as Yam's Pyramids of Life), some you will buy (like the bedroll from Atsap). As Dash you must examine everything, click on everything and try everything to learn everything about the Pyramid's strange secrets and creatures.

The Pyramid of Life helps you to understand the USDA Pyramid and what is necessary at each level to feed Sebek the Devourer and get safely through the Mummy Mazes. It also helps with feeding the sphynx, the Mummy and yourself well-rounded, healthy meals. Clicking on each area of the Pyramid will display the food group with a number of recommendations. This is in fact the educational part of the game, but very important to proceed in the game. That is, because dash has to eat and sleep during the game, and you have to take care of that. As you proceed through the stages of the Pyramid, you will also need to eat and sleep more often. When you go to the Vending Machine Pantry, you will need to buy food from the five food groups, avoiding those foods laden with fat, salt and sugars. The Sphynx won't be happy with those foods, neither will you. When you need to feed the sphynx, his chomping image will appear in the display.

However, this whole eating procedure is implemented in a fun way, and it is built as an objective system as we find nowadays in first person shooters, which I find very innovative. It is actually a platform game with objectives. Deep, clever, interesting. Then we have the Nutrition Action Arcade. It permits you to step out of the Pyramid and get into the Arcades. In one Arcade, the crocodilian Sebek the Devourer wants only food which is appropiate for the food-group level. You have to choose the appropiate food, pur it into your slingshot and feed him as he comes towards you. In another Arcade, the heads of mummies roll after you in a maze. You must rush to the blinking food before the mummies reach you.The Arcades are the way you can earn gold pieces. With the gold you can buy peripherals that will help you along the way in the Pyramid. A great alternative game element.

Throughout the game are wonderful pictures, stone carvings, ruined statues, islands, pits... Look at everything, cracks in the wall, tunnels, treasures...The game is filled with stuff like this, and it makes the levels very interesting. The primary focus is to make children and adults aware of positive effects of a healthy lifestyle. A good balance of proper nutrition, exercise and rest. The script for this multimedia nutrition education game was written by an elementary school teacher who was taught good health habits for over 20 years. The project received direction and funding from the National Cancer Institute of the USA.

Fun, yes it is. The game mechanics are on par with the high standard of platforming on CD-i. It's not as smooth as in The Apprentice, but right after this it goes into the top. Walk, jump, kill enemies a-la Super Mario, find doors and items. That's the whole story. And once in a while you'll get some side info about the fruit you just found, or why you got a certain objective (mostly about finding some healthy food instead of just snacks!)

End comments:
It's a pity this game is pretty rare on CD-i. It never got a lot of attention, probably because this was no normal retail game. But it is a very nice platform game equally fun and good as Christmas Country and The Apprentice. It's more difficult, you actually have to do something to proceed.

Graphics: 8
Nice they made good use of the extra memory of the DVC, which you can see in the smooth scrolling mechanism including background music and SFX. Nice, graphics are not high-res but fitting a cartoon style in 256 colours. Animation is also done very nice, with a touch of Goblins/Discworld over it (if you catch my drift).

Sound: 8
Excellent soundtrack by Tony Trippi, the same guy who was responsible for the audio at Spinnaker/Animation Magic. Varied, melodic, fun.

Playability: 7
Good, fast responsive controls. Nothing wrong with the controls, it plays well like a platformer should.

Value: 7
You'll be busy finding everything and reaching the end of the game for hours, but if you can stick to the end, I don't know. The downside of it all is that it can get a little repetitive and tedious after a while. It's fun for sure, but you have to everything a lot of times, over and over again.

Overall: 7 (not an average)

Similar games on CD-i:

The Apprentice, Christmas Country, Super Mario's Wacky Worlds

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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