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Alldarker

REVIEW: 5988 Pharaoh's Forbidden Ruins

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*** Now with much smaller pictures: apologies to everyone who saw this review earlier and had to wait for my crazy huge pictures to load!!! ***

In recent months I have acquired a renewed interest in the Lego Adventures lines. I guess this does have something to do with being slightly disappointed in the Indiana Jones line and with the IJ sets being too limited to vehicles, in my opinion. I already mentioned acquiring a MISB 7424 Dragon Fortress from the Orient Expedition line for relatively little money, but I still haven’t had the heart to open this rare set yet…

However, I also very recently acquired a slightly used but 99,7% complete 5988 Pharaoh’s Forbidden Ruins (also known as The Temple of Anubis) for the princely sum of €27,12 on e-Bay. Not bad at all for an eleven-year-old set containing 710 pieces (minus two gray parrots) and including all figures and instructions! img_3634.jpg

The attraction of this set is obvious: the combination of an Egyptian temple, a hot air balloon and a truck make this the biggest set in the Adventurers Desert theme. However, the set came out in 1998, at a time when Lego wasn’t doing too well financially, and this set probably shows why. Having grown used to stickers in sets, my biggest surprise was to see the sheer amount of printed pieces in this set! It contains about 20 printed pieces, many of them very specific to this set.

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I can imagine the Lego accountants still shaking in anger at the need to print huge bricks that mostly only ever appeared in just this one set.

Building starts with the figures and two palm trees. There are no less than ten figures in the set, including all the major characters in the Adventurers Desert theme (Johnny Thunder, Pharaoh Hotep, Dr. Kilroy, Pippin Read, Lord Sam Sinister, Harry Cane, Slyboot) and including three old style skeletons with loose hanging ball-jointed arms (one shown).

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I was also glad to see the palm trees are built using the old style tree trunk parts instead of the ugly modern one piece trunks.

Truck

Next, the instructions tell you to build the truck.

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It’s quite a big truck, the biggest of all the vehicles in the Adventurers Desert theme. It’s a three-axle flatbed truck with wooden railings and two crates. The cabin is a prefab cabin with steering wheel, stick shift and printed gauges. It is partially enclosed by a roof just high enough to accommodate the figures, which almost all seem to have quite tall hats. The excellent printed windscreen which features in a lot of the wheeled vehicles in this theme is slightly too short to reach the roof, but looks great on the truck.

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Hot-air balloon

Next the instructions tell you to build the hot-air balloon. This too is a very fun and surprisingly detailed vehicle, with a slightly small balloon and a large basket with a barrel containing tools and even a gas cylinder. The basket is able to contain three minifigs easily. I especially like the net across the top of the balloon, which has a surprisingly clever attachment to the balloon.

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It’s a great vehicle, even in its own right without the rest of the set.

The front

The next step is the Temple of Anubis itself. The set contains two 32x16 base plates, each of which is built up separately. You start with the façade of the temple. Building is easy, with clear differences between the colours, but the instructions contain no parts boxes per step, so some attention is needed to build the set up correctly (random instruction page shown below).

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The finished front of the temple is quite high, but very narrow.

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Judging from the alternative name for this set, the front resembles a jackal: Anubis was the Egyptian jackal god of the dead, and in fact it’s not a terrible likeness. It’s just too bad that it is mostly made with a couple of BURP’s and the huge printed wall pieces (which do look good, however).

A nice detail is the small campfire before the temple.

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What is interesting about this, in my opinion, is the fact that that this whimsical detail contains the only two brown 2x1 plates in the whole set! It is another of those crazy design choices which are good for the set, but not good for accounting. Nowadays, sets rarely contain more than one or two standard colours per brick type or per bag, due to cost restraints. This set however contains quite a few like pieces in several different colours. Especially in the case of this campfire they could easily have (and probably should have) left these brown bricks out, but they didn’t, and I appreciate this detail a lot for that reason.

As stated before, this set is usually known as the Pharaoh’s Forbidden Ruins, although the name ruins does not do this set any justice. Discovery Channel showed us that the pyramids and temples were originally painted in vibrant colours. Let me say that the Temple of Anubis has stood the test of time very well! Unlike the hieroglyphics in the Lost Tomb, these seem to be as fresh as the day they were painted.

Traps

Where this set falls slightly short is perhaps the traps.

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When entering the temple, you are greeted by two skeletons on either side of the entrance. While inspecting these, there is a chance that one is crushed by falling rocks from a trapdoor in the ceiling,

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or severed in half by the dropping axe also linked to the trapdoor,

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but these are quite easily avoided, especially as the drop down axe doesn’t work very well.

After avoiding these traps, nothing stands in the way of entering the courtyard or opening Pharaoh Hoteb’s tomb,

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which has been placed in the right wing of the front of the temple. Climbing a ladder to the second floor, there is also a second trapdoor through which one can fall, but then the way is pretty clear to the treasure chest containing no less than 4 gold pieces. For some strange reason, they are coins with modern numerals, proving that Egyptians were WAY ahead of their time. Jewels or gold artefacts would probably have been a better choice as ancient treasure…

The courtyard

The second base plate contains the courtyard area of the temple.

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This area is a lot smaller than the front of the temple, and seems to suit the name ruins slightly better. Showpiece in this area are the two gray crocodile altars, both set with tools useful for performing rituals. This set is in fact the only Lego set ever to contain dark grey crocodiles, another example of the strange choices of the designers of this set (although the colour is quite realistic for some species of crocodiles and alligators).

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The courtyard also contains a nice scorpion altar, featuring a jewel under a glass dome. Behind this, at the back of the courtyard there is a wall with a skeleton.

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When you turn the secret wall around, it reveals a magnet which pulls the dome with the jewel from its resting place, and by turning the wall further, hides it behind the wall.

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It’s an interesting mechanism, but slightly useless (the jewel ends up outside of the temple). On the floor of the courtyard, the real threats to our adventurers are the scorpion and the three snakes crawling around. The courtyard is shaded by one of the two palm trees. Again, for a location which seems to be set outside, the courtyard too has stood the test of time very well.

Conclusion

This is a great set, with great parts, great vehicles, great figures, an excellent theme for playing with and a fun build. Some points of criticism are needed, though. The courtyard area is structurally a little sparse compared to the front, and construction design is lacking somewhat in the whole building. This set is mostly facade and little else. Secondly, the traps could have been more intricate for such a large set, Thirdly, I would have liked to see a gate or door or even a moving rock as the entrance to the temple, instead of the gaping 8-stud-wide hole the entrance is now. Finally, as in most of the sets in the Adventurers Desert theme, I’d have liked to see a lot more influence of 3,000+ years of sandstorms, grave robbers and general decay on the design of the set. Perhaps if this set had contained a couple of disciples or priests of the ancient pharaoh it would be more believable that the temple is still in such an excellent condition. In that respect, Indiana Jones’ Lost Tomb does a better job of looking somewhat realistic. Speaking of this last set, these two sets just scream out to be combined into an Egyptian temple or pyramid MOC.

I think this set shows very nicely how in the past Lego got things very right and also very wrong. Very right in the sense that the set is a great setting for children’s adventures and play. Very wrong as far as business sense is concerned, considering the amount of printed pieces, the huge size of the printed pieces, the uniqueness of the printed pieces, the uniquely coloured pieces and the inclusion of the same pieces in diverse colours. I can imagine this set probably still being used by Lego accountants as an example of bad design choices made back in the late nineties. Not that I’m complaining of course. I love this set, as a great display piece, as a testament to the follies Lego used to make, and lastly, as a source of some excellent and unique pieces!

Round up

Playability: 10/10

Figures: 10/10

Pieces: 10/10

Design: 7/10

Swooshability / structural soundness: 7/10

Price: 10/10

Overall: 9/10

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These pictures are way too big, this page took way to long to load. I believe that I was bidding on this set too. Once You resize the pics I can make a real comment on this set.

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Pictures are WAY too big. Even with a fast connection, they still took a very long time to load. You need to re-size them. The temple is a set I would like to get very much. And 18 printed pieces! That's a ton! Those accountants must have been very angry at the set designers! :tongue: The set looks like it comes with a lot of tan parts. and look at those baseplates! :wub: I wish Lego still did that today. Anyways, it was a great review, except for the pictures. You can find out how to re-size them here: Tutorial

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Thanks for the review, but please resize your images to 800 x 600 or less. I've changed many of the pictures to links, so hopefully no one will freeze up their computer when opening the thread. Once you resize them you can change them back to images.

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A very good review, and a very nice set!

This is the only set with an air balloon and the "ropes" used in it are very usefull for the ship builders as well.

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I love the set and the review! I agree, just resize the images to 800x600 and embed them into the actual review so people don't have to click a link for each image. Also, a couple broken links are in the beginning of your review. Besides that, it was well written and held a lot of depth. :thumbup: I suggest joining the reviewers academy if you are interested in creating more reviews.

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My apologies to everyone who had to wait for my hugely oversized pictures to load... It was a dumb oversight on my part, which I have now corrected (likewise for the broken links)! I won't let it happen again. And special apologies to Tom Bricks who also bid on this set!

Furthermore thanks for everyone who liked the review.

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Thanks for the review :thumbup:

I've always admired this set, and it's one that I'd like to get my hands on at some point. 3 skeletons? Wow.

Design-wise, I've always seen it as built into a cliff face, hence the rocky tan BURPs and LURPs - like this

Image%20of%20Petra%20for%20Pinchefsky%20article.JPG

so it is excusable, to an extent.

The vehicles are lovely, rather Steampunkish, even.

27 euros, you say? I'll look into getting this :wub:

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I own this set, and it is one of my best sets ever. You won't know how many hours I've played with it.

The verhicle was always my favorite verhicle, and the hot air balloon is very nice as well. I'm happy I got it.

Now I look back on this set I suddenly realise again how awesome this set is. I think it's one of the best sets TLC ever released.

Thanks for this wonderful nice review, great pictures too.

27 euros is really, really cheap for an amazing set like this. High playability and lots of building pleasure + some nice bricks.

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Thanks for the review :thumbup:

I've always admired this set, and it's one that I'd like to get my hands on at some point. 3 skeletons? Wow.

Design-wise, I've always seen it as built into a cliff face, hence the rocky tan BURPs and LURPs - like this

Image%20of%20Petra%20for%20Pinchefsky%20article.JPG

so it is excusable, to an extent.

The vehicles are lovely, rather Steampunkish, even.

27 euros, you say? I'll look into getting this :wub:

Slyowl thats an awesome pic . I'd forgotten how much i love Petra. Its an amazing place.

The set is great as well. I built it via brinklink which is always fun.

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I'm sorry! I forgot to add a poll for you. It's there now. Thanks for resizing your pictures.

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Thank for this detailed review of a really outstanding set! I always loved the adventurers theme, especially the desert subtheme of it. Unfortunately i never till this day got my hands on that beautiful set. :cry_sad: You are really to get it for such a low price, everytime i was watching it somewhere on ebay it went up way too high. Hopefully i'll be able to get that at some point, most prefered, MISB :tongue:

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My favorite part of this set is the hot air balloon I think it fits well with just about anything. Only $27, I saw this but didn't bid on it because I thought it would go for much more. There are some deals to be had on Ebay if you look hard enough.

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This is one of the sets that I really regret never getting. The printed pieces just remind me of that. :cry_sad:

Thanks for the review. At least now I know what it would be like to own one of these.

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