TIMES change very quickly. Less than a year ago, if we had seen a game with digitised graphics and sound, we would have thought it darn hip. Now it seems that a game without digitised effects is out of the ordinary. By this argument, Day of the Pharoah is pretty mundane.
Basically, all is not well in Ancient Egypt, whose inhabitants could never fathom how ehty had earned the "Ancient" title. The old Pharaoh died many years ago, but all his heirs suddenly vanished, to be replaced by real bad 'uns faithful to Seth, the god of the desert who, incidentally, is no relation to Gateau, the god of the dessert.
You are but a young fellah - Egyptian for peasant, believe it or not - who, unbeknown to everyone, including yourself, is actually the son of the old king and rightful to the throne.
Amon-Re, sun god and sworn enemy of the evil Seth, grants you a ship and a fairly large sum of money in order that you should regain the throne that is rightfully yours. You can only do this by trading and general rat-racing. As luck would have it, Egypt is not a particularly stable place - there is nearly always good money for the right goods in the right place. Yup, it is like trading in Elite, except more complex and not so much fun. Also, Elite has not got the rather unconvincing digitised graphics and really, really irksome tunes that Pharaoh has. But there you go.
As you navigate your way around the waterways always look the same. It is a case of Dodge the Rocks in the most mediocre fashion. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, your ship is set upon by Phoenician pirates, which you must beat off with a paddle. This bit is like some deranged Game & Watch because there is virtually no animation and the digitised Eeks! and Wahs! Of the pirates are hilarious.
Once in port you can gamble at the camel races. Rather than being a competition to see who can smoke an acrid ciggy the quickest, this is a standard Daley Thompson type effort. It is also deathly dull.
For a bit more excitement, you can declare war on the peasants, who are revolting in both senses. For a little more rapid social advancement you could always take yourself a wife from the gentry, but do not expect the dowry to be small. In this department your otherwise shrewd and cripplingly expensive business advisors are not of any use.
This is a complex game, one that will take a long time to get very far. Unfortunately, the initial stages are so stunningly ennui inducing that it would be a truly Herculean (sorry - don't know any Egyptian heroes) task, maybe even requiring the patience of Job as well, to get anywhere useful.
Even though there was a valiant struggle, this reviewer succumbed to the background boredom. Maybe if you were a chronic insomniac who enjoyed a long term challenge, did not mind rather badly edited digitised sound and graphics with a dash of ropey translation to boot, and who also had two drives to make the gameplay less awful, you might be able to put up with this game.
But as I am not, and I do not think you are either, wild horses could not get me to recommend it to you, to end rather neatly on a badly mixed metaphor.