Version 1.0
First Written on 9/24/00
Written By Kristine Roper Kathara@AOL.COM
Copyright Stuff: The following FAQ is copyrighted by me, and cannot be sold,
modified, "borrowed," or included on another website, a CD, or in a magazine
without my permission. If you wish to include it on your own website, feel
free to e-mail me and ask (I'll probably say 'yes' 99% of the time anyway).


- Introduction
- Game Overview
- Controls
- Scoring
- Bad Guys and Other Folks
- Items/Treasures/Obstacles
- Wounds and Thirst
- Temple Offerings
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Spoilers


Hi there, and welcome to my second attempt at writing a FAQ. After the
overwhelming response I got after posting my Raiders of the Lost Ark FAQ, I
decided to take a crack at another puzzling 2600 game. Riddle of the Sphinx is
another one of those games that's almost impossible to play without the
instruction manual so this is written mainly for those folks. However, since
I'm going to give away the answers to the, um, "riddles" in the game others
might find a need for this FAQ as well. So enjoy, and if you have any
questions or have any more information to add please e-mail me at the above


Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, has put a curse on Pharaoh's desert
kingdom. It is up to you, son of Pharaoh, to cross the Valley of the Kings and
reach the Temple of Ra. Once there, you must then make an offering to Ra and
hope that he will lift the curse. Along the way you will fight thieves,
scorpions, and Anubis himself, and get help from merchants and the goddess
Isis. Your ultimate goal is to reach the Temple with as many points and
treasures as you can, in the quickest time possible. The game ends when the
Prince reaches the Temple of Ra or when he sustains too many wounds.

Game 1: Get to the Temple as quickly as possible with as much treasure as you
can carry.
Game 2: Same objective as above, but both the Sphinx and the Temple require an
offering (the Sphinx won't let you pass without it).
Game 3: Same as Game 2, except now the Phoenix, Temple of Anubis, and Temple
of Isis also require offerings before you can pass.


The following is a list of controls used in the game. NOTE: YOU NEED TWO

Move Prince/throw stones: Use left joystick
Select/use items: Use right joystick
View how much time has passed: Set the B&W/Color switch to Color and flip
the right
difficulty switch to
the A position
View score: Set the B&W/Color switch to
Color and flip the right
difficulty switch to
the B position
View wound and thirst levels: Set the B&W/Color switch to B&W
Lots of fast-moving bad guys: Set the left difficulty switch to the
A position
Fewer and slower-moving bad guys: Set the left difficulty switch to the B


Your score is measured in "Inner Strength Points," which is basically a fancy
way of saying, um, points. :) Anyway, you gain or lose points depending on
your actions, so keep the following chart in mind while you're playing the

Hitting a thief with a rock: 60 points
Hitting a scorpion with a rock: 60 points
Hitting a trader with a rock: -80 points (although that's never stopped me
from whacking one who had just stolen a hard-earned treasure of mine)
Hitting Anubis or Isis with a rock: -77 points
Touching Anubis: -20 points
Touching a scorpion: -20 points
Making a correct offering at a temple: 500 points
Making an incorrect offering at a temple: -20 points
Bringing treasures to the Temple of Ra: 700 points for each treasure


The following list of characters is presented in this format:

NAME: Name of person or creature
DESCRIPTION: What it looks like
FUNCTION: What his or her purpose of being in the game is
POINTS: Points added or subtracted to your score when hit with a rock
NAME: Thief
DESCRIPTION: A man wearing black shorts that fires rocks at you
FUNCTION: Basically to kill you and take your stuff. Thieves will throw rocks
at you, and if one happens to touch you you'll be wounded and have one of your
items (usually a treasure) taken away.
POINTS: 60 points

NAME: Scorpion
DESCRIPTION: A black and purple striped scorpion
FUNCTION: It wants to kill you too. They don't shoot and they don't steal, but
they hurt like hell when they touch you. :)
POINTS: 60 points

NAME: Trader
DESCRIPTION: A fat man (fat compared to the thieves anyway) wearing purple
shorts. Traders may or may not be moving.
FUNCTION: To give items and to take them away. Great friends in the beginning
when you have little items, a pain in the butt later in the game when you've
got armfuls of treasure.
POINTS: -80 points

NAME: Anubis
DESCRIPTION: A jackal-headed man holding a staff
FUNCTION: You're his enemy, and he wants you dead. If he touches you, you are
severely wounded AND lose points, and yet you can't fire back at him because
you're supposed to respect the gods. Doesn't sound fair to me.
POINTS: -77 points

NAME: Isis
DESCRIPTION: A woman wearing a blue dress
FUNCTION: Ah, your only friend. Touching Isis' feet will instantly return your
wound and thirst levels back to zero, and sometimes she'll give you some
treasure as well.
POINTS: -77 points


To use items, use the right joystick to move the black box over the item you
wish to use and push the right joystick button. To drop an item, highlight it,
hold the right joystick down, and push the right joystick button.

The following list of things you're likely to encounter during the game are
presented in the following format:

NAME: Name of object
DESCRIPTION: What it looks like, either on the screen or in your inventory
TYPE: Either an item, a useful item, a treasure, a useful treasure, an
obstacle, or a useful
USE: What you can use it for, if anything
FOUND: Where you can find it
NAME: Shield
DESCRIPTION: It pretty much looks like a shield
TYPE: Useful item
USE: When highlighted, the Prince is immune to the thieves' rocks. However, it
can only absorb a limited amount of "hits" before it disappears.
FOUND: Traders, and you start Game 1 with one

NAME: Scroll
DESCRIPTION: Looks like a square with long "handles" on the top and bottom of
TYPE: Item
USE: None
FOUND: Traders

NAME: Spade
DESCRIPTION: An upside-down arrow
TYPE: Useful item
USE: Highlight it and hold the right joystick button. You should hear a
constant "ding-ding-ding" sound that will make you want to throw the Atari out
the window. Eventually you'll find a treasure in the dirt and it'll replace
the spade.
FOUND: Traders, and you start games 2 and 3 with one

NAME: Tannis Leaf
DESCRIPTION: Um, it kinda looks like a jalepeno pepper to me (hey, I've got a
wild imagination)
TYPE: Useful item
USE: It'll heal all your wounds, but it's good for one use only
FOUND: Traders

DESCRIPTION: Looks like a jug
TYPE: Useful Item
USE: Resets your thirst level back to zero, but it's good for one use only
FOUND: Traders

NAME: Staff
DESCRIPTION: A curved staff
TYPE: Item
USE: None
FOUND: See "Frequently Asked Questions"

NAME: Crown
DESCRIPTION: A fancy-looking crown
TYPE: Treasure
USE: None
FOUND: Digging or Isis

NAME: Ankh
DESCRIPTION: A cross with a loop at the top
TYPE: Treasure
USE: None
FOUND: Digging or Isis

TYPE: Item
USE: None
FOUND: See "Spoilers"

NAME: Tablet
DESCRIPTION: There are three of them…each looks like a square with an animal
drawn inside
TYPE: Treasure
USE: None
FOUND: See "Spoilers"

NAME: Necklace
DESCRIPTION: A circular pearl necklace
TYPE: Useful treasure
USE: As long as it is highlighted the Prince is immune to wounds
FOUND: Digging or Isis

NAME: Scepter
DESCRIPTION: Kinda looks like a stick with wings coming out of the top
TYPE: Useful treasure
USE: My favorite. As long as it's highlighted the Prince will move twice as
fast and will feel no effects from wounds or thirst (he can still die from
wounds though)
FOUND: Digging or Isis

NAME: Disk of Ra
DESCRIPTION: A circle filled with a lot of lines and other markings
TYPE: Useful treasure
USE: Heals wounds with no limit to its use. Pretty rare though.
FOUND: Digging or Isis

NAME: Goblet
DESCRIPTION: Looks like a goblet or chalice, or maybe even a wine glass ;)
TYPE: Useful treasure
USE: Resets thirst level to zero with no limit to its use
FOUND: Digging or Isis

NAME: Obelisk
DESCRIPTION: A wide brown pole sitting on a stand
TYPE: Obstacle
USE: Blocks the Prince's movement and rocks (as well as the thieves' rocks)
FOUND: All over the desert

NAME: Palm tree
DESCRIPTION: It's a palm tree
TYPE: Obstacle
USE: See Obelisk above
FOUND: All over the place

NAME: Oasis
DESCRIPTION: A small patch of water between two trees
TYPE: Useful obstacle
USE: Touching it instantly quenches your thirst
FOUND: Sporadically throughout the desert


As if worrying about thieves and a god of death coming after you isn't bad
enough, you also have to keep track of your wound and thirst levels. If you
ever receive ten wounds your game is over, although you cannot die from thirst
(ironically enough). In both cases, the higher your level, the slower the
Prince moves, and the shorter the rocks can be thrown. (As an experiment, I
once wounded the Prince to level 9 and waited until his thirst level was 99. I
was barely able to move the poor guy.)

Wounds are received from the following:

Getting hit by a thief's rock: 1 or 2 wounds, depending on the difficulty
Getting touched by a thief: 1 wound
Getting touched by a scorpion: 2 wounds
Getting touched by Anubis: 3 wounds (ouch)

You can heal wounds by using a Tannis Leaf, the Disk of Ra, or by touching
Isis. Prevent wounds by using a Shield or a Necklace.

Thirst slowly accumulates as the game progresses, whether or not you're
actually moving (therefore, don't go to the bathroom and expect everything to
be the same when you come back). You cannot die from thirst, but it will
eventually make your movements slow enough where you can't dodge rocks or
scorpions. You can quench your thirst by touching an oasis, by using a Jug or
a Goblet, or by touching Isis.

The effects of wounds and thirst are ignored while the Scepter is highlighted,
but you can still die if you get ten wounds.


Now we get to the fun stuff. :) Depending what game level you are playing,
you may or may not need to make offerings to the various temples in order for
them to let you pass. If you're just happy with playing Game 1, then you can
skip this entire section. If you're playing Game 2, then check out the Sphinx
and the Temple of Ra areas. If you're playing Game 3, you'd better read this
whole thing. You'll thank me for it.

First thing you need to do is learn how to offer something. All you need to do
is highlight whatever it is you wish to offer and then touch the temple. If
you give the correct item, you'll hear a high-pitched sound, get bonus points,
and either be given permission to pass or be given a treasure to replace the
offered item. If you give the wrong offering, you'll hear a buzzer and will
have to try again with a new item. You can probably stumble across the correct
offerings on your own through trial-and-error, but it'll cost you a lot of
points and a lot of time. So keep reading. :)

The second thing you need to do is figure out which temple is which. The three
Pyramids are grey and look almost like UFOs (?!), Phoenix is a large purplish
bird, the Temple of Isis is mostly blue, the Temple of Anubis has black and
tan colors, the Sphinx is solid brown and resembles the Sphinx of Egypt, and
the Temple of Ra has a large sun-like object sitting on top of it. You come
across them in the desert in this order: Phoenix, Isis, Anubis, Sphinx, Ra.
The Pyramids are scattered between them.

The third thing you need to do is figure out which temples want which items.
Again, in Game 1 you can just blow through the desert until you reach the
Temple of Ra and be done with it. However, in games 2 and 3, you need to make
offerings or else you can't reach the Temple of Ra at all. Without spoiling
it too much (that's what the "Spoilers" section below is for), you basically
need to make a "round-robin" of offerings. What I mean is that you first make
an offering to one temple, which will give you an item to give at another
temple, and so on and so forth. The "Spoilers" section below makes it clearer
to understand.

The instruction manual gives clues as to what each of the temples require, and
they are listed below.

Pyramids: "Rare gifts awaits he who unlocks the age-old mystery of the

Phoenix: "The fire bird, newly risen from its ancient ashes, can provide you
with a key to the riddle you seek to solve. You will know what gift to offer
if you unroll and read the writing on your heart."

Temple of Isis: "Gentle Isis, goddess of all that is good, her Temple in the
desert is as a precious jewel in Egypt's crown. Offer her a gift worthy of an

Temple of Anubis: "Temple like a tomb, vaulted home of Death. You will have
found its key in the circle that does not end, the sign of life's eternal

Sphinx: "Inscrutable marvel! Find the offering it seeks and you will have
solved its riddle. A bird can fly over, a scarab crawl past or a lion stalk by
– Son of Egypt, turn to these! It is written in stone."

Temple of Ra: "Ra has all. What need has Ra of wealth? Offer instead that
which stands yet cannot stand; that which journeys far yet has no legs; that
companion you rely and lean upon, yet never think to call friend."

NOTE: In Game 3 you need to make two offerings at Phoenix, the Temple of Isis,
and the Temple of Anubis. These second offerings are the ones that will allow
you to pass, and the manual gives this as a clue:

"The first is rooted in relief; the next you'll find well-found; the last of
three is a cloak you wield when enemies abound."

Shouldn't be too hard to figure out, eh? ;) If you're still having trouble,
see the "Spoilers" section below.


"What's the maximum level of thirst you can reach?"

You can go all the way up to 99, although I don't recommend it.

"Where's the #*&$# staff?"

Ok, if you don't want to know stop reading right now. Otherwise do the
following: When the game begins, immediately move down until you can't go any
further. You should see an oasis nearby. Drink from it, and you'll get the
staff. That's it.

"Are some items rarer than others?"

I believe so, yes. Here's a chart based on what I myself have discovered.

Common Items/Treasures: Tannis Leaf, Jug, Crown, Ankh, Necklace
Uncommon Items/Treasures: Spade, Scroll, Shield, Scepter
Rare Items/Treasures: Disk of Ra, Goblet

"Do thieves/traders tend to steal certain items more than others?"

I've noticed that they really seem to enjoy taking my Shield and my Scepter
more than anything else. As a general rule, useful treasures are taken first,
then normal treasures, then useful items, than regular items. The staff is
NEVER stolen unless that's the only item you have.

"Do Isis and Anubis appear in any kind of a pattern?"

No, their appearance is purely random. You may see Isis ten times in a single
game, or not even once. You may even see three or for Anubises (is that even a
word?) on the screen at the same time. Just depends on how lucky you are that

"I'm wearing a Necklace and yet I'm still slowing down. What's wrong?"

The Necklace (and the Shield) gives you immunity to wounds, but not to thirst.
Check your thirst level and see if you need a drink.

"Are there any cheats or Easter Eggs?"

None that I know of, sorry. :(


Okay, here we go:

Pyramids: Offer a Key to get one of three Tablets. Each Pyramid has its own
unique Tablet.

Phoenix: Offer the Scroll to get a Key, and offer the Tannis Leaf to get past

Temple of Isis: Offer the Crown to get a Key, and offer the Jug to get past

Temple of Anubis: Offer the Ankh to get a Key, and offer the Shield to get
past it.

Sphinx: Offer one of the three Tablets. It'll only accept one, and it changes
with every game.

Temple of Ra: Offer the Staff.

Congratulations, you've just won the game. :)


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