The Mummy Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
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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

the front.

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.

You can

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

8-bit game.

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

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




Ugly characters
Awful animation
Crappy puzzles
Arthritic combat
Monotonous gameplay
Disgrace to the Ancients