The Mummy was a surprising box office smash in the summer of
1999, starring Brendan Fraser among others. While it was far from
Oscar material, it had a certain tongue-in-cheek charm to it; a
swashbuckling journey filled with thrills, chills and some of the
corniest dialogue and characters this side of Hamunaptra. With a
movie sequel already in post-production, Konami has jumped on
The Mummy bandwagon, publishing a video game based on the
original film across several platforms. Unfortunately, this title
quickly sinks in it's own quicksand.
The story is a familiar one, although not quite identical to the film.
Gamers take on the role of legionnaire Rick O'Connell (Fraser's
character), as he travels to Hamanaptra, the Lost City of the Dead,
with Evelyn Carnaham, an Egyptologist, and her brother Jonathan,
in search of the Ancient Book of the Dead, among other treasures.
Evelyn mistakenly reads a passage from the mystical book,
awakening Imhotep, an evil mummy bent on bringing his mistress
Anck-Su-Namum back to life; that and worldly destruction of
course. It's your job to enter the tombs and put this bad boy back to
The Mummy is a third-person action/adventure, ala Tomb Raider.
The game provides a sense of discovery, as you embark on your
quest for riches, but its heavy reliance on action elements
distances it from the likes of the aforementioned franchise. The
Mummy exemplifies the third-person formula to a tee, from the
repetitive puzzles to the poor controls, traits that take away the
charm of the movie, resulting in a shallow gaming experience.
The Mummy begins as Evelyn unveils an entrance to a tomb. This
first exploration acts much like a tutorial level, demonstrating
some of the more basic elements of the game along with some of
the special moves your character can perform (clinging onto
ledges, strafe-roll, etc.). This first level, and just about every
forthcoming quest, features the usual assortment of puzzles and
encounters. You'll need to find keys to open doors, locate levers
and hidden buttons to reveal new passages, and of course fend off
gravediggers, mummies, scarabs, spirits and locusts as you search
for treasure. The levels are completely linear, the solution to a
locked door is often only a room away, if not hidden somewhere a
few feet away from you. In some instances, keys are acquired from
the undead, meaning you'll have to destroy every last critter
before you can advance. Ammunition and power-ups are readily
available, often in just the right amount in order to get the job
done. On a side note, I don't quite understand why gravediggers
disintegrate after being slain. Mummies, fine, but human beings?
There are some unique aspects to the levels. Trap doors, pitfalls,
breakaway platforms and quicksand are just a few of the
dangerous environments you'll come across. There are also the
occasional platform elements thrown in for good measure.
Manoeuvring through an underground river on a log, outrunning a
horde of scarabs, and dodging dangerous objects in a chase scene
with Benny are just a few of the surprise events you'll encounter.
Unfortunately, these scenarios are few and far between, as the
game relies too frequently on the same repetitive third-person
Controls are always an issue with third-person titles and The
Mummy is no different. I can't believe how slow O'Connell walks
backwards. It's almost like he tip toes backwards.
Jumping is particularly finicky. Rather than a swift jump, O'Connell
takes a moment to prepare himself, steps back, and then leaps
forward in such an awkward manner that it's often hard to predict
where he'll land. Thankfully, few of the puzzles in the game
require precision leaps, but those that do will have you cursing in
no time. If you're looking for extra ammo and treasure, that often
require a leap of faith. Why is that such a problem? Well, many
jumps, if missed, will lead to instant death. In fact, there are
several events in the game that lead to instant death if un-avoided.
This is where The Mummy comes across as a console title first and
foremost. The game is saved between levels and if you perish
during a level, you'll often be thrown back a few rooms, after
which you'll be required to repeat events and encounters a second
or third time. This can be quite a pain, but eventually you learn
what to do in certain situations to avoid any difficulties
whatsoever. The Mummy also features an auto-aim feature, much
like the one found in Tomb Raider, so you won't have to worry
much about precision more than just facing the baddie in question.
Visually, The Mummy is a mixed bag. The environments are more
often than not quite pleasing to the eye. The combination of
Egyptian textures, hieroglyphics and overall design of the levels is
fairly impressive. The character models aren't too bad either, but
the faces could use some work. There's also quite a bit of clipping
in the game, often creating awkward moments both in and out of
combat. The sound is by far The Mummy's best feature. The sound
effects are taken straight from the film, and when combined with
the musical score, builds tension at just the right moments. Konami
was unable to use the original actors' voices, but the voice acting
isn't too bad. There are a whole slew of one-liners, the kind of
humour that gave the movie some of its charm.
The Mummy isn't necessarily a poor game, it's just been done
before, several times. The movie was charming and entertaining
in it's own right, but this game has formula written all over it. It
was designed by the book, with very few surprises to speak of. The
puzzles are generic, as are most of the action elements. The usual
third-person control and camera issues are present and besides
the decent sound, there's not a whole lot to brag about in this
game. With the collection of third-person games currently
available on the market, there's no way I can recommend such a