I’ll be honest. I had absolutely no idea that this game was a movie tie-in. I was unaware that Tom Cruise was involved in a reboot of the Mummy franchise and in all seriousness this game can stand on legs of its own. The developer, WayForward, has crafted a stellar game with The Mummy Demastered. You play as a soldier in the Prodigium organization, a group of monster hunting commando’s, in their war to save humanity from the ancient evil of the Princess Ahmanet. Using a variety of weapons and upgrades you must explore tombs, forests, abandoned tunnels, and the cursed streets of London to discover the fates of your fallen allies and defend mankind against the supernatural hordes of the undead Princess.
Once you get started, the game may feel a little familiar for those who grew up in the 1990’s era of 16-bit classics such as Super Metroid and Super Castlevania III. In fact the similarities are so striking you can’t help but have respect for the games that The Mummy clearly draws inspiration from. The map screen is virtually identical in design to Super Metroid. Simply put, take the best ideas from Metroid and Castlevania and roll it into one, then sprinkle some elements from Contra and Bionic Commando and you have a near perfect recipe of what I expect will be a surprise hit.
Falling into the Platformer category of games in the Xbox store, The Mummy Demastered is a 2D, nonlinear, adventure/exploration game featuring:
– Retro 16-bit graphics
– Shoot-’em up action
– A multitude of weapons
– A variety of horrific enemies
– Classic boss battles
– And 50 hidden relics to discover
At the onset of the game, you have very limited abilities. Carrying only a rifle you must locate various tech upgrades and enhancements to progress further. Killing enemies will often drop health orbs or ammunition for the various weapons you need to locate. There is no auto save feature that many games employ. Instead you must find computer terminals in rooms scattered throughout the map in order to save the game adding to the challenge, so be sure to save often. New abilities like High Jump, Run, and Ceiling Grab will allow you to open up new areas to explore.
Princess Ahmanet commands a legion of enemies that she will set against you. You have your creepy crawlers like spiders, and rats. Zombies and skeletons will claw at you and throw bones. Disembodied brains will bounce on you. You will face tentacles in jars, bats, Ravens, flying insects. Giant bosses will test and frustrate you but their attacks do follow a pattern. Even when that pattern is deciphered you will find it impossible to exit a boss battle unscathed. An interesting twist in player deaths is that you have only one life. In the eventuality of your death you take control of a completely new soldier with no weapons or upgrades aside from the basic rifle at the start of the game. Your new soldier now has to track down and take out the newly risen, undead corpse of your previous self, still armed with the weapons and upgrades previously discovered. One particular death of mine, my last save was completely across the map from where I died and I had to make my way all the way back with little health and just the puny rifle. I suffered numerous deaths on that journey leaving fresh reanimated corpses along the way from save room to save room until I killed my original self (again) and reclaimed my gear.
My final verdict is that while The Mummy Demastered may not unseat Super Metroid from the throne, it most certainly deserves a seat in the Royal Court of games of this genre. Excellent level design, sense of progression, and music, are all positives. The story is told through text which may be easy to skip through but it gets the job done. It does have a high replayability from a Speed runners point of view. There are a few issues with frame rate though which is surprising considering the retro design. Hopefully WayForward can sort that out for the future. Available for download in the Xbox store at the modest pricetag of $20 The Mummy Demastered is certainly well worth the cost.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.