Review: The Mummy Demastered
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
TMD truly shines with how much it is a love letter to the Metroidvania sub-genre.
It seems as though the reboot of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise has technically been successful. The film had a budget of $125 million dollars and has made over $400 million worldwide, which most likely means that Universal Pictures will be moving ahead with their plans for a “Dark Universe”, which aims to be a similar movie family to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now make no mistake, 2017’s The Mummy is a bad movie, and you might think this movie has absolutely no silver lining to it, but you’re wrong: there’s actually a brilliant video game tie-in from WayForward, the developers of the Shantae series, Double Dragon Neon and Ducktales Remastered.
I know, I’m as shocked you are, loyal reader! Just like most WayForward games, however, The Mummy Demastered kicks thorough ass.
The game revisits multiple locations from the movie its based on, but players will not be assuming the role of Tom Cruise’s character, Nick Morton. Instead, they will play as a soldier (or soldiers) of Prodigium, the organisation that “recognises, contains, examines and destroys evil.” Guided by Dr. Henry Jekyll (played by Russell Crowe in the movie), they’ll pursue Princess Ahmanet through ancient ruins, underground subway systems, London, the Prodigium facility, and more.
The Mummy Demastered is a Metroidvania game through and through. An retro-inspired 2D action platformer, it tasks players with exploring a labyrinthine map, earning upgrades to allow them to explore further. There are monsters that range from giant rats and bats, to hordes of the undead and other supernatural baddies. And of course, what Metroidvania game would be complete without immense bosses to battle?
There is one area in particular where the game shakes up the Metroidvania formula, though it is little more than an exercise in frustration. When you die, you control a successor agent of Prodigium, and have to recover your gear from your previously-controlled character. The AI retains all of your previously hard-earned equipment while you only have the starting carbine weapon. The odds are that you’ll defeat them, but it can be a tedious pain in the butt each time.
TMD truly shines with how much it feels like a love letter to the Metroidvania sub-genre. The pacing of the game is spot-on, minor enemies chip away at your health and bosses can truly dominate a player who doesn’t learn their behavioural pattern. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous in a perfectly old school way, and the soundtrack from Chiptune/Synthwave artist Monomer is literally perfect.
My only gripe with the game is that there is only so much that WayForward can do with this license and movie, so enemy and level design suffers as a result. You will shoot countless rats in countless underground caverns, though this truly is a minor complaint given how brilliant the rest of the experience is.
The Mummy Demastered is way better than it has any right to be, and is easily one of the best retro games this year. If Universal are continuing with the Dark Universe on film, then they sure as hell better get WayForward to make retro games to tie in with the rest of the remaining movies.