Day in the life of a Pharaoh

Ancient Egyptians. CD-Rom for AcornMultimedia PCApple Mac, Pounds 40 (ex VAT). SCA, PO Box 18, Benfleet, EssexSS7 1AZ. Telfax: 01268 755811. Age range: primary.

This latest historical simulationadventure CD-Rom from Anglia Multimedia, follows the format of the John Cabot CD-Rom (see page 24) with areas to explore, objects to collect and puzzles to solve. The main objective is to collect a number of objects in order to release the spirit of the Pharaoh so that he may enjoy an eternal life. Only when the Pharaoh has all his objects, may he rise up to meet the gods.

In the antechamber of the Pharaoh's tomb, you are confronted by a door and two walls adorned with paintings and hieroglyphics, which are vital to success in this simulation. On the left-hand side, the vast wall-painting turns out to be an elaborate, twisting time-line that traces Egyptian history from 3000BC to the present day. The wall to the right depicts a scene showing a Pharaoh and his lady with five other members of Egyptian society: a scribe, farmer, builder, priest and maid servant.

Clicking on a character brings each to life and each individual tells you about themselves and shows you where he or she works. You can ask the Egyptians questions about their lives, or you can explore their workplaces independently. Once discovered, each missing object is displayed on the doorway leading to the burial chamber. Thus the walls of the antechamber represent a main menu from where periods in Egyptian history can be located, information about people's lives can be ascertained and where you obtain feedback on your progress with the task. The seven missing objects and their associated puzzles are hidden within the working environment of each character.

Icons appear on screen when the character first introduces his or her workplace. These cover detailed information about the ancient Egyptian way of life. Many objects are to be found in each workplace, leading to an associated information page which illustrates the object and describes its significance. Before a missing object can be claimed, a puzzle must be solved. The teacher can set the level of puzzle difficulty, sound level, the built-in screen saver, the on-screen text and give access to the picture database of Egyptian artefacts.

Included on the CD is a link to Anglia Multimedia's World Wide Web site, which contains additional on-line resources. The educational version of Ancient Egyptians includes a selection of activity sheets on a wide range of related topics. These can be edited and amended or printed out.

Ancient Egyptians has been designed and constructed with a great deal of care. There is a huge amount of information accessible on it, which is freely copiable to schools. There is even a picture library in which to delve.

This is an impressive piece of software which would be a welcome addition to a primary school's resource box on ancient Egyptians.

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