Video Game Review: Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

By Steven Seggerman

Originally released back in 2003 on just about everything you can think of. PS2, Xbox, PC, and the Gamecube, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy was given decent scores all around. Despite this, the game went completely under the radar for most people. Now it’s 2019, and it’s been ported once again. This time to the Nintendo Switch. It boasts an Interesting and colorful cast, unique puzzles and an amusing story, but does it stand the test of time?

Set in ancient Egypt, you will switch between playing as Sphinx, and well, the Cursed Mummy. Each has their unique skills and abilities, and they will have to work together if they want to defeat the evil Sett. Sphinx will, for the most part, take the combat role of the party. Whereas the Mummy, Tutankhamun, will handle all the puzzles. More often than not, the answer to these physical riddles requires the solver to be already dead. How lucky you are that Tut is now a member of the living dead. You will go out of your way to punish this poor guy to solve your problems. Charge his body with electricity, set him on fire, or even flatten him paper thin to get through to the next insanely deadly puzzle. It’s oddly convenient, yet hilarious at times.

The graphics were upscaled, but you can tell this game is 16 years old. When compared to the great platformers released around the same time, this game looks bland, blocky and boring, even in 2003. Environment textures are dull, and the world feels empty of character. The worst part is the character models; they look fantastic! The animation is fluid, and they feel full of heart. It’s the contradiction between the world and the characters that point out just how boring the background is. If everything were the same level of suck or success, then it would be forgivable. When one outshines the other, it becomes an obvious flaw.

The combat is clunky and aggravating at times. Puzzles are laid out in awkward ways that often have you backtracking, dragging them out unnecessarily, but by far the worst part of this game is the camera controls. I know this game is almost as ancient as the pyramids now, and it should probably be forgivable, but it shows the difference in time periods. Camera controls were something I used to complain about back in 2003, and to have to rant about it now brings me back in a very, very bad way. Audio goes hand in hand with the visuals. It was just there, nothing special. It existed.

This game itself is a puzzle, to be honest. It’s fun and interesting, sure, but extremely forgettable. When pitted up against the greats of the past, Sphinx barely made a dent, even in 2003. So why try and raise the dead? Perhaps it was to put a little more attention on a game that came and went entirely in the dark? If that’s true, it was too little too late. Had it dropped maybe 5 or 10 years ago, they could’ve worked their way up to a sequel by now, and possibly had a following eagerly awaiting its release. Now, it’s falling on a confused crowd who, justifiably, will most likely pass on this every day looking platformer. It’s an interesting, ugly, clunky game that I give four golden scarabs out of 10. Sometimes, the dead should just stay dead.

Rating: 4.0 out of 10.

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