MUMMY: Tomb of the Pharaoh

MUMMY is an interactive adventure game which combines Egyptian mythology with a modern day mystery set in the Alexandria, Egypt mining camp of the National Mining Corporation.

MUMMY was designed by Amazing Media and is published byInterplay Productions. MUMMY's list price is $49.95, and is available in both PC and Mac formats. The PC format w as reviewed.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS AND INSTALLATION

The PC version which was reviewed consists of a CD ROM and operates on IBM, Tandy and 100% compatibles running MS-DOS 5.0 with Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. MUMMY requires a system with a minimum 486/33 (486/50 or higher is recommended), 8MB RAM minimum with 560K base memory free, 22MB hard disk space, double-speed CD ROM, QuickTime 2.1.1 required and included, MPC2-compliant sound card, 100% Microsoft compatible mouse.

I installed MUMMY on a 486/66 MHz PC running Microsoft Windows 3.1 with a 8x CD ROM and 16MB of memory. My system has a 16 bit soundblaster. I already had Quick Time installed, so I did not download it from MUMMY.

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CONTENTS

MUMMY is an interactive adventure game set in modern Egypt, with ominous undertones of ancient Egyptian mythology. The player assumes the role of Michael Cameron, a facilitator for NMC. As the game begins, Cameron is told he is to travel to Egypt to investigate problems at the company mining site in Alexandria. Mysterious events have upset operations, and NMC wants Cameron to determine the cause and get the mine running again.

Cameron is told to contact Stuart Davenport upon arrival at the camp. Davenport is played by well-known actor Malcolm McDowell. Cameron is also instructed to contact several other individuals at the camp, all portrayed by professional actors.

As Cameron carries out his assignment he realizes that Davenport is hiding something, and that there are sinister aspects to the troubles experienced at this NMC site. Cameron discovers clues as he explores the camp and talks with individuals. He als o picks up useful objects and stows them in his backpack for future use. Cameron's search eventually leads him further and further into danger and into the ancient mysteries of the Mummy's tomb.

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ACCOMPANYING MATERIALS

MUMMY comes with a game manual which contains a "game playing example" for inexperienced adventure game players and a map of the mining camp and the mine. The game playing example serves as a brief walk through the early stages of the game, showing no vice players several tricks and ways to proceed. As a novice player I found the example very useful, and it added to my enjoyment of the game. I was able to quickly learn how to move about in the game, what sorts of clues to look for, and what kinds of objects to seek for my backpack. Several audio and video clips were a part of the example, showing me how those features fit into overall game play.

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PURPOSE AND TARGET AUDIENCE

The publisher markets MUMMY as entertainment, and it fulfills that purpose. Any educational benefits are a function of the game itself rather than a deliberate attempt to offer an educational program. MUMMY certainly requires problem-solving skills, thought, and use of logic and inference. The publisher lists the target audience as ages twelve and older. The game is challenging enough for the target audience without being so difficult as to be frustrating. Selectors should know that many of the au dio segments contain profanity.

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SPECIAL FEATURES

The graphics for MUMMY are very good. They are clear and realistically drawn. The player proceeds through the game by following a hand which points in the direction the player chooses to go, and turns into a fist to pick up and manipulate objects. T he perspective is first person, and one gets a sense of entering and leaving buildings, opening doors, and walking down roads.

Background music is appropriately eerie, as are the many sound effects which contribute to the fun. The audio clips hint at the significance of certain objects or clues. Video clips are excellent. Davenport, excellently portrayed by McDowell is the star of the game. One never knows when he will pop up, and one quickly gets the sense that he is Cameron's enemy.

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NAVIGATION AND INTERFACE

The interface contributes to ease of use by its consistency. I found that I could easily navigate around the game assisted by the pointer, game features and clues, and by the maps in the manual. Music and sound effects also provide clues which the p layer quickly realizes as the game progresses.

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CONCLUSIONS

The main strength of MUMMY is the game design. The underlying premise, the setting, and the game play all contribute to the enjoyment. MUMMY is enhanced by its music and sound effects, graphics, and video clips. Malcolm McDowell offers a chilling po rtrait of Davenport, and the supporting actors are similarly convincing. The only weakness I see in MUMMY is the inclusion of profanity in many audio clips. This factor alone might keep MUMMY out of settings such as schools.

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OTHER REVIEWS

Interplay features MUMMY on its webpage. Other reviews which appear on the Web include one by Kajtryna Hanson, a review in Online Gaming Review, and a review by Game Revolution.

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REVIEWER

MUMMY was reviewed by Cathy Ormsby ormsby@stic.net, a student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas at Austin. I was formerly a Youth Services Librarian II with the Loveland Public Library in Loveland, Colorado (1990-1996). I hold a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado (1990).

MUMMY was reviewed on February 10, 1997.

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