Pharaoh is an isometric city-building game set in Ancient Egypt created by Impressions Games and published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows-based computers. It involves the construction and management of settlements and cities in ancient Egypt, and is the first such themed game in the City Building series.
The game was released on October 31, 1999, and was later complemented with an expansion pack, Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile, developed by BreakAway Games the following year. Both the original game and expansion pack are commonly referred to, and may be purchased as one, under the title Pharaoh and Cleopatra.
Pharaoh is an isometric city-building game that is set in Ancient Egypt that sees the player guiding their family through a series of cities from a basic nomad settlement, to grand cities. The player will begin as a local leader and progress through titles until earning the rank of Pharaoh. A number of levels will require for the player to choose between two different cities, one being more focused on monument building and the other on military exploits. In each mission there are a number of goals that need to be met in order to progress to the next city. The goals include a population target as well as ratings for prosperity, kingdom, culture and monuments.
Pharaoh is based on the same game engine as Caesar III, also by Sierra Entertainment, and operates on the same principles, but has many improvements and exceptions. The game has little AI, relying instead on a high level of micromanagment from the player.
All scenario objectives must be met before the next city in a campaign can be used and played. Each mission sets five targets for the city, each being a value on a rating scale. A higher target along the scale represents a higher difficulty level for the city.
There are five rating scales: population, representing simply the number of residents in the city; the culture rating, representing the population's access to city services; the monument rating, which represents monument completion; the prosperity rating, which represents the city's financial success; and the kingdom rating, representing the city's relations with the Pharaoh and other cities in the kingdom.