Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
December 29th 2003
Introduction:Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is one of the most memorable action adventure games to be released in the last few years. Based on Egyptian lore, you will explore various locations in Eurocom's Egypt as well as encounter gods from the past. Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy provides an exciting adventure with plenty of surprises.
The Game:At first glance into Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy you might think you're in for some pretty standard gameplay, but as the game progresses and new characters are introduced you will find out what everyone is talking about. Sphinx incorporates a good amount of classic gameplay elements such as jumping, puzzles, fighting and exploring with its own twist. Sphinx really seperates itself from other games with the two diverse lead characters, Sphinx and the boy pharaoh Tutankhamen who becomes the Cursed Mummy. Both charcters have very distinctive triats. The Cursed Mummy is able to use pain and death to his aid, and Sphinx uses his brain, athletics and brawn. If you had to pic a similar adventure title, you compare the gameplay to Nintendo's Zelda franchise. Even though the gameplay is similar the Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy are in a class of their own.
Sphinx is a young demi-god who starts out seeking some ancient relics and quickly finds out that his services will be needed to save the people of Egypt from some evil forces. No surprises there, because there is always evil to be confronted. Sphinx's story is delivered in a way where the cheese melts and you quickly forget a standardized premise of the game and get immerged into the amazing virtual world that was created. Sphinx also has an unlikely companion in the way of a comical mummy character. As I stated above, the mummy can not be killed, and will be jumping into danger to solve some of the puzzles throughout the dangerous temples. For the cursed mummy being sliced in three is a good thing.
Of course Sphinx isn't flawless; the camera does become a problem once and a while. This becomes the most problematic when fighting against multiple enemies. We have all learned to live with such problems because every third person game has the evil camera plague.
Graphics & Sound:The graphical content in Sphinx really brings this game together. The level of detailing is high. The levels and all the characters in Sphinx are overwhelming. Sphinx is one of the best looking games of this year. The lighting effects are gorgeous and the indoor and outdoor settings really come to life with the blazing desert sun beating down. Sphinx has all the little touches that make a game great, you will not miss the attention to detail in Sphinx because the environments are so rich.
Another graphical milestone is the two lead characters. Sphinx's animations are flawless and smooth and the mummy comes off with the same vibrant flair. Eurocom has done an amazing job making each transition wither it be climbing, burning, swimming or fighting. Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy are landmark characters and I feel they could expand and release more games based around these two characters. If you have the means you can also throw on the progressive scan option on the box and have even crisper graphics. This game is a work of art, and must be explored to appreciate all the beautiful landscapes.
The sound effects in Sphinx are top notch; some of the little touches are great. One thing I really didn't get at first, but later it grew on me was the loud symphony type sound when you hit an enemy with your sword, but who knows maybe that's how the blade of Osiris sounds? Besides the sword the only slightly negative comment could be because of the lack of voice overs. I'm sure this was just a time restraint, the text works fine. but I would have preferred some voices. The musical score behind the game is brilliant, and have a clear eastern feel and help convince the visuals even more.
Innovation:Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy are balanced on with borrowed elements and new innovative eliminates and this makes a great well rounded game. The story has been done before, but never with this conviction. The main innovation comes in the form of being able to use both characters which truly differ from one and another. The Mummy is the more creative of the two, but they both have their roles. The mummy is an innovation onto himself. Being able to be electrocuted, set on fire, smashed, split in three, etc. This is a new way to approach a game character which we have seen used in Microsofts Voodoo Vince as well. Sphinx's monster capture ability is also unique, which gives Sphinx a little something extra that you didn't expect.
Mojo:Mojo bomb! The big pyramid of mojo is where Sphinx is chillin' if you're a fan of Egypt mythology this is the only game you need. Never before have I been enchanted in an adventure game as much as Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. Sphinx is a cool character, and the mummy is great sidekick. The little demi god and his less fortunate friend have the mojo. You have to love the 2d squished mummy! All hail Sphinx and The Cursed Mummy.
Lowdown:All around Sphinx is a solid game, and is one of the years very best in the action/adventure category. The graphics, plot and creative characters will keep Sphinx in your Xbox for a while, and definitely is worth the investment.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 10. Final: 9
GOTY AWARD:BEST ADVENTURE GAME OF 2003