STAFF REVIEW of Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (Xbox)

Monday, December 15, 2003.
by Underdog

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy Box art With the holidays slowly approaching you might start seeing all kinds of different games flashing on the TV or pages in magazines, but there is one game that might be over looked in all the chaos of advertising and in my opinion it shouldn?t be, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. Developed by Eurocom Entertainment, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy sets the stage of gaming goodness by taking you into some ancient Egyptian history and mythology. As the story goes you play as Sphinx, a pointed ear, long tail demigod, who is set out on a mission by Imhotep, a monkey like magician, to stop the evil that is rising in Uruk.

Now, every hero needs a comic relief sidekick, so this where the Mummy comes in. Before he was cursed the Mummy was, Tutankhamen, a prince of the kingdom of Luxor who was about to celebrate his birthday, instead he stumbled upon an evil plan by his older brother who was looking to take the young prince out of the picture. Just as Tut was trying to get away, he was found and turned into a lifeless mummy, but right before the ceremony was completed, fate steps in and Sphinx puts an end to the ceremony. And that my friends, is how Sphinx meets the Mummy and now it?s up to this newly formed duo to rid their world of the evil that is threaten to destroy it.

Sphinx?s gameplay sticks to the traditional adventure game with its jumping, swordplay, small side missions and exploring many different lands.

As Sphinx you start out like in most games pretty weak, but as you explore and get further into the game you earn more skills and weapons. For instance, one of the skills you learn is the ability to catch monsters and if you catch the right monster they will help you out on some puzzle you might run across, by burning down fences or blowing up huge boulders. You will also pick a blow gun, but this is not your ordinary blow gun, it?s a blow gun that?s James Bond himself would be proud to have. This blow dart can shoot all kinds of different darts. First there?s your regular darts that help you shoot targets that might be out of Sphinx?s reach. Next are acid darts that melt chains that might be locking a door that you need to get through. Then there are ice darts, to freeze some enemies in a block of ice to then be picked up to help you reach higher ground. So even with all that in Sphinx?s bag of tricks he still can?t complete his task at hand, he still has to rely on his partner, the Mummy

As the Mummy, the gameplay is quite different. The mummy has no fighting abilities; instead he relies on stealth and puzzle solving. Since all mummies are usually dead, you really can?t hurt them. So that gives you the upper hand in solving some of the puzzles that this game throws out you. To get through some of the puzzles you might have to set the mummy?s wrappings on fire to burn wooden cages or barriers that are blocking your way. While other obstacles will have you getting squished flat as a pancake to fit through some tight places, getting electrocuted to carry a charge to machines that be needed to turned on or getting cut up in pieces to hit multiple switches at one time. By doing all these things to the poor mummy, you are in for some well laid out puzzles, which will keep even the best puzzle gamers feeling challenged.

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is a beautiful game and with hardly ever any slow downs. The character design is this game?s strong part. The characters are something of a hybrid between Disney and Jim Hennson. Almost every character in the game will have an expressive face. Such as, Tut in his human form has an innocent look that can be seen trough his facial movements, while Sphinx's confidence shines trough his little smirks. Also, the environments are very detailed. Dungeons and temples look very dark and cold; while the outdoor areas seem very wide open and look like they could go for miles.

The sound in Sphinx could have been better, I know it?s just nick picking. I wished the characters had some kind of voice over instead of a groan, giggle or little noise that character could make. The music was nicely done and fit well with situations that may unfold as you walk through a dark dungeon or by changing the tempo as the drama changed in a key fight scene.

What can I say; you guys have made a really fun game. I couldn?t put my controller down. All of the puzzles were well thought out and were a blast to think through. The only thing you should have done is have some voice-overs for the characters. I think it would have gone so well with all the work you guys put into your characters facial expressions.

Overall: 8.4 / 10
Gameplay: 8.8 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.8 / 10


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