Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy Preview
We traverse ancient Egypt in THQ's upcoming mystical action-adventure game.
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Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is a new action adventure game from THQ for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox. We recently got to spend some time with an early PS2 version, and based on what we've seen, it looks like Sphinx is shaping up to be a pretty solid adventure with a unique story and setting. Previously known as Sphinx and the Shadow of Set, the game takes place in an ancient Egypt-like world that's filled with mysticism and mythological figures. In the game, you'll take control of the two title characters: Sphinx, a young demigod who has a variety of action-oriented maneuvers, and Tutankhamen the mummy, a slower character who relies on stealth and ingenuity instead of brawn and youthful agility to get past obstacles and complete tasks. Initially, the storylines of Sphinx and the mummy are separate, but as their paths come together, you'll alternately take control of both of them to fight against the machinations of the evil Set.
Sphinx's levels will comprise most of the game. You'll control him as you explore the land, visiting populated areas where you can interact with lots of different characters, as well as more-remote locations like dangerous temples. The game features a fair amount of dialogue, and when you talk to key characters, they'll give you important tasks you have to complete. These tasks generally involve traveling to new areas, collecting inventory items, and that sort of thing. In the process, you can also acquire new weapons and abilities, enhancing your capacity to fight the various enemies spread throughout the world.
The mummy levels, which are generally much more puzzle-oriented than those involving Sphinx, can be pretty goofy at times. You'll end up abusing him quite a bit as you make your way toward objectives. For instance, we had to run him through two giant pegs that were smashing together, and when we didn't make it in time, the mummy was flattened into a paper-thin version of himself and stayed that way as we continued to explore the level. This flattened state actually helps the mummy get past a certain puzzle in which he must sneak through the iron bars of a prison, but in doing so, he has to compete with an unusual enemy--a stiff breeze that can blow the paper-thin mummy off-course. The mummy can also be electrocuted, which can help him power a series of electrodes to progress to the next area--falling in a nearby pool of water will actually diffuse the charge and require the mummy to go back and get a second helping of electricity to complete the puzzle. The mummy can even be set on fire (and then put out if you can find some water), and his animations are pretty exaggerated and comical when these disasters befall him. It's good to see in these instances that the game doesn't take itself too seriously.
Even in its early state, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy looks surprisingly good for a PlayStation 2 game. The character models are especially noteworthy--you can swing the camera angle down for an up-close look at both Sphinx and the mummy, and the amount of detail and personality evident in these character models and their animations is pretty striking. The backgrounds and other game characters also have a consistent, somewhat stylized appearance, and overall the look of the game is pretty appealing. The frame rate is generally quite smooth as well, except in a few busy areas, but as this is a prerelease version of the game, so the frame rate will hopefully be smoothed out before the game hits store shelves.
Based on our initial impressions, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy seems like it could be a unique action-adventure game with a fair amount of depth and variety. The mixture of straight action with Sphinx and stealth and puzzle-solving with the mummy, along with the nice aesthetics, should make for a pretty entertaining experience when the game hits all three consoles in November. We'll bring you more info on the game as it becomes available.