Amstrad Action1st July 1989
Published in Amstrad Action #46
Total Eclipse 2: Sphinx Jinx
'Although a subtler sphinx renew riddles of death Thebes never knew' (P.B. Shelley). Well, Thebes may not have solved the riddles of death, but you'll to have to if you want to survive the Sphinx Jinx. Just when you thought it was safe to get back out of the water and venture once more into the desert a new task has been set.
Having saved the world from calamity in Total Eclipse, you are now presented with news that the twelve parts of that dogs body [Lion, actually - Ed] the Ancient Sphinx, are to magically disappear for eternity if the statue is not re-assembled within one hour You know what this means, it's sandy hoots time again! So dust off that hat, oil your bull whip and go pyra'mad.
It's very much as you were on the Incentive ranch, and the game begins with you wandering aimlessly around outside three pyramids. Immediately Eclipse flashbacks occur, and remembering the back door, you may decide a good reccy is in order. Again though those fiendish Egyptians are one step ahead, because as one of the buildings is rounded you see something shimmering in the sand. Over you charge, deliriously happy, having finally gotten to know how the Freescape mind works When before your very eyes the apparent pile of gold bars disappears, as you are told 'mirage'. As you try to get your ego back into working order, it's time to go into the pyramid and find some real gold.
The gameplay is identical to Eclipse, but the theme is somewhat different. Instead of finding one route to a specific point, you now have to discover the whereabouts of the twelve statue fragments. To achieve success, you now have to learn a route that allows you to pick up each piece within five minutes, which doesn't allow much room for error. This has to be done as well as collecting ankhs, gold and water.
The traps and tricks too are subtly different: this time they are more obvious in guise but more devious in solution. Invisible walls block your path, walkways are obstructed by hovering blocks and half walls trip you, spilling life saving water. More fiendish pitfalls await you though as you venture further into the perilous pyramid. Hovering floors appear and disappear and must be negotiated a block at a time. This is not as simple as it sounds because they vanish in a pre-arranged order which must be figured out (as well as the minor problem of walking on the blocks themselves).
Other areas have portals which whisk you to different rooms and mouths that have to be climbed through whilst open - he who hesitates is not only lost but munched. Like Eclipse (with its Illusion sector) there is a Jinx zone which costs you an ankh to get into and tears of frustration to leave.
Sphinx Jinx is set in a slightly smaller tomb than Eclipse, but there are more intensive trap sessions along the way. Mapping is made simpler because of the lesser number of levels, but progress is hindered by tougher rooms. Freescape may not be as revolutionary as it was back in the days of Driller, but now it's more complex than ever before. If you've not got Eclipse and are already a member of the Home Computer Club, this game is one of the greatest bargains going.
Freescape games are definitely a hit with me. Ok, so it looks very similar to Total Eclipse. But Sphinx Jinx's puzzles are even better!
P. Freescape strikes again.
P. Smoothest 'scape game yet.
N. Serviceable sound effects.
Grab Factor 78%
P. The first pieces are pretty conspicuous.
Staying Power 83%
P. Massive mausoleum maze.
P. Enough enigmas and deathtraps to keep you engrossed for weeks.
Classic Freescape conundrums. It's a shame it's not available in the shops.