REVIEW: Tombs & Treasure

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Tombs & Treasure is a remake of an older game for Japanese computers. Most of Falcom’s games don’t come stateside and I’m somewhat of a fan, at least of Sorcerian. Tombs & Treasure is an adventure game with mostly inventory puzzles and a few tacked-on RPG elements, set in the ruins of Chichen Itza. It’s a cool setting that makes the game memorable.

The basic nuts and bolts: In Tombs & Treasure you trek between sets of ruins (in an overhead view), enter them (in a static Shadowgate-type view), and pick up everything you can. In classic adventure form, you will amass an inventory of objects that must be combined and used in obtuse ways. The puzzles are cryptic and there’s a lot of trial and error, worsened by a clunky command list—are separate commands for push, pull, and move really necessary?

The only additions to the adventure formula are the combat and experience systems. Upon entering some ruins you must battle a supernatural creature, trading blows until either of you die. There are no combat decisions and the penalty for death is small. Mostly combat is a moot point, only preventing you from entering later areas prematurely. Experience is earned by battling or solving puzzles and affects your combat abilities only. As much as I love killing monsters and earning experience points, neither feature really adds to the game.

With obscure puzzles and lots of searching for hot spots, Tombs & Treasures is a pretty standard adventure game. Old school genre fans will feel at home, but only its setting makes it worth noticing beside the NES Kemco big three: Déjà Vu, Uninvited, and Shadowgate. Still, it’s straightforward and lovable if you are inclined.

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