There was a time where just about every blockbuster movie had a video game tie-in; walk into any locally-owned game store and almost half of the GameCube and PlayStation 2 library will be movie games. Most of them are garbage, too. It’s very rare that a tie-in game like GoldenEye 007 comes along that’s actually better than the film its based on. WayForward’s The Mummy Demastered is one of those exceptions, although a lot of that is because its source material was a flop.
The Mummy Demastered hits you with an electronic, horror-themed score right off the bat. It’s a little creepy and some of the beats remind me of the opening menu score in Metriod Prime. That’s not the only similarity to Metroid — The Mummy Demastered, strangely enough, is a Metroidvania-style game.
I separate Metroidvania titles into two categories: The “Super Primes” and the “Fusion Other M’s.” Super Primes take after Super Metroid and Metroid Prime: they don’t hold your hand, give you little to no direction, and encourage free exploration and backtracking. Fusion Other M’s, on the other hand, take after Metriod Fusion and Metroid: Other M, where the narrative is more of a focus and the world is smaller and features waypoints.
In The Mummy Demastered, you take control of a generic trooper as you chase Princess Ahmanet around the map. Ahmanet is an ancient Egyptian princess that has come back to life to wreak havoc on our world — and turn the living into her army of the undead.
The Mummy Demastered has a pretty good variety of locations: gothic-inspired above ground areas, damp sewers, a clocktower-like area, and so on. My main gripe is that The Mummy Demastered is too much of a guided experience. Much of the map consists of linear hallways that connect to tall and wide rooms that connect to more linear hallways. Even worse, a pixelated Russel Crowe appears every now and then to place a new waypoint on your map (for context, Crowe plays Dr. Jekyll in the film).
That’s right — The Mummy Demastered straight-up tells you where to go next at all times. You can’t even turn off the waypoints like you can in SteamWorld Dig 2. It’s a really strange design choice because The Mummy Demastered takes so much inspiration from Metroid: you’ll come across scrolls that give you physical abilities, better guns to blast enemies with, and grenades that blow up different kinds of walls.
The game never forces you to stray from the path it’s leading you on, though. You can deviate from the path every now and then to pick up health or ammo expansions, but these deviations are pretty short. The Mummy Demastered doesn’t make you recall old areas that you might be able to access with new upgrades like Super Metroid and Metroid Prime do. Some people might be into that — but in my view, if you’re gonna do Metroid, you should go all-in.
The Mummy Demastered does do one pretty cool thing regarding death: when you die, your character is reanimated and joins Ahmanet’s army of the dead. You’ll reswpawn at the last save station you came across as a different — although aesthetically identical — trooper, and all your weapons and upgrades will be gone. You have to find and kill your old character to get all of it back. This is the single coolest thing about The Mummy Demastered, and it fits perfectly in this game. There were times where I died in a tough area and kept dying on my way over, so I had to fight three or four reanimated troopers on my way to reclaim all my upgrades.
The pixel art and animations in The Mummy Demastered are downright stunning. Everything is super smooth, save for the occasional frame stutter, with the game’s huge bosses looking exceptionally beautiful.
Platforming might take a bit to get used to, though. I went into The Mummy Demastered after playing hour upon hours of the fantastic Elliot Quest, so jumping in WayForward’s title felt a little sluggish. I also felt like the weapons were too weak — it takes way too long to blast away rats and spiders, and can get pretty frustrating when there are tons of enemies on screen. It’s almost as if WayForward nerfed weapon damage to add an artificial difficulty to The Mummy Demastered.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: The writer purchased a copy of The Mummy Demastered for review.