Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy
Game Info
Platform(s)
GC, PS2, Xbox
Publisher
THQ
Developer
Eurocom
Genre
Adventure
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Fantasy Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Gorgeous graphics
• Sizable adventure
• Mummy portions provide fun puzzle elements

The Bad

• Camera could use work
• Way too much fetching
• Healthy load times

 
Grade
B+

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is the tale of two games that somehow found themselves together. Initially told in two separate storylines that manage to come together as the game progresses, Sphinx stars both the mythical Sphinx and Tutankhamen. If you have any knowledge of Egyptian history and mythology, the cast of characters in this title will play like a Who's Who. On one side, Sphinx is given a quest to restore the ancient lands, apparently through finding many hidden treasures. On the other hand, young Tutankhamen is turned into a mummy as part of a evil plan to overthrow the old empire. Luckily these two storylines intertwine as the game progresses.

As with the story, the gameplay behind Sphinx is broken into two separate parts. When players take on the role of Sphinx, they're treated to an adventure set in vast locations. To be honest, this portion is basically the Legend of Zelda framework with an Egyptian coat of paint. Sphinx has the ability to jump and attack with his sword. He gains new abilities and equipment as the game progresses, allowing him to raise a shield, use a blowgun, double-jump and even perform a smash attack by jumping and the hitting the attack button. Once players acquire new equipment, they can "attach" them to buttons not assigned to jump or attack.

The levels with Sphinx will require you to talk to citizens to discover what they may want or need to help progress the game forward. Okay... that's just a nice way of saying that this portion of the game is just a huge fetch-quest. You'll be collecting all manners of things, from pearls to captured animals just to appease the local citizenry and to continue on with the game. Puzzles are often involve finding a switch or key to progress. Combat during this portion is pretty straightforward, but the lack of a lock-on feature can make combat a little dicey at times. In Sphinx's portion, players will have the opportunity to play in a handful of mini-games, including obvious takes on Memory and Simon Says.

Where the game really strikes gold is in the Mummy portions. Because of his recently undead status, the Mummy has the ability to be affected by elements in the environment. He can be set on fire, electrocuted, and smashed and even retains these effects for a limited amount of time. You may think that this is a useless gimmick until you see how this "gimmick" is actually a necessary part in solving environmental puzzles. Because of these ingenious puzzle elements, you'll find yourself quickly in love with the quirky Mummy and his scenarios.

It's obvious that some time has been invested in the development of Sphinx. The graphics portion of the game is a pure gold mine of visuals. The game sports a lot of nicely rendered locations, finely detailed textures and some exquisite visual effects. You'll be impressed with how large certain locations are. Because of the large size of locations, you'll be able to explore without locations being broken up into smaller portions, but the load times when you do go from one location to another are rather noticeable.

The audio portion is less impressive, but still works with the theme of the game. Music and sound effects are appropriately handled and accent the graphics in shaping the gameworld. For those spoiled by adventure titles with voice acting, Sphinx may come across a little weak, but I think the lack of voice acting is actually a plus as the story isn't detracted by bad acting.

Sphinx does suffer from some minor issues when it comes to the camera, which tends to give you trouble in certain instances. Because Sphinx has no lock-on feature, you may have to give the camera some attention in tight quarters to see what you're doing. Also, there were times where I had to fight the camera to get a good view of some platforming stage that I had to complete. While these camera issues aren't too bad with the immortal Mummy, the less durable Sphinx portions may prove less forgiving.

With all detracting comments aside, Sphinx is still a solid adventure title for those looking for something new to get into. While you may find the item fetching tedious, your time spent with the Mummy will more than make up for it.

- - Kinderfeld

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