Bantam, $3.50, ISBN 0-553-25761-7
Secret of the Pyramids takes you to – where else? – Egypt. You are in school, a young lady doing her own thing, when your Uncle Bruce calls to invite you over to join him in Egypt. He is investigating an unnamed Pyramid, described simply as the biggest one in Giza. Excited, you drop school and everything else (parents… what’s that?) to head over to Cairo, where an adventure involving scumbag terrorists with machine guns, sepulchral dead pharaohs, and other stereotypical elements awaits you.
The first thing you will notice is how hideous the illustrations are. Anthony Kramer, the illustrator, has this tendency to give his characters unusually big and wide eyes that make them come off as mentally handicapped.
Also, Secret of the Pyramids is better off a historical gamebook than a contemporary one because many of the elements here are outdated. References to the Oriental, for example, and the colonial vibes of the adventure seem more at home in the 1940s than today. It is also rather ridiculous to portray Cairo of today as a backwater gathering of assassins and belly dancers.
All that aside, this is nonetheless a decently designed adventure. It’s not original and it doesn’t have much surprises if you are familiar with Egyptian stereotypes, but it is a readable adventure with plenty of choices to pick from.
All things considered, Secret of the Pyramids has some moments, but it’s pretty much a rather average gamebook.