The Mummy Demastered (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

The Mummy is one of Universal Studios’ most popular movie franchises.  There have been several sequels and spinoffs, a ride at their theme parks, and I think there was even a cartoon at one point.  Recently they’ve remade the movie and WayForward published a game based on it called The Mummy Demastered.  The reason for that title is because they made the game to look like a movie tie-in from the 16-bit era, and it’s available to download for nearly all the current game consoles and PC (reviewed on PS4 here). It’s a 2-D platforming run and gun exploration type of game, similar to Metroid.  With all those good things going for it, could anything go wrong?  You’ll just have to read on to find out!

In the game you play as a special ops agent and you infiltrate a creepy area where an evil Egyptian queen is creating an undead army to take over the world.  Or at least that’s what I surmised.  I haven’t seen the new remake movie yet as of this writing so I don’t know how close it follows the movie or anything.  Your character is a bit generic (looks like a Halo guy), but there’s a reason for that and we’ll get to it in a bit.  Your character can run and jump as well as shoot guns in 8 directions.  You can even hold a button to stand still and aim your shots in those directions.

As a Metroid inspired title, you’ll travel a sprawling map gathering weapons, upgrades, and other goodies.  You’ll get new weapons like more powerful guns, and grenades that can be used to blow up certain walls.  Other items increase your health and mobility.  You can then use these new skills to reach different areas of the map you couldn’t explore before.  Some of these new skills come in the form of scrolls that allow you to jump higher, swim in water, or climb on ceilings.  While others are just equipment like repel gear that lets you climb down shafts.  You’ll battle all sorts of creepy enemies and bosses, like zombies, skeletons, bats, spiders, and more.

With all this good stuff going for it, it would take a huge problem to really bring this game down.  Unfortunately, this game has just such a problem.  Just like Metroid, there are save rooms every so often on the map where you can save your progress.  But if you die in the game, you start off with a new generic soldier, and your old guy turns into an undead monster.  Your new guy doesn’t have any of the health upgrades and other goodies your previous guy collected, so you must go find where you died, defeat your undead counterpart, and then you’ll collect your upgrades.  This creates some very unnecessary difficult and frustrating situations that could’ve been easily avoided with a gameplay change.  Sometimes a game developer may have an idea that sounds cool at first, but they should always ask, “Is this fun?”  It’s a shame, too, because if it weren’t for this aspect of the game, I probably would’ve enjoyed playing it all the way through.

Kid Factor:

The Mummy Demastered is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  Even though it’s based on a scary movie and you shoot all manner of undead baddies, the 16-bit visuals keep violence from looking very graphic.  If you’re OK with your kids watching the movies (or playing Super Metroid), they’ll be OK here.  Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger gamers may get frustrated at the high difficulty.

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