Scarabaeus (Ariolasoft) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By Ariolasoft
Commodore 64

Published in Computer & Video Games #50


I have begun my quest to find Scarabaeus, the fabulous emerald jewel of the pharoahs. I have begun my descent into the dark horrors of the tomb!

So starts the latest release from Ariolasoft - their first non-US import. And it's a real goodie!

At first glance it seems to be a simple revamp of the good old 3D maze puzzle games. But don't be deceived, there's much more to it than that. Three levels worth of much more in fact.

The screen display shows you a 3D maze - but you can switch to an overhead plan view of the maze by simply pulling back on the joystick. This enables you to see the whereabouts of the ghosts. Ghosts? Yes, ghosts - but this ain't Pac-Man, buddy.

You need to chase and capture these ghosts in order to collect the nine hieroglyphs which are your key to the next level.

This stage is really a warm up for what will come later! Your glyphs are displayed when you hit the fire button which accesses a nice graphic of a gloved hand holding a rack which gradually fills up with the pictures as you get them.

Once you've completed the key, it's into the lift. You have to wind your way down to the next level very carefully - one slip with the joystick and *wham*! Into the second level where you have to brave poisonous spiders and solve mind - boggling puzzles to collect medicine and zombie traps. You have to match your glyphs with those you'll find on the wall of the second level to get these items. If you survive the spiders, it's back to the lift for level three - Pharoah's jewels and menswear!

Here's there those zombie traps come in useful because the tomb isn't going to give up its precious jewel without a fight. You have to solve more puzzles and collect more medicine - some of which is poison in disguise, so watch what you drink!

The graphics are good and the sound excellent. You can switch between a music soundtrack and a very realistic heartbeat/breathing sound effects which add to the already considerable atmosphere of the game.

Scarabaeus is a challenge for the thoughtful gamers who likes a mixture of action and strategy. You need all your wits about you when there are monsters about.

There's a scoreboard which you can call up at any stage of the game to see how you're going.

An a-maze-ingly intriguing game (Ugh!). Ariolasoft's best yet.