By Henry Badilla / October 24th, 2017
|Title||The Mummy Demastered|
|Release Date||October 24, 2017|
|Genre||2D Action Adventure|
|Platform||PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch|
|Age Rating||Everyone 10+|
I’m not much of a movie-goer to be honest. Beside the Marvel movies it’s rare that a film has me excited to go watch it on the release week. Which made me miss completely that this year a remake of The Mummy was released with Tom Cruise in the protagonist role. From what I have read the movie is not very good, however, Universal Studios hired WayForward, famous for the Shantae games and Contra 4 for the 3DS, to create a game for the movie. I know this sounds a bit crazy but turns out the game is a Metroidvania loosely based on the movie with a retro aesthetic and great sprite work. I’m sure you’re curious how the game turned out so keep reading and I’ll be happy to tell you all about it.
The story starts in a cave in Iraq. You are a member of the military group known as Prodigium that is in charge of locating and defeating monsters. From what we’re told the ground team found an unusual tomb, but contact was lost with them a couple of hours ago. Your mission is to find them and see what happened. When you get there you discover the Tomb of princess Ahmanet, who killed all the soldiers and raised the dead to bring the world to an end. Now you have to find and defeat her to save humanity.
While the actual movie plot is a bit different, and more convoluted from what Wikipedia tells me, the basic concept is the same. Find princess Ahmanet and defeat her. Other than that there is no actual relationship with the movie. None of the main actors are presented in the game, and you actually control a generic soldier from Prodigium. Ahmanet’s sprite does resemble her appearance in the movie a bit and your commander’s portrait in game looks quite similar to Russel Crowe, but you never hear his name and no other references to the movie are made. You don’t need to know the plot of the movie to enjoy this game and that’s probably for the best.
As I mentioned above this game is a Metroidvania. You will need to navigate through several connected rooms, fighting against tons of enemies while locating new weapons, abilities, collectables and fighting huge bosses. The game resembles a lot more of a Metroid than a Castlevania, to a point that most of the game systems are taken directly from it. There is no experience or levels, you start with 99 Life points and you can find Health Packs that will increase your life total by 100. Your main weapon is a sub-machine gun with unlimited ammo, but you can find up to 7 additional guns that require ammo but deal more damage.
Saving the game will not restore your health, but enemies will drop health and ammo. And like usual in the genre, once you kill a boss you will get a new ability required to progress to a new area in the game. There are warp points distributed through the map to fast travel between areas and ammo caches that will fill all your weapons and allow you to switch your payload. You can only carry 2 additional guns and one type of grenade from the 3 available in the game.
There is one nice new feature in this game that you will only experience if you die. Since Ahmanet can resurrect the dead, when you die your corpse will be resurrected as a zombie by her. So then you will take control of another soldier of Prodigium and will have to go to where you died, defeat the body of your comrade and recover the equipment that you were carrying, including your life upgrades and weapons. This adds a new layer of difficulty to the game.
The only problem with this is that you can easily work around this system by restarting the game before you died. The mechanic is very nice and unique for this genre, and I hope we get to see more of it in a future game. I feel that there’s some unexplored design space that could benefit of the mix of Metroidvania and rogue-like games.
While many of the elements mentioned above are considered as standard for these type of games, I feel that almost everything was taken from Metroid. You unlock an ability to run so you can jump further. but it requires you to run for a bit to build-up speed. There is no double jump but your jump height increases, and while there is no Morph Ball you have to roll on the floor to access small areas in the game. Some enemies have attack patterns that are a bit too similar to enemies from the Metroid or Castlevania series. There’s a crow that moves in the same way as the Medusa Heads and a brain in a jar that attacks like the Fleaman from Castlevania to name a few.
Normally I would consider it as a tribute to these games if it wasn’t that one of the areas is basically a copy of the Clock Tower. With moving gears, platforms that move and spikes, it’s just too obvious not to notice it. And the crow that I mentioned above also appears during this stage, which is just the cherry on top.
This doesn’t mean that the game is bad, on the contrary the game feels and plays exactly as it should. The map is big enough to keep you entertained and it’s filled with secrets all around it. It took me 6.5 hours to complete the main story and I’m planning to return to it for the last 3% of the map that I’m missing.
There are a total of 5 bosses in the game of varying difficulty. Most of them cover a large portion of the screen and are very different one from the other. Similar to the Metroid games, you cannot see their life total, but they will change color depending on how much life they have left and will act more aggressive as well. The design of these bosses is quite unique and depict different deities from the egyptian mythology like Seth and Ammut, while not forgetting the classics like a giant scarab.
Graphically there is not much to talk about, WayForward are some of the best at creating sprites for their game and this one is not the exception. You have a great variety of enemies, from mummies, zombies, insects, wolves and dogs to name a few, all with very fluid animations. The different areas are filled with details and are very distinguished from one another. This game reminds of the Gameboy Advance era and the Castlevania games that we got on that system, and I’m saying this as a great compliment. The music complements this retro feel by using chiptunes for the soundtrack. There are many melodies for each of the game areas and each one has that eerie sound that will immerse you in the suspense of the game.
I know that there are many fans of the Metroidvania genre out there that will be happy to play The Mummy Demastered as it covers everything that there is to enjoy with these types of games. And while it’s true that some areas will feel quite familiar to those of us that have played other games in the genre, the game is still quite fun, challenging and will have you moving all around the map until you reach the 100% on it. For $20 you can’t really go wrong with this game.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
nintendo switchPCPS4SteamThe Mummy DemasteredWayForward TechnologiesXbox One