When I installed World Adventures, this is the first country that I visited. Although it may not have been the destination for most of my adventuring since then, I believe that it nevertheless has a character of its own and quite a lot to offer that I can hopefully elaborate on in the next few pages.
As with all of the other destinations, the music during the load-up is atmospheric and stereotypical of the where the sim is going to.
Let us get straight into it and meet our French adventurer.
I am Danielle Beckett and I have two mummies. One of them actually is my real mummy. The other is my dad, who just had to find out what it was like being a mummy so he had a few nights in the black sarcophagus. Anyway, since becoming a teen, I had felt the urge to go adventuring but I had heard enough about Egypt plus I had seen what too much Egyptology does to people. Somewhere more normal seemed to my taste. So, before my final school years were up, I booked myself a spring break to France.
For those who haven't heard of the Champs Les Sims - and I hadn't until I had booked a trip here - it is a quaint market town to the east of Paris. Even from outside the Basecamp, which appears to be like a quaint pension, you can actually see the Eiffel Tower.
Here is my first complaint about this trip. My two mummies got to see the pyramids, the Sphinx and other Egyptian landmarks close up. Probably a bit too close considering how they turned out. The tourist brochure said I could see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc De Triomphe. Yes, I can see the Eiffel Tower but it is a long way away and I can't see the Arc De Triomphe at all. Anyway, I'm here for adventure rather than sightseeing so I'll enjoy what I can.
I checked out the noticeboard and found some guy called Gaston Dutiel was looking for someone to do a job for him. I met up with him in the Town Square where he told me that he'd left something up in the old Celtic Ruins. He gave me some complimentary dried food but recommended that I buy some adventuring kit, which is convenient as he happened to run the general store. I should have just borrowed some stuff from my folks before I came here. After all, they won't be using it while I am gone.
I had a quick look around the Town Square that also housed the market. It looked quite a beautiful place. In the middle of it was a large fountain and it looked like people could even play chess out here. I hoped to get a game in before my visa ran out. There were four shops, which seems to be typical of foreign markets. There was Goncalves General Store (G), Alexis's Relics (R), the Circle of Knowledge Bookstore (B) and the Catania Café (C).
I called into the general store, bought a tent, some of those handy showers-in-a-can and some more dried food. I also felt a sudden urge to buy an incense holder. Perhaps overpriced at §1,250 but I wanted one anyway. I also chose to buy a locally designed chest and a cheap camera. All in all, it came to just over §2,600, but I don't think my folks would miss it and I hoped to make more money here than I spent.
Anyway, I jumped on the kenspa and headed south out of town towards what was marked as the Forgotten Burial Mound. It was close to some big house that locals told me was the Chateau De Landgraab. Now why is that name familiar? I found a dig site at the top of the burial mound where I unearthed some relics and some old grapes. If I got into Nectar-making, perhaps they could be useful.
However, I'm digressing. By mid afternoon, I was ready to go into the tomb and I went down a flight of stairs. I was faced with a corridor and a pile of rubble. I dug my way through that to find a blank wall, but after some searching, I found a switch and it opened up. Now it was getting a bit exciting ... or so I thought.
The next few rooms were a series of floor switches, activated either by standing on them or moving statues. I was also regularly facing piles of rubble. It was necessary to dig through some piles but not all of them. Following the hall of statues and another one where three switches needed activating, it opened up a flight of stairs going down that into a chamber containing a large hedge maze.
Now this is where I could get annoyed with Gaston. Ahead of me was a tent. If I had known one was going to be here, I would not have needed to buy one. However, the skeleton of its former owner did not look too chirpy. Rescue did not come in time for that guy. Nevertheless, after I had spent the next few hours searching the maze for relics and the way forward, I used that tent to sleep in.
After a good night's sleep, I got back to solving the puzzles in the maze room. Relatively easy. This opened up another chamber with quite a few tombstones. A freaky glow emanated from a hole in the ground. My folks had said this is a way of pointing out where the goal is. So, I reached into the hole and pulled out ... a baseball.
All of that questing and exploring just for a baseball. I was a bit fed up with that being the goal but I did find some ancient relics, a few of which looked quite valuable. By the time I got out of the tomb, it was about 8pm on the second day. I was able to get to Gaston before he shut up shop. He was nevertheless delighted and I knew that the next time I came to France, I would be able to stay longer.
I was hungry and I felt like a chance from the dried stuff I had been eating for few days so I went to the café. I wanted something local. I was given the choice of Bouillabaisse, Frog Legs or Ratatouille. I chose the first one as it sounded the least like it had anything undesireable in it.
After finishing my meal, I headed back to the basecamp. I had hoped just to find a bed and get some decent sleep but I was waylaid by a fellow explorer from China, who seemed to be a bit of a computer whiz so we had a bit to talk about. I spoke to her for a bit before taking my leave and actually doing my homework. I did not want to return home and have to do that. After my homework, I started reading "Jimmy Sprocket and The Chalice of Nectar". I doubt that I would finish it before I left so I might have to buy it.
After a good night's sleep, I was only left with half a day before the visa ran out. The patron for my next adventure was Adele Durand, who was connected with La Gallerie D'Art but also ran Alexis's Relics. She gave me some tale about security guards abandoning their posts at the gallery and for me to check out the Egyptian section. Once again, I was on the kenspa heading south out of town. I explored the Egyptian Exhibition and the Chinese Gallery. It was in there that I found a link to a secret door.
And that was where I had to leave it as my time of welcome in France had come to an end.
Although there are about nine different tombs in France, it is a different atmosphere again to that of adventuring in either China or Egypt. Similar to the other countries, they may be some relic hunting, scavenger hunts and some hearts and minds with the locals. I have found with this country that the bias is not as pronounced on the tomb raiding side of things.
As with Egypt, sims get around on the kenspa motor scooters. It is even possible to buy one of these at the general store. I have seen the occasional car in Champs Les Sims but these are not the norm. It is usually the kenspa or the sim travels on foot.
The basecamp and market look stereotypically French. To be more precise, I think that they look Western European. It is the Eiffel Tower on the horizon that confirms they are supposed to be in France in the same way that the pyramids confirmed that the Arabic looking houses were in Egypt.
The Celtic Ruins is one of the larger and more challenging of the entry-level tombs. Personally, I did not find it to be as much of a yawn as the Tomb of Discovery in Egypt. Although there were no traps as such, it did involve some physical labour in clearing rocks and moving statues around in order to solve puzzles so the sims could advance further through the tomb.
For future reference, I'll remember not to bother with the tent as there is one already down there.
Let us get back to Dani to see what happened on her next French adventure.
Written at 05:35 on Thursday 21 January 2010 by