Mummy: Tomb of the Pharaoh
Review by Jen
While I was sitting around waiting for my mail-order copy of
Grim Fandango to arrive (I feel like I am always waiting
around for some new game to arrive in the mailjust call
this my standard introductory sentence), I was looking for something
fairly quick to play. In my local software store's bargain area,
I found a two-pack containing Mummy: Tomb of the Pharaoh and
Frankenstein: Through the Eyes of the Monster, by Interplay/Amazing
Media. It looked promising since both boxes said "Adventure"
right on their spines, and for $9.99, I couldn't pass it up. The
first of the two that I tried was Mummy, and here is what
I thought of it.
You are Michael Cameron, facilitator for a mining company. You
have been sent to Egypt to see why the frightened natives refuse
to work in the mines. It turns out an ancient artifact had been
unearthed in the mine, and the superstitious Egyptians feared
the curse of the tomb. You first meet an oily henchman-type named
Chris, who will only tell you where to find the mining compound's
director after you offer him a bribe. You talk to the director,
Davenport, who turns out to be another oily type, and obviously
none too happy to see you, and you immediately distrust him. Since
the corporate office bigwigs sent you, though, he does not have
much choice other than to let you look around and see what you
can see. By coincidence of the sort that only happens in video
games, your ex-girlfriend, Lorrie, an Egyptologist, has also been
called to the compound to verify or discount the authenticity
of the artifact. This leads to one slightly uncomfortable moment,
and then she is pretty much asleep (and useless) until the end
of the game.
You search the compound and find several tools and items to repair
or fiddle with, then you go to the mine. In exploring the mine,
you find evidence of sabotage to the mining operations. You go
deeper into the mine; when you get to the very bottom, you finally
spot the title Mummy! Then an earthquake hits, and you must escape
before the mine caves in and buries you alive. You make your way
back into the tomb, where you must outwit both supernatural and
natural beings to defeat Davenport in his attempt to locate a
magic crystal worth millions of dollars. The plot was actually
not bad, but it was a little hokey (there was also Nazi stuff).
Gameplay is first-person, point-and-click on the hotspots. Sometimes
you can pick something up; other times, you have to interact with
it somehow. I found, however, that I couldn't be too dependent
on the hotspot cursor because sometimes I had to be holding the
appropriate item before the hotspot would appear.
There were several instances where I died over and over while
trying different items to save myself. This is one of my gaming
pet peeves; I always save right before the death part and then
have to restore and try something else, restore and try something
else, over and over again. It's just plain boring! I usually am
willing to die about three times in the same spot, then I give
up and get a hint.
Mummy also has not one but two mazes. They are the kind
that don't have a lot of different paths, but every part looks
the same. Mazes are another one of my gaming pet peeves. They
are so easy to solve just by drawing a map, but I find this whole
process really tedious. Usually, I just give up and get a hint
for the mazes, too. I have no patience for this kind of repetitive
The puzzles are either really easy or downright impossible. All
of the puzzles are typical of adventure gamesthey all consist
of having to find the right tools or parts to repair something
or open something or operate something. The impossible parts for
me involved finding some of the tools. I had to resort to a UHS
hint file on quite a few occasions to find out what I missed and
where to get it, and I am usually pretty thorough in my inspection
of areas in games. A couple of times, I neglected to click on
the right part of something. For instance, I thought I might have
to move a flag that, on looking at it, I could see no purpose
for except to cover something up, and I clicked all over the rug
with no results. Turns out I had to click on the very bottom left
corner of it (this I found out from a hint). This game had too
many frustrations for me, and I find a certain lack of satisfaction
when I have to resort to my hint file too often.
The graphics are quite well-done. The game has live actors on
either actual or rendered backgrounds. I found it hard to tell
what backgrounds were real and which were rendered. Very realistic
and atmospheric. This game only has one CD, but they made the
most of it. There was a lot of repetition in the scenes; for instance,
there are four trailers you can enter; they all look the same
except for a couple of different things superimposed on each.
Also, the mazes tended to use the same graphics over and over
again, as stated above. However, I think the scenery was quite
well-done overall and very convincing.
I usually find the acting not worth mentioning in video games,
but the acting in this game is a cut above the rest. Malcolm McDowell
plays Davenport; he manages to be somehow sinister and irritating
at the same timeirritating in a good way that moves the
game along, not just to annoy the player. The rest of the actors
are unknowns to me, but they all do quite a good job. There is
no hamminess (if I can make up my own words here; you all know
what I mean) and no overacting.
The music sets the right ambiance for each area of the game,
but when you get stuck in one area for too long, it gets really
repetitive and thus annoying. The sound effects are in the right
place at the right time in the right amount. They are pretty standardthe
old stone-against-stone effect, for instance, appears in quite
a few games. They blend in well with the game and are not overused.
This is not a bad game but far from one of the greats. I would
not wholeheartedly either recommend for or against it. However,
I found it well worth the $5 I spent on it and would recommend
it for that reason alone. The game was put together very professionally,
but the gameplay itself stunk. I think this is a classic case
of where too much time and money was spent on the graphics and
actors, which were first-rate, and not enough time spent on the
actual gamethe designers copped out on too many puzzles
by trotting out the ol' tried-and-trues, and there was not enough,
or rather no, originality.
Developer: Amazing Media
Release Date: 1997
Four Fat Chicks Links
DirectX/DirectShow 6.1 or Better
Pentium 166 MHz
16 MB RAM
4 MB 3D card (DirectX compatible)
68040 or Power PC
System 7.0 or later
Double speed CD-ROM drive. Video display of Thousands or Millions
of colors recommended. Accelerated for Power Macintosh.
Where to Find It
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