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Item - L'œil du Sphinx


Series: La Saga du Prêtre Jean — no. 2
Alternate Title: The Eye of the Sphinx (literal English translation of title)
Translated Into: Das Auge der Sphinx (German)
L'occhio della sfinge (Italian)
El ojo de la esfinge (Spanish)
Authors: Monrocq, Dominique
Headline, Doug
Illustrators: Terpant, Jacques (cover)
Juszezak, D'Erik (interior)
Date: 1986
ISBN: 2010116984 / 9782010116988
Length: 376 pages (583 sections)
Number of Endings: 27
User Summary: In the first book of the series, your character had to find Hassan Sabba to discover the secret of the famed city of Shangri-La. Unfortunately, even the old man doesn't know the location of Shangri-La, since all the texts telling the stories of the location of this city have been destroyed or lost. Hassan Sabba only knows that a priest of Ancient Egypt named Antarsis traveled to a country far from Egypt. It took him a year to come back by foot, and from its description, Hassan is sure that Antarsis found Shangri-La. Thus, you've been magically transported to Ancient Egypt and given the ability to understand every human language.
Feldrin's Thoughts: Although this book continues the storyline from the first volume, it also stands alone very well. Since this book takes place in a totally different time from the previous one, there isn't any reference to what you did before. You can't meet the same people, and no item of importance has been carried to Ancient Egypt. The only benefit you get from playing book 1 is a magical sword given by Hassan Sabba which gives you +1 SP and LP (but only if you find the answer to a very very sneaky riddle).

If you read the review of the previous book, you may remember that I needed 18 attempts to win. This time, only 4 were required. I failed once because I rolled awfully low stats (a 3 and a 4) and twice because I rolled a double 1 in a fight for my opponents; my fourth attempt was successful. You can easily imagine that L'œil du Sphinx is easier than its predecessor, and you'll be right. However, my final attempt which led me to victory was special; I rolled a 10 on both SP and LP, which actually gives 11 if you take into account the bonuses from book 1. I didn't find the right path; in fact, I missed many things. For example, you can find scrolls with different spells which can be of great help in the adventure. There are at least half a dozen of them. I didn't find even a single scroll, and I lacked many other items as well.

The structure of the book is very similar to that of book 1. In the first part of the book, you choose from several paths leading to Antarsis' place where you meet different people who give different items. In a second part, you're in this "final place" (I won't say much to avoid spoilers). A third and final part also takes place in this location. The design is very interesting since many paths lead to the end, and you're not obliged to map the whole book to win. It adds to the replayability, and it's an interesting characteristic of this series.

However, even though I won, I was disappointed. I won because of my high stats; you could say that I found Antarsis because I had "big muscles" but not wits or brain. I don't like it. Without items or scrolls, you must fight opponents you could have avoided with a more clever path. But with the high stats I had, I defeated them easily and wasn't bothered by them. The fighting system is quick and deadly. Let's do some math to demonstrate this:

My stats were: Strength Points 17, Life Points 29.

Common opponents have SP 11 and LP 14.

Let's say there are two of them.

When I roll a 3, my attack total is: 17 + 3 = 20

They roll a 9 and a 8, attack total: 11 + 9 = 20 & 11 + 8 = 19

I'm not damaged, I even wound an opponent dealing (20 - 19 = 1) damage point.

And I rolled a 3. if I roll a 9 and they roll a 3, I can deal 12 damage points to each opponent. Quite easy isn't it?

Thus, with the exception of the final battle, I never worried too much when fighting (except for the "double 1" rule, but I was luckier this time).

Ultimately, L'œil du Sphinx is a good book, the story is still as interesting as before, and the many paths in the first part add a great deal of replayability. There are more fights and fewer sudden death issues, which makes it easier. It's still a good book with a nice storyline, easy-to-use rules, and a strong historical background which makes it very interesting.

More reviews by Feldrin

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