You can go one of two routes for a movie tie-in. You could spend time developing a decent game, perhaps sacrificing the release date to make it so (GoldenEye, Alien Resurrection) or you can make any old guffins just to cash in on the brand name (Batman & Robin, Frank Herbert's Dune). Developed by Konami, The Mummy (2000, Universal Interactive Studios) falls somewhere between the two.
When you boot up the game, it's obvious that it was inspired by the phenomenon that was Tomb Raider. It is a third-person action-adventure with some light puzzling thrown in, but your time will mostly be spent hacking, slashing or shooting hoards of the undead. In a way, I'd consider it more of a beat-em-up at times with any exploration or puzzling appearing as something of an afterthought.
If you're stuck, try pushing everything. Chances are a something could trigger a door to open (left)
Changing weapons is done in real-time - best not to do it mid-fight (right)
Throughout the adventure, you'll control Brendan Frasier's Rick O'Connell whose polygonal avatar bears a decent likeness to him. His voice actor is a little off, but I can see what he was going for ("hire me, I'm cheap" maybe?). Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and Jonathan (John Hannah) are along for the ride, their likeness only, and offer little to the actual gameplay beyond that which required by the story.
You begin in a cavernous area of an Egyptian tomb which acts as the hub-area linking each level. The aim is to collect the broken pieces of an ancient tablet that may ultimately rid you of the supernatural high jinks going on around you. These can be found at the end of each level inside an obviously conspicuous sarcophagus. Sometimes, you may even get another weapon to add to your arsenal as well.
Star Key pieces are needed to release the Star Switches that lead to the next area.
You can find them mid-level or after defeating a wave of enemies.
You will come across a number of weapons throughout the time in Egypt, including the club-like torch and dual pistols you begin the game with. With a weapon in hand, you will lock on to the nearest enemy making it hard to actually miss a shot. That being said, it takes far longer to down an enemy with the pistols than the melee weapon so I found that there's more time for them to gang up on you using it (better guns will be available later, but it gets evened out with tougher enemies). As such, I used whatever I could swing at them to better effect. For the most part, their recoil animation takes longer than re-swinging your sword nicely placing you in a loop where you're unlikely to get hit. Just make sure there's no one behind you!
Controlling Rick is simple enough, though I did re-map the keys to suit my tastes. He has a move set that's reminiscent of Lara Croft, but not quite as acrobatic. His jumps are floaty and unpredictable but you're unlikely to find too many small platforms to make this any more than a short-lived headache. He can grab hold of edges, shimmy across cracks in the wall, roll sideways to get out of harms way among a few others but it doesn't feel as satisfying as his obvious inspiration.
The end of level sarcophagi will bag you some goodies (left)
Naturally, the tombs are filled with traps (right)
Being more linear, you could say this about the level design as well. There is very little to distinguish each level. With re-used assets and basic level progression you won't spend much time exploring. You fight enemies or push levers to hunt down Star Key parts which open the next area. A completed Star Key will allow you to open the sarcophagi at then end, but few levels give you the opportunity to miss any. This formula continues level-to-level although it does all-too-rarely change things up with arcade set pieces. For example, you will need to ride down the rapids of an underground fork of the River Nile in the third level, though this isn't as exciting as it sounds.
If you do want to go for 100% completion, there are quite a few collectables scattered around. Treasures are pretty much everywhere, and if you collect four of them, you'll receive a Magic Amulet - a mystic grenade of sorts that will instantly kill enemies in its range. More interestingly, there are 8 Hieroglyphs to light up in each stage as well. You do this by lighting your torch from a nearby flame and getting near to them. To begin with, fire is everywhere so it won't be much of a hassle but later levels do take some lateral thinking to light them. You only get a limited time before the flame goes out and if you need to crawl or climb, Rick will extinguish it as he puts it away.
All these collectables, along with life and ammo, are logged on the left side of the heads up display. It will disappear after a period, so press TAB to bring it back up if needed. Permanently shown on the screen is the Star Key symbol on the bottom right which gives you the most pertinent information. Taking up half the circumference on the right is your health displayed in green. The blue dots on the left is the health of an enemy. In the centre is the number of Star Keys you've found which will become more useful in the more branching later levels.
Light up all eight Hieroglyphs for a bonus (left)
Underground log surfing down the River Nile (right)
Graphically speaking, The Mummy is pretty decent. Textures have a nice amount of detail and there are some nice effects which add to the overall presentation. The draw distance does suffer, though. The entire game takes place underground, so I don't know if this was a design choice but I do know PCs in 2000 could do better than this. Perhaps this was a purposeful limitation due to it also being released on the original PlayStation. I'd stay away from that version though, it suffers terribly with frame-rate and input issues making it truly a dud for the system. The PC variant is far superior.
I didn't much like the Mummy movies when I first saw them, but over time I've grown a nostalgic soft spot for them. Similarly, when I first played The Mummy on the PlayStation, I dismissed it as yet another poor movie tie-in. Having now given it a proper chance, I can say that there is a fair amount to enjoy here. I wouldn't call it a classic or a must-play that changes the needle on what a game adaptation could be, but it is a pleasant way to waste some time.
To download the game, follow the link below. This installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber runs natively on Windows. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 423 Mb. Install Size: 823 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
The Mummy is © Universal Interactive Studios
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me