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 Build a Kingdom. Rule the Nile. Live Forever

File:Pharaoh-map 2852.jpg

Pharaoh is Simulation Game developed by Impressions Games and published by Sierra on 1999 and part of the City Building Series. It's a sequel to the Caesar games. As its name implies, the game is set in Ancient Egypt, and in campaign mode it follows the exploits of several dynasties throughout history. You'll get the chance to construct massive Mastabas and Pyramids, battle against the Nubians, cultivate the fertile banks of the Nile, and even have to appease the various Egyptian gods to avoid retribution and receive blessings, or, alternatively, curses.

It received a minor Expansion Pack, Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile.

Tropes used in Pharaoh include:
  • Zero-Percent Approval Rating: You can actually fall into this, with the logical consequences. In what is probably a subversion, the approval rating that matters more is the one from the Pharaoh, not the people: piss him enough to 0% Kingdom Rating (i.e. by not paying tributes several years in a row) and he will send his armies against your fair city.
    • Your citizens, too. They will desert your city if their wages are low, the taxes are high, there is a serious lack of jobs, they don't have enough food to eat, you don't throw in Festivals every now and then...
    • And then there is the approval rating from the gods. Failing to appease them properly can result in sudden drop of reputation, destruction of farms, destruction of goods, sudden death of soldiers, mass plague...
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Apathetic Citizens - The apothecary's walker only cares about whether a malaria outbreak's likely; the architect also speaks only of buildings in poor condition, despite having the full allotment of soundbites.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit - There can only be 6 legions of 16 units total on a map.
  • Badass Preacher - With the upgrades to the Temple Complex of Seth, his priests will attack robbers.
  • Bag of Spilling - With an exception or two in the expansion, nothing from one level carries over to the next.
    • The main exception is that you can give yourself a salary, which will pass on to your descendants. Normally this isn't too important, as the main use for personal funds (giving gifts to other rulers to boost your kingdom rating) has their costs based on a percentage of your funds, you can give some of your money to the city coffers, thus quickly turning into a Game Breaker if you feel like sitting around for several years growing filthy rich.
    • Zeus has what essentially are campaigns: you keep almost everything from one level to the next, unless you're establishing a colony.
  • Blood Knight - Set's priests will be the only one happy about an incoming invasion.
  • Build Like an Egyptian - Often the goal of a campaign includes building certain pyramids.
  • But Thou Must! - When famished neighboring cities start begging you for food, you better provides. If you don't, then they won't trade with you stuffs that your citizens need, thus preventing you from reaching high prosperity, thus preventing you from completing your mission. If you have the heart to refuse them? Too bad, your popularity drop, the people of Egypt begin to doubt your patriotism, and if you don't repair their opinion of you, Pharaoh will send his army against your fair city.
  • Civil War - Halfway in the game, between Lower Egypt (Northern) and Higher Egypt (Southern). Naturally enough, your side (the southern city of Hetepsenusret) is cast as the good guy.
    • Possibly justified- at several times, the guy giving you the pre-level exposition is stated to be a high-ranking official. It's perfectly possible he's an Unreliable Narrator.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: The citizens show very little initiative. Not only do you have to build everything for them except housing (which you merely designate plots for), they do not even go to the market themselves to buy food and goods; a peddler has to walk past. Owing to the vagaries of the walker system, you risk losing a lot of workers to an entire street being deserted due to a priestess failing to walk down it sufficiently often.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The monument construction foreman is impressively sarcastic in his reports.

 I suppose these bricks are going to magically assemble themselves. That must be your plan, since you haven't built a bricklayer's guild.

No peasants have reported for work today. Maybe your work camps are more like sleep camps.

With no carpenters to builds ramps, I hope you're planning on a very short monument.

  • Decisive Battle - Several times. This usually means you must build a heavily fortified city in a strategic point with poor resources, constantly besieged by the Nubian / the Hyksos / the Sea People / what have you. The Cleopatra expansion gives you the Battle of Actium.
  • Dummied Out: Going into the audio files reveals that architects, bazaar buyers and workers have a lot more quotes than the one or two lines they normally give. And the architect was apparently called an engineer previously, with a flagrantly-overdubbed "architect" added.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You - About half of the game is this.
  • The Epic - ...of your dynasty, Rags to Royalty Generational Saga; from a humble village elder to the almighty Pharaoh.
  • Everybody Hates Set - Averted, Set is one of the five available gods. If pleased, he will watch over your soldiers and even strike down any invading warrior.
    • However, he's definitely the least pleasant of them all. Where other gods are pleased by your respect and devotion, he appreciates your fear and obedience.
  • Exposition Break - Between levels the state of the state is discussed. Since the screen also has goals for the next mission, it can be reread to help with a Now Where Was I Going Again? problem.
  • Feuding Families - The Reunification of Egypt arc.
  • Firewood Resources - Although they turn into planks when sitting in your storage yards.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: While gods need sacrifices or festivals almost constantly, ignoring them only makes them angry. Cue earthquakes, plagues, floods, failing crops... On the other hand, keeping them happy also brings benefices.
  • Grimy Water - In the expansion, one of the curses is a River Of Blood, which will disable all wells and water supplies until it passes.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here - You must name your dynasty to begin playing the game, and it even provide a list of male and female Egyptian name that you can choose, if you so wish. This is a tradition from Caesar which is then passed to Emperor. The game then refer to you as the current head of your dynasty, such as Nyarlathotep XIII.
  • Instrument of Murder - The musician mentions beating the enemy over the head with her sistrum if you don't start looking into improving the city's defense.
  • Level Editor
  • Logic Bomb - It's possible to end up with the game telling that your city both needs workers and that people hate you because you're not providing enough jobs. All the while armies of recruiters are trying to hire people who are fleeing the city as buildings are collapsing/catching on fire around them because no one's hired to tend to them.
  • Mighty Glacier - The Infantry in Pharaoh and the Legionnaires in Ceasar. They're really slow but very strong.
  • Nintendo Hard- The average missions require somewhere between 3000 to 5000 citizens and decent economy, but some endgame missions require you to have 15000 citizens, high prosperity rating, palatial houses... while finishing a Grand Pyramid Complex. This can be a Guide Dang It for some people.
  • No Recycling
  • Not in My Back Yard: Houses won't evolve to the next level if close to unsightly buildings like bazaars and industrial buildings, despite the fact that they need those buildings to provide whatever goods and services are required to keep them at that level.
  • One True Faith - Some gods may not be worshipped in certain areas, but every god always has the same purpose when worshipped. None of that Bast turning from sun god to housekitty god over the years here!
  • Punny Name - The police constables have names like Samspadehotep, Cuffner, Magnumhotep and Merydonut.
    • One possible name for the tax collector is Takelot.
  • Real Time with Pause
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction - Even when paused![1]
    • Averted hard with the monuments - unless you have the "Pyramid Speedup" option turned on.
  • Score Screen
  • Silliness Switch - The cheat code Side Show causes hippos to dance.
  • Spiritual Successor: Inmortal Cities: Children of the Nile.
  • Super Drowning Skills - No one ever survives a ship sinking. Or getting stuck on the rising flood plain, for that matter.
  • Take That - In-Universe, if you let your kingdom rating get too low. Going from object of ridicule to using your name to scare children to thinking you cause disease to juggler making fun of you to wishing you were eaten by jackals, among others.
  • Too Dumb to Live: So, you're a farmer with a load of grain. There's no space in the granary, so you're just going to sit on the flood plain and wait for the water to come and drown you. What's that? Go to the mainland and wait for space to open up? Screw that! You're staying and drowning!
  • Units Not to Scale - All people and animals take up are one square. Some buildings take up one square. Firefighters are bigger than the fire station.
  • Ungrateful Bastard - Sometimes it feels like your citizens are all this, see Not in My Back Yard.
  • Veteran Unit: Your military units start as "Green" and become "Regular" once and if they go through your war academy. They gain experience and more levels the more they fight, becoming more deadly and resilient. In some scenarios it's vital that you level-up your units as you can only field six regiments since the enemy comes in overwhelming odds and some units such as war chariots literally stomp normal units.
  • Video Game Time
  • Walking Wasteland - Houses hit by plague create a special walker, who walks the streets infecting every house he passes unless stopped by an Apothecary or priestess.
    • If your Kingdom rating is too low, "it is widely believed your presence causes malaria".
  • You Have Failed Me: Oh boy, where do we begin... see Zero-Percent Approval Rating, below.


  1. But only in Zeus and Emperor, though.
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