Moorhuhn in: Der Schatz des Pharao
(= Treasure of the Paharao)
Release date Germany: 12/2003
Publisher: ak tronic
Game language: German
USK: for all ages
A review by slydos 22nd January 2004
Phenomedia AG has made a name by various advertising games, among them also an adventure, i.e. the third part of "Dunkle Schatten" (Dark Shades), a free available anti-racism game of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Really established and resounded throughout the land Phenomedia gets by the phenomenal spread of the Moorhuhn-shooter (Moorhuhn = grouse) that served as pause-amusement for many 'hard' working people. Again Phenomedia made headlines 2002 through balance manipulations, when the managers indicated some not existing claim amounts in million height. Insolvency was announced, but despite criminal machinations the company existed on (with half the staff). One bethought of the good old draft horse 'Moorhuhn' - and made it the protagonist of an adventuregame, which just before Christmas 2003 entered the cuddle world of the dealers' shelves without big ad spending (whenceever should they take it from?).
While in an Egyptian pyramid after 2000 years a dangerous power comes alive, in order to ascent the throne of Egypt again, the archaeologist Moorhuhn in autumnally Scotland kills time. His depressive mood lets him the choice between going to bed or reading a book. In a book he encounters information about the fabulous treasure of the Pharao Tutatuet in the pyramid of Inshalalala. He sets out with his faithful XZ 2012, but a storm front puts his machine over the edge. The natives are more or less helpful. Baksheesh, clever trading and from time to time a chat with a mummy brings our hero on the trace of the treasure...
"Moorhuhn - The Treasure of the Pharao" comes on 1 CD in a jewelcase without manual in a box. After the automatic installation of the 191 MB we reach the starting menu (all steps are supplemented by help topics, which are available either on-line in the game or also through the homepage). On the one hand we can change to the main menu with the menu option "play" or look at one of the interesting aditional features such as highscore, bonus material or help. A menu option for immediate terminating the game is likewise present. In the main menu screen you have access to the 9 possible savegames with picture and your own text-input, which can here be loaded, saved or overwritten without safety inquiry. From within the game we reach it by ESC-key. Here we also can start a new game and watch the quite movie-like intro made with simple means. At the latest at this point we cannot overlook the fact that at least Indiana Jones and The Mummy have made a cinematographic gene donation. The impressive title theme with piano introduction and orchestra lets the tiny little hairs comfortably direct to grand adventure cinema, while all heroes from Errol Flynn to Orlando Bloom quickly pass your mind's eye. Not bad!
Afterwards we meet the cute little hero, a bit depressive but longing for adventures in his Scottish castle - starting from this point we can intervene in the game.
The Moorhuhn Adventure is almost exclusively mouse-controlled. The ESC-key makes the connection to the main menu. The mini game, in which we must control our airplane, requires inputs with the arrow keys.
Otherwise we control our hero in 3rd-person-perspective by clicking the appropriate hotspots. We cannot move him independently from this hotspots in the area. Moorhuhn has only one speed, i.e. slow chicken shamble. Sometimes it's surprising, when he heads for hotspots lying very near side by side in circuitous bends - and it's a bit nerving always having to wait patiently, especially since you can notice that it comes from a sadistic vein of the developers and shoud help to prolong the game.
All interactions, like talking or taking and using objects, are executed with the mouse. We select the appropriate cursor shape with the right mouse button and implement the action with the left. The help function in the starting menu (within mini games help is directly available by a question mark) gives detailed information about it too. Often you have to click twice, before an action is actually selected or implemented.
By 'wrong' actions, usually when using the talk-icon on objects, which logically can't answer, some score-points are substracted. The current score is always shown at the upper edge of the screen. Normal game actions and mini games can increase this scoring. As a Sierra fan I like this kind of success indication very much and also appreciate the replay-incentive by the entries in the highscore list at the end of the game.
The scrollable inventory appears at the bottom of the screen, as soon as one approaches with the mouse. The object selection is somewhat lengthy, since one must always use the 2-hand-cursor for it. Selected objects are attached to the cursor translucently and can be used both, with other inventory objects and hotspots.
Dialogues function by multiple choice and are often automatically closed, without all possibilities tested. With a lot of hawkers one cannot only talk, but also bargain over goods. Here one must finally enter an amout of money, to get the desired objects.
In order to fathom the sense and the functionality of some mini games, one should read the on-line help, since one would be a bit lost otherwise.
Control and handling are not exactly top, Moorhuhn's slow shamble and loop ways are nerving, not every click hits and I would have wished the selection of the inventory objects and actions more simple. 9 savegames are too few and an overwriting warning also wouldn't have been bad. Altogether however a satisfying handling.
Our 3D-comic-grouse moves slowly, but in any case endearingly animated through 28 beautifully sketched comic locations. If we don't move Moorhuhn for some time, he starts scratching himself, of course supported by the appropriate sound, and saunters bored across the screen. His steps only differentiate between external (without reverberation) and interior scenes (with reverberation).
Actions are likewise supported by small noises, like getting water, the metallic sound of pocketing inventory objects or the rustle when unfolding the map. Moorhuhn and his chicken-like interlocutors or other NPCs are animated nicely and even move, when we don't click them with the (likewise animated) cursor. Even chicken eyes or the "ravages of time" lead a moving independent existence, like snoring Bedouins, smacking camels or a dabbling well against the always audible desert wind.
What appears strange, even a little disturbing, are the detailed speech animations, although Morhuhn must get along completely without any voices! So we must wait for gesturing and facial expressions of the sometimes long conversations, before we can continue. In addition always an oriental music theme rises, which can't be turned down. But it doesn't matter too much, as the music cannot cut any voices off.
What irritated me first a little bit, that an inescapable ticking clock was present during the mini games, even if there is no time pressure at all!
A beautiful addition is the bonus material in the main menu. Here one can look at sketches, posters and desktop motives, which are of course also accessible from CD directly.
On the one hand we find a whole set of classic inventory/object-based and dialogue puzzles. But in the altogether 10 mini games, (without Game Over by the way), we must solve a number of other kinds of puzzles and have to face tasks that need capacity of reaction too. In addition there are sliders, jigsaw-puzzles, decoding puzzles and a melody-game. There are action elements in the airplane and in the really hard cannon-shooting game. The 'escape the guard' game is about pre-planned moves. And there is a large labyrinth with 80 additional rooms, which can be confusing if you havn't found the map of it, what simplifies the maze.
The object-oriented puzzles have their 'own logic', because the developers did not only add coruscating humor as entertaining addendum, but made it a puzzle-component for example here (attention - spoiler): A reflector surface should be cleaned, but neither rags nor water work. Here, as in many other cases, a wordplay is used, because you could only clean it with "the solution to the puzzle", which hides a blue-gleaming liquid in a small bottle!
This pulls through the whole game, which turns the degree of difficulty in some places to 'rather difficult'. There are objects like the 'holy straw-bag' (which is a phrase meaning "Holy Moly") and many other wellerism figures of speech which can hardly be translated without loosing the joke. In order to catch e.g. the 'tooth of time' (meaning 'the ravages of time'), one must think in other dimensions. The puzzles are really funny and inventive and don't obtrude their solution. Who gets stuck, can have a look at the help-file, which is installed into the Moorhuhn-directory.
Frustrating was actually only the cannon game, where you must score at least 240 points in fast reaction sequences without allowing any failures, since time is running off untiringly. The odds aren't particularly great in this game, because one has only 32 possibilities of scoring between 6 and 10 points in a short time, and can only be mastered since the sequence is always repeating exactly.
With approx. 12 hours play time "Moorhuhn" shows a super price-performance ratio in relation to full price games with shorter game-length such as "The Legend of the Prophet and the Assassin" etc.. So one should not hesitate to acquire this nice adventure game for 15 Euro. You can hardly make anything wrong with it, and not, because the insolvent Phenomedia AG can use each financial support of compassionate adventure- or Moohruhn-fans, but because the game simply makes fun. By the way one can download the XS-version of the Moorhuhn Adventures for free from the homepage, quasi the demo, which consists of the Scottish location up to the flight to Egypt.
Rating: 71 %
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- Windows 98/Me/2000/NT/XP
- Pentium III 700 MHz
- 256 MB RAM
- 250 MB on hard disk
- SVGA graphic card with 16 MB memory
- DirectX 3.0 or higher
- Mouse, keyboard,, CDROM-drive
- Windows XP
- P IV 1,6 GHz
- 512 MB RAM
- 16x DVD-ROM (Artec WRA-A40)
- nVidia GeForce 2MX400 64 MB graphic card
- Sound card DirectX-compatible
Looking up in specialist book publications
A torn papyrus
Á la Indiana Jones to Africa
Emergency landing in the desert
First you have to get the map
Entrance of the pyramid
Here you can enter the door opening code
The museum of the village
Moorhuhn has to help several citizens
Pinboard in the desert
You must only solve one row of the slider puzzle
First you must complete the stone-riddle, then you have to remember a tone-sequence