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Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy


adamsappel
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As Big Daddy Bling Bling will no doubt attest, this game is a must buy, particularly since it has now dropped to $20 on all platforms. I'm about nine hours into the game and don't think I'm anywhere near finished, so on sheer gametime value alone it's a worthy purchase. I'll try and organize some impressions to post later. What say you, Big Daddy?

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I was going to pimp this game some but I wanted to get further into it. So far it's been great though. There are three areas that I think Sphinx does really well:

 

1. The graphics are bright, beautiful, and clean. Just put this in on a direct view HD set and it looks like a VRAM screenshot when you sit at a normal viewing distance. Huge environments are pushed at 60FPS. While a number of games do this now, the vast majority of them have hitches that take away from the immersion. The only time I've seen Sphinx drop is when it starts throwing out particle effects in cutscenes. It doesn't have bumpmapping or Halo resolution textures, but I still feel like the Xbox hardware was well utilized given that it's multiplatform. Absolute 60FPS combined with how bright and clean Sphinx is make it a fantastic looking game.

 

2. The music is also first class. It's Zelda-esque in tone with a decidedly middle eastern flavor. Whoever composed it is really good.

 

3. It has a platformer feel. Although I despise Wind Waker for many reasons, one of the main ones is that you can't jump. Sphinx controls very sharply and feels like a mix between a 3-D platformer and adventure game. There also isn't a rough transition from gameplay to combat as a result of locking on. You just run around and bash enemies with your sword, which swings satisfyingly.

 

 

This isn't a game I would have normally bought since the setting doesn't appeal to me. I'd much rather play a Zelda clone in a futuristic world, or realistic fantasy setting(ie: LOTR type world). However, the quality here was enough to win me over(actually the free mummy T-shirt won me over but the quality is keeping me playing). This is really the Metal Arms of the adventure genre. When my biggest complaint is a lack of voice acting, I know a game has done a lot of things right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This should make Mr. Bling Bling and adamsappel happy...

 

On Sunday afternoon, I picked up two games at the local Gamestop, and one of them was Spinx and the Cursed Mummy. I would post some impressions of the game, but I haven't played it at all yet. You see, right now I'm busy playing through the other game I bought, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. Once I get done with that, I will devote all my play time to ol' Sphinxy.

 

Thanks again for the recommendation!

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This isn't a game I would have normally bought since the setting doesn't appeal to me.

 

How representative of the game is the demo (if you know)? The playable demo disk of this really turned me off it - obtuse puzzles, dumb jumps and just a general "sloppiness" in the design that didn't click with me at all. I didn't mind the mummy section, but hated the platforming part. I'd be interested to know how it compared to the full game.

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Jeff, Sly Cooper is an excellent game itself, one of the handful I've finished. Enjoy.

 

Brian, I didn't play the Sphinx demo, but the mummy sections definitely offer the superior gameplay. Since you don't "die" as the mummy, the puzzles and platforms are a bit more inventive. However, I might not be the best judge of good or bad platform design. I tend to enter a room and notice, "Hey, that ledge sticks out farther than the others," and then spend an hour running around trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do. I quite enjoy the game, though, and the mini-games and creature collecting (not unlike the photographing in BG&E) are a nice diversion.

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I haven't got to the mummy part of the game yet, but the short time I played the other day turned me off quite a bit. The graphics are nice, but the animation on Sphinx is rather awful. The normal running is OK (sorta) but when climbing a wall he swings around like a monkey, and while carrying a rock he completely prances.

 

The storyline seems stupid, your partner/rival at the start of the game is a complete cliche and I they could have at least done something in terms of sound for when they talk.

 

I think having just finished POP recently has probably jaded me a bit though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I've been playing this game for the last few days and have clocked in a total playtime of just over 10 hours. No, I have not completed the game yet, and I don't think I will at this point. There are two reasons for this. First, there are a number of significant titles on my To Buy list either available now or coming in the next few weeks, including Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, and above all else, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. With three AAA titles coming out in such a short timeframe, I'm afraid that a game like Sphinx is just going to fall by the wayside.

 

Secondly, I must admit that Sphinx as a whole has been a mixed bag for me. Yes, there is a lot to like about this game, but there are many other oversights that irritate me enough to quit playing, the least of which is the lack of voice acting. As an avid Zelda fan, I never thought that this would bother me so much. Yet, after playing so many recent games with respectable voice performances, I've come to appreciate the way it can draw me into the world of the game, endearing me to the story and characters. The lack of voice acting in this game is very noticeable simply because the characters all perform as if they were speaking the words.

 

Another problem I had was with the combat system. It baffles me that Eurocom could make a game like this and forget to include a lock-on targeting system. After playing The Wind Waker, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the fighting in this game feels awkward and unrefined. There's no strategy to Sphinx's attacks; it's just a matter of running around and waiting for the bad guy to open up to a few blows. Couple that with the need to constantly adjust the camera to keep the enemy in sight and you have a headache in the making.

 

My biggest gripe, however, and the specific reason I quit playing had to do with the save points, or lack thereof. In short, when you die, you return to your last save point. This wouldn't be a problem for me *if* there were more of them throughout the levels. Alas, they sparsely populate the game and if you die, all the progress you made since the last time you saved will be lost. And since the worlds in this game are quite big and many of the tasks you face can be time-consuming, it's not unusual to lose 20 to 30 minutes worth of work and be expected to do it all over again. Why couldn't Eurocom have included checkpoints throughout the levels so that players wouldn't have to endure the monotony of replaying the same parts over and over again?

 

Still, there are many good things to be said about the game. The graphics are quite pretty, with excellent character models, wide-open environments, and a nearly unstoppable frame-rate of 60 fps. My only complaint here is that a lot of the landscape textures can appear a bit fuzzy up close. With so much going for it though, I would be lying if I said that this is an ugly game ? far from it. The music is also quite memorable and sounds great on my home theater rig.

 

Finally, there are the Mummy levels. These are, by far, my favorite parts of Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. It's obvious to me that they served as Eurocom's inspiration for making this game, which makes me wonder why they even bothered with the inferior Sphinx sections at all. What I like about them is their tighter focus and more inventive gameplay. Whereas the Sphinx's sections feel more like a cheap knock-off of the Zelda series with large, open levels in which players can go anywhere and explore everything (given they have the right abilities), the Mummy levels take place within the confines of Uruk Palace. As such, there's less wondering around, trying to figure out where to go next.

 

Also, being already dead, the Mummy can take any kind of abuse imaginable, including setting himself on fire, being electrocuted, flattened, and even cut into three pieces. Naturally, these injuries come into play during the many puzzles he comes across. For instance, he may have to set himself on fire and walk up to a wooden gate to burn it down. They could have made this title all about the Mummy and I would have enjoyed it. (And in case you're wondering, since the Mummy can't be killed, I would have instead included a Pikmin-esque time limit on how long he can stay awake and complete his tasks.)

 

Perhaps if I?m up for it, I?ll finish the game at a later date. Right now, I?m just going to put it away and enjoy some of those big titles I?ve been salivating for the last few months. Thanks again for the recommendation. At the very least, the purchase was worth it for those awesome Mummy levels. If we?re lucky, maybe we?ll see a Sphinx-less sequel called ?and the Cursed Mummy 2. :)

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  • 3 months later...

Thought I would chime in on this old thread since I managed to pick up a copy of this during the Great Best Buy Blow-Out of 2004, thanks to a kind forum-goer.

 

I'm only 3 hours into the game thus far, but I have to say that I a very, very pleased with it. This game would have been worth it at $20, let alone the $5 I paid (which is good because I got it and Gladius and I'm not sure if I'm all that taken with Gladius :P).

 

I dunno, I had no problem with Sphinx's animation at all, he's an Egyptian demigod so it makes sense that he's slightly animalistic, and the Sphinx IS part cat, so his lithe scampering doesn't annoy me.

 

I'm shocked that the lack of a target lock-on didn't drive me nuts, and I still wish there was an trigger to flip the view behind the back, but the manual camera is zippy fast to adjust so I don't notice it that much.

 

The Mummy is definitely quite awesome and does help illustrate that the Sphinx section is flat-out a Zelda clonage. However, it's good Zelda clonage and I've got to say I've been very pleasantly surprised. Having just come off Eurocom's Harry Potter title this is a very nice step up for them, I'm extremely pleased I got this.

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And Mark's respect for Sphinx plummets into the basement.

 

What in the FUCK is with this door glitch? I'm really glad I decided to play the game through without looking at a guide first now :evil:

 

Hello, save point before the door, play-test people, PLAY TEST!

 

So, yes, now I am going to be fucking forced to restart my entire game thanks to the idiocy of video game designers. Since this is not a PC title, no bug patch for me, yippee. I'm so righteously pissed over this, dammit, as I had otherwise been enjoying the game a LOT up to that point.

 

Now I'm not sure if I'm going to bother working all the way back to where I was or just move on to Metal Arms and maybe return to Sphinx later. :bang:

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Near as I can tell it's a (heh heh argh) GameCube exclusive.

 

In the second Uruk mission as the Mummy, there's a door you have to open to enter the next 'puzzle section' post-cut scene. There is a save statue right before that door. If you, heaven forfend, save your game, the door no longer works properly. I died in the next Sphinx section, having forgotten to save my game, and got screwed.

 

Sloppy, very sloppy.

 

Edit: Nope, it's in all three versions. :tu: It gets the thumb-up since misery looooves company :P.

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Sorry, Mark, I completely forgot about the door glitch. I'd heard about it beforehand, so I didn't save there. I never noticed another instance of it, though. I just finished the game, which took 21 hours. I played many of the mini-quests, but certainly not near all of them. The only knocks against the game for me were the lack of voice acting and some of the NPCs didn't seem to have anything to do with the story (I kept going back to those people thinking they'd eventually ask me for something, but never did). Overall, I really enjoyed the game, well worth my $20.

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  • 14 years later...

Did you guys know that this game is available on Nintendo Switch now? I was really surprised to see that. I figured this was -- at best -- a modestly successful B-tier game that would be forgotten and relegated to the dustbin of history. It's cool to see it brought back for modern hardware.

 

Just to follow up on my post back from March 4 (2004) I did eventually go back and finish the game after playing through Ninja Gaiden (twice!), Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. I even played Ico for the first time in the interim. I must have enjoyed the ending, because my feelings on Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy have warmed over time. I may even pick this up at some point and give it another play through.

 

Now, if we could only port I-Ninja, I would be even happier.

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