Movie tie-in games have taken a backseat in terms of console releases. Due to the rising cost of making video games and the strict deadlines usually associated with these titles, the quality of the final product can range from really bad to really good. With a lot of movie and licensed games moving to mobile devices to make their money, console titles seem to have fallen by the wayside. This is where The Mummy Demastered looks to buck the trend by offering a quality experience while not getting held back by the license attached to it.
Let's get this out of the way, it doesn't take long to see that The Mummy Demastered is very heavily inspired by Nintendo's Metroid series. Almost everything from the 2D Metroid titles is in here, from the level design, acquiring various weapons in different areas, backtracking, and even the way the game starts and finishes is reminiscent of Super Metroid. Call it Metroid-like or even a clone, but The Mummy Demastered does more things right than wrong.
Taking place during the events of the movie, you control a Prodigium agent investigating the supernatural events caused by Princess Ahmanet. With the fate of mankind is in your hands you must fight the undead, possessed insects, and giant bosses. The good news is there are plenty of weapons and artifacts to find that increase your chances against the endless horde of enemies. You'll need to obtain certain items and abilities in order to progress through the world. If there is a place you cannot quite reach yet, you're not meant to at that time.
There is a little bit of everything to fight here from bats to grasshoppers to undead Templar knights. Paying attention to how each enemy reacts and attacks is necessary as you'll deal with multiple enemy types later in the game. Spiders are annoying but pair them with fast moving rats near you feat and they become a little more difficult to deal with. Fortunately, your arsenal of weapons can level the playing field quickly. Shotguns, flamethrowers, rockets, and C4 can turn even the nastiest of enemies to dust. Choosing which combination to go with is entirely up to the player as I could not find a situation where I felt that my weapon choices resulted in failure. From the shotgun to the mercury harpoon, all the weapons feel great so pick the ones you're most comfortable with. The only downside here is that picking your weapons has to be done in certain areas and not on the fly. However, these locations are fairly frequent so you won't be backtracking all over the map to re-equip weapons.
Traversing the environment is a bit of a mixed bag. The controls feel good so doing the tasks of running and jumping is no problem. What can become an issue is the placement of enemies at times. The vertical sections are the main problem here as when you drop, you have very little time to prepare for what is below you. Beetles and rats like to hug the surfaces of the platforms you'll be jumping and landing on and many times you'll fall right onto them without warning. On top of taking damage, you'll be knocked back with little control of your agent. Often you'll get knocked off a ledge and fall helplessly down until landing on another platform. If you're progressing downward, this issue can be to your benefit. But if you're climbing upwards, this is a big pain the rear.
That issue aside, the level design is quite good with plenty of exploration to be done. All the staples of the genre are here with moving platforms, bodies of water, and plenty of jumping to be had. Your agent does not do a cool roll in the air but is more than capable of traversing the wide ranges of environments you encounter. The environments vary from forests, caves, and even a subway. I find it odd starting in the mountains, progressing deeper to a cave, then traversing even further down to find myself in a subway. It's a total video game thing to go from lush forests to a subway but logic has me scratching my head. Regardless, the areas themselves look distinct with the backgrounds and music making each area feel unique from one another.
Whether or not it is borrowing from another game or not, I really am having a great time here. Despite the traversal issues, blasting enemies and progressing from each area is a fun experience. The action gets intense as enemies are unforgiving and can take your life meter down if you're careless. Making matters a little more difficult is health is only refilled from enemy drops or when finding a new health pack, increasing your overall life meter. I particularly enjoyed the boss fights even though there is only a handful. They were not too difficult once you learn their patterns and the fights are fun and engaging.
The game really starts to open up as you get further into the campaign. As your arsenal of weapons and abilities starts to grow, so too do your enemies. You really start to feel like a badass when running around with an assault rifle and rockets, not afraid of anything coming your way. You'll be rewarded if backtracking to previously inaccessible areas with health packs, increased ammo capacity, and even some amulets that give special perks that can help turn the tides in your favor.
An interesting mechanic comes into play should you fall to your enemies. Rather than a game over screen with a chance to reload your save, the game saves automatically and your agent turns into one of the undead. You come back as another nameless agent, armed with only your starting weapon and stripped of all items (scrolls excluded) you previously collected. Reclaiming those items means killing the recently turned undead agent now under the control of Ahmanet. The kicker is that your fallen comrade won't go down easily as they will use your previously equipped weapons against you. No time for sympathy for your fallen agent, there's a mummy to kill.
When it comes to movie-based titles, The Mummy Demastered is right up there with some of the better adaptations. Sure, it might just be a Metroid-like title, but a good one at that. The game checks all the right boxes with good controls, varied level design, plenty of action, fun boss fights, and a steady difficulty climb. Add all that to the great 16-bit art style and quality animation WayForward is known for and you've got a game to get reanimated about. Playtime will vary between 4 to 6 hours, depending on how much a completionist you choose to be. Rather than being dead on arrival, The Mummy Demastered proves that good movie-based games can still exist.
+ Metroid with mummies
+ Great 16-bit style with a soundtrack that sets the mood
+ Challenging but not too unforgiving
- Enemy placement can lead to some unnecessary damage
- Knockback after taking damage feels a bit too much
Time played: 6 hours on PC
Available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC