Game Over Online ~ The Mummy

GameOver Game Reviews - The Mummy (c) Konami, Reviewed by - Lee Donowitz

Game & Publisher The Mummy (c) Konami
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II-266, 32MB Ram, 650MB HDD, 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 58%
Date Published Monday, December 11th, 2000 at 02:19 PM

Divider Left By: Lee Donowitz Divider Right

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 rest.

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 formula.

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 formulaic effort.

[ 26/50 ] Gameplay
[ 07/10 ] Graphics
[ 09/10 ] Sound
[ 06/10 ] Storyline
[ 05/10 ] Controls
[ 05/10 ] Fun Factor


See the Game Over Online Rating System






Screen Shots

Back to Game Over Online