Mummy: Tomb of the Pharaoh
Egypt. The very name conjures up images of pyramids, Cleopatra, the Sphinx, and ancient tombs, mummies and curses. Interplay has done a wonderful job of creating a way for the average person to enjoy all the fun, excitement, and -- yes -- even politics of an archeological dig, while leaving the mundane grunt work to someone who really wants it. Here's your chance to join veteran actor Malcolm McDowell and a strong cast in an expedition to a land you've only dreamed of.
You've gone through a metamorphosis. Your name is now Mike Cameron, and you are a facilitator to the National Mining Corporation. There's trouble in Egypt. An ancient box (with hieroglyphics warning of a curse) has been found at your company's mining site. The workers are scared; the Egyptian Antiquities Department is concerned that the mining is too close to ancient burial grounds, and your company is worried that their production of phosphate and manganese has dropped off. Your job, whether you want it or not, is to get to the bottom of things. Oh, and by the way -- you'll be working with your ex-wife!
From the moment you step down off the plane, mystery abounds. Hidden rooms, cryptic messages and ancient puzzles become the norm. Good luck finding your way out of some of these situations; hopefully you'll live long enough to be of some use.
The characters are well thought out and have distinctive personalities. One of my favorite quirks in the game is the ability to listen to "your own" thoughts at times. This proves to be generally humorous. It also helps Mike Cameron to "seem more real" and may help you in a tight spot if you listen carefully.
This is the area in whichshines. The puzzles are hard enough to keep me interested, but logic-based enough to avoid undue frustration. Still, some days you'll feel more logical than others and need to leave the game temporarily to clear your thoughts.
The game progresses smoothly and doesn't allow you to enter areas before you've taken the proper steps to get there. Example: Before you can enter the mine shafts, you must find a source of light.
A word to the wise -- explore every area thoroughly. I had to make a couple of trips back and forth between areas to get items I hadn't noticed the first time around. This could have been avoided if I had taken more time, trying all objects, and putting those I could grab into my backpack. (It's amazing how much that thing can hold.) Above all, try to think of what would make sense in a given situation. If that doesn't work, try using everything in your backpack -- the solution usually makes sense in retrospect.
The background music for Mummy is a nice, traditional "Egyptian" sound. The special effect sounds were terrific as well. I especially liked the music forewarning you of earthquake tremors. I could feel my adrenaline start to rush and the panic set in as I fought my way up above ground. I can tell that Interplay spent some time to make sure that the music and sound effects blend well with the environments and the action. How many "click-adventure" games make one's heart race?
Mummy is played from a first-person perspective. This viewpoint works particularly well with this game, because it makes it so much easier for you to "become" the character. The colors are well-chosen and make the environment seem all the more realistic. Be sure to search all areas thoroughly -- what might look like only a shadow from afar might be something of much more significance later on. The video clips are really what carries the plot. However, at times, I found that they could be distracting, maybe even a little annoying when I had a particular goal to pursue and was stopped to watch a video. Luckily, the program allows you to skip ahead. But do so with caution; often, some vitally important information is conveyed subtly during a portion of a video.
Mummy's controls are easy to master. A gloved hand will point in directions you can go. At times, I wanted to go to other areas, but -- alas -- it wasn't meant to be. Be aware of the subtle differences in the positions of the hand; it's easy to miss an important clue by not paying close enough attention.
A grasping hand will let you know a couple of things: when an object can be picked up for a closer look, when something can be turned on or off, or when you can place an item in your backpack. Remember to put everything you can into that backpack.
I was pleased that the controls were self-explanatory and didn't detract from the action of the game. There's nothing worse in a game like this than when you "lose the feel" because you need to keep checking the manual or wandering around trying to figure out the controls. Mummy admirably avoids this common pitfall.
Included is the Instruction Manual and an Installation Guide. The manual gives you a quick rundown of your situation and introduces the game's characters. It also provides maps, which I found handy for my first trip around the mining camp.
486/33, 8 MB RAM, Win 95, 2X CD-ROM drive, 22 MB hard disk space, VESA video card with 1 MB RAM, mouse, SoundBlaster compatible soundcard
Recommended: Pentium 60 or greater, 16 MB RAM, PCI video card with 2 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, SoundBlaster 32, powered speakers
Reviewed on: P-120, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, Diamond Stealth 64 PCI
I thoroughly enjoyed Mummy: Tomb of the Pharaoh. This game captured my attention from the get-go and held it through the long -- and sometimes frustrating -- hours of enjoyable playing. Overall, I would recommend Mummy to those who enjoy a challenge or at least want to explore an ancient Egyptian tomb (vicariously, of course). Mummy has earned an exceptional score of 90.