Roberta Williams' Laura Bow in: The Dagger of Amon Ra (usually just called The Dagger of Amon Ra) is a computer game published by Sierra On-Line in 1992. The game is the second and final installment in the Laura Bow Mysteries line of adventure games, the first of which was The Colonel's Bequest. The sequel, unlike the first game, was not written or created by Roberta Williams. It uses 8-bit color and a point-and-click interface. It contains voice acting, though this is only available on the CD-ROM version. The Dagger of Amon Ra was developed using Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI1.1).
Overall, this sequel owes little to the original game and is a much more traditional point-and-click game.
The game is set in 1926, primarily in a museum, and reflects the Egyptology craze of the period. The protagonist is Laura Bow (a pun on Clara Bow), a Southern belle who has just graduated from Tulane University and moved to New York City, where she has landed a job at a prestigious newspaper. For her first assignment, she is asked to write a straightforward, lightweight story on a benefit held at a local museum to celebrate their new Egyptian exhibit. When a murder occurs during the party, however, she is locked inside with all of the other suspects. As other guests begin dying one by one, Laura must solve the numerous crimes occurring before the culprits escape or kill her.
The Laura Bow games were distinctive in that they required some actual logical detective work on the part of the player; for the most part, though, the puzzles were of the typical variety of inventory and environment interaction (and frequent, often unexpected, player character death) found in most Sierra adventures.
The identity of the murderer is not automatically revealed at the end of the game. Instead, the player is asked a series of a questions, ostensibly by the police, to prove that Laura had solved the crimes and discovered the secrets of the other suspects. If the questions are answered incorrectly, the coroner will give a hint to point the player towards the path that would have revealed the correct answer in subsequent playing of the games. The ending of the game can change depending on the answers given to the questions, most notably in that Laura can be killed if the player doesn't know the identity of the main murderer. Some fans[who?] have complained about this approach, since it can require replaying the game from nearly the beginning to reach the optimal ending; while others[who?] believe it makes game play more interesting and challenging.
After graduating from Tulane University, Laura Bow was hired as a reporter by a prestigious New York newspaper. Her first assignment is to investigate and report on the theft of the Dagger of Amon Ra.
Dr. Archibald Carrington III
Formerly a curator of the British Museum, Dr. Carrington was appointed to become the new president of the Leyendecker Museum after the death of the previous president, Sterling Waldorf-Carlton. When the story begins, Archibald had worked at the museum for only a few weeks.
Yvette is the amorous French secretary of the Leyendecker Museum president. She has worked as a secretary under both Dr. Archibald Carrington, the current president, and Sterling Waldorf-Carlton, Dr. Carrington's late predecessor. Years ago, Yvette worked as a call girl at a speakeasy. She has a deep sexual fondness for men and maintains relationships with several men including Ernie Leach and Ryan O'Riley.
Dr. Pippin Carter
An arrogant, self-important archeologist, Dr. Carter was the one who discovered the Dagger of Amon Ra within a long-buried temple in Egypt. In the weeks before the story begins, he had been busy preparing the new Egyptology section for the Leyendecker museum.
As Chief of Security at the Leyendecker Museum, Wolf is obsessed with order and takes to his duties with an almost fanatical devotion. Dressed in a German military uniform, Wolf can often be found patrolling the museum grounds. He also collects weapons of various types, keeping them in his office. Wolf is in a relationship with Dr. Olympia Myklos.
Dr. Olympia Myklos
Ryan Hanrahan O'Riley
An Irish detective in the NYPD, O'Riley is the detective assigned to investigate the theft of the Dagger of Amon Ra.
An art student, Steve Dorian works as a part-time dockworker to meet his financial needs. His name is a pun on the word "stevedore".
Dr. Ptahsheptut "Tut" Smith
A curator from the Egyptian Museum who is deeply opposed to Dr. Carter's claim over the Dagger of Amon Ra.
Lawrence "Ziggy" Ziegfeld
A stool pidgeon who can be seen in the Speakeasy, he has many underground businesses and sources and is not very trusted. He is very paranoid and is spotted at times making arrangements with the Countess.
An Egyptian accountant of the museum, he is opposed to Dr. Carter's claim of the Daggar of Amon Ra. He is a successful man who is married with one child and another on the way. He mysteriously disappears from time to time.
Countess Lavinia Waldorf-Carlton
The widow of the previous president Sterling Waldorf-Carlton, she is caught in the middle of a messy ordeal regarding Sterling's will and her entitlements. She seems to also have arrangements with Ziggy as well as the flapper in the Speakeasy. Although she claims to love her late husband, he notes in his journal that he and Yvette fears her.
The head of the New York newspaper, he is Laura's boss and the one whom hired her to write a story of the museum's benefit party. He is close friends with Laura's father John Bow.
Crodfoller T. Rhubarb
Laura's co-worker, he tries to help Laura whenever possible, but is also reluctant of Augustini's decision to send Laura to write a report of the daggar's theft when she is only just a rookie. If Laura fails to solve the murder mysteries and daggar theft, he would take over the case and solve them instead.
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- The visual style of the game is based on the artwork of J. C. Leyendecker. In addition, the cover for the game is based on Leyendecker's cover for the 18 March 1905 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.
- Pippin Carter is a parody of a real archaeologist named Howard Carter. Pippin, in the midst of dialogue, even references Howard's discovery as the Tutankhamen exhibit and noting that he would "hate to embarrass [his] relative by putting his Tutankhamen artifacts on display here."
- The exterior of the 'Leyendecker Museum' of the game is based on the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. [ ]
- Roberta Williams, creator of Laura Bow, served as creative consultant, while Bruce Balfour wrote and designed the game.
- The last reference to the series was in a nod in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993), where an octogenarian Laura Dorian is scheduled to speak at a New Orleans university.
- ↑ Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (January 1993). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (189): 57–62.