Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

Format: PS2

4 005209 049061
Age Restrictions: 12+

Set in an ancient Egyptian inspired environment Sphinx and his sidekick Mummy embark on an epic quest exploring new worlds, uncovering dark secrets, interacting with hundreds of fantastic creatures and discovering new abilities. Travelling the world via magic portals to foil the evil plans of a mysterious foe, players must travel on a journey that will require all their wits and agility to ensure good triumphs over evil...

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy has so much going for it that it is difficult to know where to start. The graphics are awesome, the music is beautiful and the gameplay is addictive.

You play the part of the young demigod, Sphinx, sent on a quest to find a mystical sword. Once you've captured this, you're in business and can slice and dice monsters to your hearts content. But, just as you are getting used to playing as Sphinx you suddenly find yourself back in ancient Egypt, and you now take on the role of a lanky looking prince called Tutankhamun - you may have heard of this very famous prince.

And that's how this game is split - complete a level as Sphinx, then as Tutankhamun and then Sphinx again. Not only does this add to the games longevity (by stretching out two storylines), but it also helps to keep you glued to the TV screen. There's very little repetitive gameplay here, which keeps the action fresh and exciting.

While Sphinx is great at jumping and climbing everywhere, Tutankhamun (who is quickly transferred in to the mummy of the game's title) has a totally different set of movements. These include crawling and sneaking around. Not only that, but in later levels you'll be able to electrocute him, set him on fire and slice him up into three mini mummies. It is these segments which illustrate the games great sense of humour. But worry not - you can't die as The Mummy (you're already dead). Instead, you get unlimited tries at completing difficult levels.

It's only when you finally manage to travel to Abydos, as Sphinx, that the game really opens up and you find yourself having to travel between areas by boat.

The monsters that inhabit Sphinx's world are varied and well conceived - in fact if you are playing the game correctly, you can collect a lot of the indigenous life forms and exhibit them at the local museum. And while this isn't essential to complete the game, it does make an entertaining distraction from the normal killing of monsters. Other creatures can help you blow things up or set things on fire.

It is also obvious that whoever designed a lot of the human based characters in this game is a huge Jim Henson fan. Many of the townsfolk (and in particular the two brothers who run the farm) look as though they have come straight out of the Creature Workshop.

The only thing I could find to moan about was the lack of any vocal dialogue. All of the cut scenes are played out with subtitles - with the speakers simply making the odd grunt or groan. This does detract somewhat from what would be a perfect game.

That slight grumble aside, this could be the best £35 you spend this year.

Nick Smithson

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