Released on: October 24 2017
Available Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Price: $22.79 CDN ($19.99 US)
I’m sure I mentioned this before, but I often get game recommendations from watching people play them on Youtube. The Mummy Demastered is one such case. I saw a few Youtubers play it and proclaim that The Mummy Demastered is much better than it looks. Since I recently reviewed The Mummy 2017, the movie the game is based on, I figured I would also take a look at its video game tie-in. Were the Youtubers right? Is The Mummy Demastered a sleeper hit?
The game opens up to a generic soldier set on a mission to stop the awakening of Ahmanet, a powerful mummy capable of raising the dead. The player makes their way down to Ahmanet’s tomb (acting as the tutorial) only to find out that they are too late. Ahmanet is loose, and now she vows revenge on the human race. The player then makes a hasty retreat (or dies trying) to regroup. The story of The Mummy Demastered takes a different approach to the movie, despite similar characters (Ahmanet being the antagonist, Dr. Jekyll delivering exposition and player tips.) Since I didn’t enjoy The Mummy 2017’s story, I welcome this change. The game tends to focus on Ahmanet, which was the best part of The Mummy 2017, and I am all for it.
The presentation of The Mummy Demastered is impressive. It goes for a pixilated art style reminiscent of classic Metroid games. The game also runs at a smooth frame rate. I read that some people were having issues in certain areas, but I found no such slow down. The music also fits the atmosphere well. It reminds a lot of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
The Mummy Demastered is a Metroidvania, taking a little more inspiration from Metroid than Castlevania in this instance. The player starts their journey off with a machine gun. It serves its purpose at the start of the game but quickly feels weak. Thankfully, the player finds missiles and grenades early on. Shortly after that, they find a better gun that they can switch to (if they have it equipped.) Players are locked out of exploring certain areas because their movement options start-off somewhat limited. While searching for Ahmanet, players will unlock skills that will allow them access to these previously unattainable areas. Unlocking new gear and upgrades is just as satisfying in The Mummy Demastered as it is in Metroid.
In the last paragraph, I talked a lot about what the player can find in The Mummy Demastered. While it is convenient to have all that stuff, it won’t matter if the player dies. Why is that? Well, if the player dies, their soldier becomes a walking corpse controlled by Ahmanet. If the player wants to get their upgrades back, they need to kill their previous soldier or kiss their upgrades good-bye. This is a fascinating mechanic that makes me extra cautious about where I step, for fear of having to fight a superpowered zombie. It uses the ideas brought forth in The Mummy 2017 to make Ahmanet a horrifying threat.
In my review of The Mummy 2017, I mentioned that I wished for the movie to push Ahmanet’s powers further and have her resurrect other monsters too. Someone at Wayforward must have thought that too, as she does just that? Sure, Ahmanet starts easy with the typical giant spider, but the second time, she throws a curveball and summons a monster reminiscent of Monster Hunter’s Deviljho. Metroid has a lot of exciting boss fights, which The Mummy Demastered emulates brilliantly.
Usually, I take umbrage with the characters being generic, but in The Mummy Demastered, I never felt so attached to a nameless soldier before. The death mechanic makes these anonymous soldiers much more poignant than the heroes of The Mummy 2017 movie.
I do have a few issues with The Mummy Demastered, however…
For instance, Dr. Jekyll (not played by Russel Crowe, although the resemblance is uncanny) stops the player almost every minute during the tutorial, and quite often during the main story. While it is nice to know what is going on, Ahmanet’s presence permeates throughout the game with the monsters and the looming threat of becoming another one of her pawns if the player should die. Jekyll chiming in once in a while would have been fine, but here, I feel he comes in way too often.
While the bosses are intimidating and have creativity put into them, the regular enemies feel generic. Sometimes some enemies are cool, but most of the time, it’s just ghouls, bats, and skeletons.
Despite The Mummy Demastered’s interesting mechanics and formidable antagonist, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was a movie based video game, one based off a lackluster movie nonetheless, I don’t think that I would have given much thought. I think it might be because the way the game plays is underwhelming. The controls do feel a little stiff for a Metroidvania game. I am aware of the fact that the player character is a soldier, so they do have to be somewhat grounded in reality, but I find that, for this kind of game, it is still too limiting. Sure, there are unlockable skills that help in this regard, but I find their upgrade too meager. The best example I can give is the first movement upgrade. The player gets the ability to cling onto the ceiling. It is neat to be able to hang on to the roof, but doing so slows down the player considerably. As a whole, I do feel The Mummy Demastered’s flow is lacking.
The Mummy Demastered is better than it has any right to be. It has interesting mechanics, a terrifying antagonist, and fares much better than its movie counterpart. That said, as a standalone product, it’s decent, but not spectacular. As for Metroidvanias, I would recommend Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night over The Mummy Demastered. To those who liked The Mummy 2017, and are looking for a budget Metroidvania, The Mummy Demastered is a great video game based on a movie.