A plague upon your house…
Apparently, the recipe for adapting a successful movie into a fun and playable
game is as elusive as the secret of immortality. One of the latest victims of
this unholy alchemy is The Mummy. The 1999 movie starred Brendan Fraser
as Rick O’Connell, a legionnaire and adventurer who leads an expedition to a ruined
ancient Egyptian city and ends up engaging in mortal combat with a 3000 year old
flesh absorbing magical mummy.
Nearly two years after the release of this fantasy-action fluff, Konami and
Universal Studios have combined their efforts to produce The Mummy, a
game which, for the most part, looks and plays like something your little brother
created with his Yaroze.
The Mummy opens with pilfered movie footage of the rebirth of the mummy
Imhotep, cursed into mummyhood after giving ‘The Bad Touch’ to Sety I’s hottie
of a mistress and poking the Pharaoh with sharp objects. As Rick O’Connell,
you must venture into the depths of the buried city of Hamunaptra in search
of gold and glory.
While the backgrounds have suitable Egyptian mural-like textures, the graphics
in general are horrible. Character models are woefully low on polygons, resulting
in terrible looking characters. Rick’s head appears to be made of perhaps one
or two polygons with a bloated texture-map of Brendan Fraser’s face stuck on
Clumsy directional movement hinders the relatively simple control. As you
attempt to urge Rick into a serpentine maneuver in an effort to evade assailants
or falling objects, our hero responds by demonstrating the fact that he has
the turning radius of the QE2. Laughably bad animation has Rick running around
with his knees out to the sides, sort of like Yosemite Sam after experimental
hemorrhoid surgery. And Rick accomplishes his backstep by looking over his shoulder
and shuffling backwards with all the torturously slow caution of a timid driver
trying to ease a brand new SUV into a compact slot between a minivan and a tow
truck. All that’s missing is the beeeep….beeeep….beeeep….
The game is unbelievably dark. Black shadows are your constant companions,
obscuring not only what is in the distance, but also objects which are no more
than a few feet from where your character stands with a lit torch. Angling the
camera around to gain a glimpse of what lurks in the darkness often reveals
nothing. Moving closer – say, within three feet from the object the darkness
has so cleverly hidden – will probably reveal a lighted wall sconce that should
have been visible the moment you entered the room. Guiding Rick through this
fog with or without a torch is like a legally blind person trying to navigate
an efficient route through an underground sewer system.
The Mummy utilizes the original movie score as background music to your underground travails. Kind of like going spelunking with the entire London Philharmonic Orchestra.
The gameplay consists of wandering in darkness, picking up floating items
and killing anything that moves. Don’t worry about fully exploring the blackened
labyrinths; there’s nothing to them that can’t be seen with the unaided eye,
despite the fog. This straightforward, linear game takes no detours.
only save at the end of a level. Instead of unlimited continue options, you
begin the game with a fixed number of lives and must discover floating icons
to gain more. This gives The Mummy the sickeningly familiar feel of an
The puzzles are extremely easy. Doors open via switches or star key pieces
and the solutions to these puzzles are almost invariably two inches from the
door you’re trying to open. While this may sound pleasing to a few people exhausted
from all the Vulcan Mind-Melds it takes to complete a Tomb
Raider game, it isn’t. What’s the point of a puzzle if it’s not challenging?
The combat consists of killing hordes of mummified undead, rabid scarabs and
tomb robbers. You are given several means of dispatching your enemies – fists,
torch, pistols, dynamite, machete, a magical explosive amulet, etc. Just a heads
up for the curious: the only things you’ll be taking out with your fists are
scarabs crawling along the ground. Rick O’Connell doesn’t even stoop when he
gives them the ol’ knuckle sandwich; he just punches the air, which must cause
the molecules within the atmosphere to become positively charged. Rick then
focuses his chi into the insects which results in their sudden flatness.
Enemies sneak up from behind and surround you in numbers. While facing off
against the throngs of evil in “one against many” fashion sounds cool, the makers
of The Mummy have insured that it isn’t by failing to include any sort
of AI. Aside from the double, triple, and quadruple team-ups they subject you
to, all enemies die pretty easily. The slaughter is monotonous, and don’t think
you’re going to entertain yourself with Rick O’Connell’s fluid fighting style
and fancy footwork. Everybody in this game creaks around with awkward, over-starched
movements reminiscent of Rock’em Sock’em Robots on Thorazine.
Ultimately, this game is a movie rip-off perpetrated by greedy execs who are
certain that the people who enjoyed the movie will be intrigued enough to shell
out for this stinker. No doubt the true Imhotep is presently trying to kick
a hole in his sarcophagus lid to get at the Konami programmers who have blasphemed
his name by attaching it to this abomination. After he’s done with them, maybe
we can convince him to go after the makers of Blade,
Crow: City of Angels and Space