The Dagger of Amon Ra: A Laura Bow Mystery

Developer/Publisher:  Sierra
Year Released:  1991

Review by Rosemary Young (April, 1996)
amonra.jpgThe Dagger of Amon Ra is the second instalment in Sierra's Laura Bow Mystery Series. It was first released in 1991 and since no more Laura Bow games have materialised, it seems that it is the last. Sad, really, because it is an entertaining series with plenty of puzzles to work your way through and lots of clues to mull over.

New York, New York
The story opens and the credits roll by as you witness a murder on board an ocean liner. Remember this -- and take note of the conversations of the passengers as they disembark in New York as they hold important clues.

Switch to a young, ambitious Laura Bow bidding her policeman father goodbye and making her way to the big city to take up a position as reporter for the New York Tribune. Her first assignment (and yours) is to investigate the theft of the Dagger of Amon Ra from the Leyendecker Museum. To this end you must attend a fundraising event at the museum being held that evening, and you are under pressure to 'perform', this being your first assignment. But, alas, your suitcase has been stolen, along with your money -- you have nothing to wear to the ball!

A hot bed of lust and crime
The game is divided into 6 Acts and in the first one you have two main goals -- to get some background information on the crime and to acquire some suitable attire. Then it's on to the museum where the second act consists primarily of getting to know the suspects. Here a spot of serious eaves dropping is necessary as well a good deal of interrogation.

The real action begins in Act 3 and continues through to Act 6. The museum is a fascinating place to explore and it gets even more fascinating as you peer behind the scenes. Hardly anyone is really who they seem to be, they all have hidden agendas except, perhaps, for Yvette Delacroix who endlessly flaunts her personal works of art to all and sundry. Just listen at a few doors or pop into offices unannounced and you'll catch her in a compromising position entertaining any one of the hapless male employees.

Diminishing returns
There are clues by the dozen to collect, covert assignations to break up and a number of shady deals to be revealed. Finding the physical evidence, too, is great fun and there are a few dark passageways to negotiate if you can figure out a way to get hold of some illumination. Of course, you must also find the dagger, but along the way you'll be looking for the key to a mysterious locked trunk and deciphering the hieroglyphics on the famed Rosetta Stone. Then there's the bodies -- right from the start of the Second Act your suspects begin dropping like flies. All this to go through before the climax when you are hounded through the museum by the murderer. In the final act your deductive skills will be put to the test when you attend a 'hearing' and present all your facts and evidence and, hopefully, reveal all. If you fail ... well you'll have to wait and see!

The Dagger of Amon Ra is an excellent game for murder mystery fans. Though the graphics seem a little pixilated now, this is no problem as the gameplay easily rivals many games that are published today. The music is very good and, more importantly, the game sets up enough problems to keep you thinking and even gnashing your teeth occasionally. Also, it has the 'old' Sierra interface which allows you to 'look' at things (invaluable in a detective type game), and which also allows for the puzzles/problems be more complex and for you to do the 'detecting' rather than just clicking on everything in sight and waiting to see what happens. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 1996. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
Floppy version: 286 or better, EGA or VGA, mouse recommended.