Written by Manuel Caballero, Imhotep is a 1985 Commodore 64 release from Ultimate Play the Game. It’s an ancient Egyptian-themed, auto-scrolling shoot ’em up where you ride on the back of a bird, over pyramids and palm trees, shooting stuff and avoiding enemy bullets.
If you manage to get further into the game you’ll also encounter underground platforming levels; walking levels where you either have to jump over pits or throw rolling barrels into other barrels that are rolling towards you. There’s also a river section on a coracle.
The problem with Imhotep, though, is that it is so impossibly difficult to play normally that you’re unlikely to get past the first level to see any of the later levels.
On the first bird-riding level, enemies move so quickly that they’re impossible to avoid; some also follow you relentlessly, so you’ll lose all five of your lives before you can say “this game sucks!“. The only practical way to make it past the first level is to either use quicksaves or cheats, and even with quicksaves you’re going to have a tough time caring enough to continue through it.
When you reach the final level (level eight) the game seems to loop back around again to the beginning, rather than end, which just prolongs the agony.
Imhotep reviewed very poorly back in 1985 when it was first released, which is no surprise considering the level of difficulty. It is arguably the worst game Ultimate ever released, and many might even wonder why they bothered – especially as it was developed by a third party and acquired for release under the Ultimate label. As a result, Imhotep probably did more damage than good to the Ultimate name.
More: Imhotep on Wikipedia