This turn-based dungeon crawler adventure game is based on exploration of an ancient Egyptian pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Ra the Sun God. Each level represents an increasingly difficult maze, with treasures, tools, traps, and dangers potentially lying in wait around each corner. The goal is to survive while gathering gold, prestige, and honor as Mississippi Smith, an explorer and archaeologist.
This game involves the interaction with 5 different connecting windows: a movement control board, a "news" update and description screen, the first-person player view screen, an inventory, and a status screen.
Movement is controlled by clicking on corresponding movement arrows. Three "look" options are also presented, so that the character can peer to the left, right, or behind without using a full movement action. This becomes important as the game progresses, as each movement impacts the hunger scale and food is needed periodically to survive. A player starts with 16 ounces of food, but more must be found (including generic "food" or other edible items such as melons).
The "news" screen and the first-person player view screen allow for input on what is going on in the current maze level. Basic visuals are presented with each movement or turn, with one movement corresponding to one square or tile set on the map. The "news" screen provides additional descriptions or information regarding what events have occurred on the first-person screen.
The inventory screen contains a list of all items acquired in the different levels. Players begin with 16 ounces of food and a lantern. Keys must be obtained to exit each level and progress to the next maze. A wide variety of other items can be found, some of which are helpful and some which may be useless or dangerous. Tools, such as bullwhips, ten-foot poles, nets, and tranquilizer guns can be incredibly helpful when faced with traps or dangerous animals. Gold can be gathered throughout levels. All of these items contribute to a weight or burden scale, which adds to the rate at which hunger will become a factor.
The status screen provides input regarding player prestige, gold gathered, health, speed (which can be adjusted due to hunger concerns or needs), hunger, and weight.
In addition to all of these screens, a map can be viewed in order to assist in navigating through the increasingly complex mazes. This map cannot be viewed while moving, and thus is of limited use during maze exploration.
Gameplay can be saved at any time through a menu. In addition to this option, the game presents a large amount of information, backstory, help and hints via the menus. Detailed information regarding Mississippi Smith, the pyramids, and any items or creatures discovered along the way can be found through these menus. Hints are available, after quirky messages warning that hints should be avoided and that it would be much more rewarding to discover success on one's own.