A space ship lands. An astronaut and his dog disembark and enter the building in front of them, seconds before the door closes. But what are they doing in there? Will they ever get out again? And why is this game called Scarabaeus?
That’s what I asked myself every time I played that game as a kid. And it was quite scary. Why? See, you just entered this ancient Egyptian tomb, looking for a precious diamond, the Scarabaeus. But don’t expect to just go in there, grab that diamond and make your way out again. Nope, it won’t be that easy, of course.
The game itself is divided into three different levels (or floors) where you have to catch ghosts, avoid spiders and solve puzzles.
The first floor contains nine ghosts, which the player has to catch, in order to collect hieroglyphs. Floors can be reached any time by playing a mini-game, where Mr. Astronaut has to operate an elevator. If he makes a mistake, the whole thing will crash to the next floor in free fall.
On the second floor the player has to lure spiders out of their lairs, so he can solve puzzles before the spider returns.
The third, and final, floor contains the last puzzle, which has to be solved in order to get that diamond. But before that can be achieved the player has to collect potions, while avoiding zombie-like creatures.
I remember being scared every time I played it as a kid, thanks to its unnerving atmosphere. And a huge part in creating said atmosphere was the unsettling music, which perfectly fit the occasion. But to be honest, in the beginning I never really knew what I was supposed to do, so instead of catching those ghosts I was running away from them (who’s laughing?). And I have to admit, I never actually finished it, due to it being quite difficult.
For a game released in ’85 the graphics are outstanding. And if you consider the fact that it’s played in first person, i. e. the game presents itself in 3D, it’s even more astonishing. It just runs so smooth. All in all, Scarabaeus leaves the impression of being a very polished game.
The video below shows the first two floors. And just listen to that music…
Whot Bob sez
Scary shit, I tell ya. Should’ve called it Scarybaeus, ha. Yeah, I’m so funny, I know. Dank you very much. And I hated dem elevators, always crashed to the next floor. Ah, memories. Bye.