I have put in more than my share of time on the PC version, Luxor 2
, so I can easily compare that game with the console revamp, Luxor: Pharoah's Challenge
. I can say that I was both pleased and dismayed with the port. As I played, this game seemed identical to Luxor 2
, just without the ease of motion of the mouse. However, as I progressed, I did see that there are slight differences in the two, albeit few and far between.
For starters, there is a background story to Luxor: Pharoah's Challenge, something about a god and a songstress. To be honest, I just zipped past this as I was anxious to get into the gameplay. Luxor: Pharoah's Challenge places you in control of an ornate paddle called a winged scarab, with balls of different colors that you can shoot towards a rapidly approaching row of more of these different colored balls, being pushed forward towards a temple by a tireless little bug. Basically, you shoot the correct color ball into two or more of the same color and these disappear. The goal is to destroy all of the balls prior to the bug guy reaching the temple's door. To help you along the way are numerous power ups that fall down as you destroy more balls. They may stop or slow down the progress of the line, or even reverse it altogether. A lightning strike may take out an entire group of balls or a color cloud may turn a whole area the color of the ball you shoot. The Wild Ball, accompanied by a feral sounding eagle screech, will act as a wild card to eliminate 2 matching balls. These almost always seemed to come up when you started a new string of balls. One power up I noticed missing was the Pharoah's daggers which simply allowed you to shoot the balls out of the way until your 10 daggers were used up. I imagine that they eliminated this power up because the daggers couldn't seem to keep up with the button presses. I discovered this during the Bonus Rounds when they were used.
With every group of levels that you defeat, you are given an opportunity to play a Bonus Round for extra points. There are two types of Bonus Rounds - one fun and one not fun at all. In one, you'll have daggers to take out the balls, so no matching is required, although fancy shooting can earn you extra points and a quicker clearing of the row. Take them all out and earn extra points. Then there's the type where you control the row of balls. You have no control over the paddle, but instead move the row of balls left or right in an attempt to match up with the paddle. I hated this bonus round and would often just let it do its own thing until it was over. Sadly, because the controller responds slower than the mouse on the PC version, it's tougher to get all of the balls cleared. The controller also shoots slower than mouse clicking, but more on that in Game Mechanics.
You can opt to play on Practice to beef up your skill on a specific level, Endless Tomb, if you want to torture yourself on the same level with endless rows of balls encroaching (but you can only play on levels you have previously unlocked in Adventure), or Adventure mode, which is the meat of the game. Here, you'll advance through level after level of well designed torture chambers of stress. It's a beautiful thing, actually. As you progress, your "rank" changes, starting with Farm Hand and rising to the ranks of Pharoah. What might sound like a relatively easy game is actually pretty tough since the rows of balls are fairly relentless and sometimes the rows of balls will come out from either side, tag teaming you. You'll have 88 levels (previously seen in the PC version, mind you) to work your way through, so there's a good bit of gameplay to be had here.
Lastly, you can earn up to 25 skill badges by completing certain things such as not approaching the danger zone of the temple or not dying in a level, etc. Think Xbox 360 Live achievements. While earning the badges seems to do little more than give you some bragging rights, it's a little something extra in the game.