Mummy: Tomb of the Pharaoh
First posted on 01 August 2012. Last updated on 01 August 2012.
Mummy: Tomb of the Pharaoh is a fine example of classic gaming from the golden period of the adventure game genre. The game offers Full Motion Video graphics and interactive puzzles that help to fuel the action. There are multiple environments which you can explore, and there are various characters which you can interact with. As the danger mounts and the crisis escalates, it is all too easy to become immersed in the game world as you try and avoid each menace that is thrown your way. In this game, your puzzle solving skills and decision making can mean the difference between life and death!
As the game begins, you are onboard a private jet heading to a mining camp in the desert near Alexandria, Egypt. You play the role of Mike Cameron, an agent working for the National Mining Company out of New York. You have just been debriefed by the company about a mysterious box with a hieroglyphic curse written on it that has apparently frightened many of the local mining workers into quitting. You are tasked with a facilitation assignment, which basically entails figuring out what is going on with the strange box and the terrified workers. Soon after you arrive, you meet several characters, including the mine's bristly manager (played by actor Malcolm McDowell). You will need to interact with them and solve various puzzles along the way. As the story moves forward, more and more troubling incidents occur that reveal the dangers in both the camp and the mine. McDowell does an excellent job portraying Stuart Davenport. His character is a trifle abrasive and often condescending as he flits around performing his managerial duties at the mining site. The other actors also portray their roles adequately, though not extraordinarily by any means. A particular interesting character is Lorrie, who turns out to an old flame of Mike's. Hmm...
As the action progresses from the mining camp to the mines, then finally to the tombs, I am finding the puzzles to be just intriguing enough to make me stop and think. More than once when I have thought to have solved a puzzle, I discover yet another item is required to complete the job. The puzzles themselves are not too difficult and are basically intuitive, to the extent that a little logic (along with a lot of exploring) and common sense will often suffice. Indeed, there are a lot of places to explore, including the Quonset huts, trailers, buildings and airplane hangars in the mining camp as well as the mine tunnels and the tombs. There are also numerous ways for Mike to end up dead when exploring, so it is important to save the game often. The game offers a pair of endings (that is, a good ending and a bad ending), depending upon which choice you make at that point in the game. It is fun to try out both endings just to see how the struggle of good versus evil plays out.
Not surprisingly, there is a supernatural element to the game's story. While it helps to explain the back story and serves to move the game along, it gets a little corny and really does not score high on the terror scale. Instead, what is more frightening is the imminent danger of a cave-in when you are roaming through the mines. As well, Stuart appears now and then to grace you with his barely veiled threats. On the other hand, it is extremely fun riding the mining car throughout the 6 levels that make up the mines. At times, the mining car seems to be achieving nearly impossible speeds as I am sent barreling madly through the tunnels. Woohoo!
Both the sound effects and the ambient sounds add enormously to the atmosphere of the game. Hearing crickets chirping when you are wandering around the camp at night or strange rumbling noises as you find yourself deep in the mines is engrossing. Unfortunately, the background music is a bit repetitive at times.
As in other adventure games, the more you snoop and the more items you pick up, the better are your chances of success. You need to be careful, however, because of the many dangers you will encounter, both human and non-human.
The game is average in length. Obviously, the faster you solve the puzzles, the quicker the action proceeds. I have found myself stuck temporarily more than once, however, either trying to locate an item I need or wandering in circles inside a maze. There are many doors to unlock, secret passageways to find, and hiding places to discover.
The game uses a first-person, point-and-click interface. A hand cursor animates whenever it is hovered over a hotspot. The game features many Full Motion Video cut scenes. The inventory (which is stored in your backpack) is easily accessed by moving the cursor to the bottom right of the screen. The menu is triggered by pressing the spacebar.
All in all, having played this game more than once, I have found it to deliver quite an enjoyable experience. The puzzles actually work to move the action and the story along rather than just being tossed in to slow you down. The story is admittedly a little clichéd and can get a bit too convoluted toward the end. Still, there is enough suspense and danger to keep most adventure game fans happy and wrapped up (requisite the bad mummy joke) in the action until the very end.