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Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is a third person action-adventure video game inspired by the mythology of Ancient Egypt for Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS and Nintendo Switch.

The game was developed by Eurocom and published by THQ. It was released on November 10, 2003 in North America, and on February 20, 2004 in the PAL region. A Korean version was released shortly after, on April 3, 2004[1]. A mobile version was released on August 19, 2004. A remastered version of the game was released worldwide for PC on November 10, 2017.[2] A physical Nintendo Switch version was released on January 29, 2019 by THQ Nordic.[3]

OverviewEdit

In Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, players control a young demi-god, Sphinx, and the undead mummy of Tutankhamen. The game starts with a simple quest to retrieve a legendary sword, but the plot soon progresses into disaster, and both Sphinx and the Mummy have a much greater task: defeat Set, the god of chaos.

Player charactersEdit

Sphinx and the Mummy

Sphinx and the Mummy

SphinxEdit

Main article: Sphinx

Sphinx is a lion-like demigod, and his role is one of a brave warrior who battles fearsome monsters and relies on raw power to complete tasks. His abilities are upgraded through the collection and use of magical artifacts, most of which are found within the game's linear quests and generally needed to progress through the game.

The MummyEdit

Main article: Tutankhamen

The Mummy is a fictional representation of the real Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and uses puzzle-solving and logical thinking to outwit his foes. Though he begins the game alive, he is shortly the victim of a ritual that extracts his "life force" into Canopic Vases and leaves him mummified. The Canopic Vases are gradually returned to him throughout the game by Sphinx, but his undead status means he can not only survive situations that would kill Sphinx, but also utilise the aftereffects, such as being on fire.

Plot Edit

The fictional version of Egypt in which the game is set is in a period of turmoil. Sphinx, one of the main protagonists, and his ally Horus are given the task of retrieving the Blade of Osiris, a legendary sword. They are taken to the land of Uruk by their master Imhotep, where they eventually find the Blade. Horus is attacked and supposedly killed by a deadly ray that protects the mysterious Castle of Uruk. Sphinx retrieves the Blade, but while trying to escape is also attacked by the ray. He is forced to travel to an unknown location through the use of a portal system.

Meanwhile, the young Prince Tutenkhamen of Luxor celebrates his birthday. It becomes apparent that something more mysterious than his birthday party is being planned, and his fiance, Nefertiti, has suspicions that she wants to discuss with him in private. His older brother, Akhenaten, captures him and has his adviser Menes perform a ritual that turns him into a mummy. Sphinx, having acquired the Shield of Osiris, arrives and interrupts the ritual, causing Tutenkhamen, Akhenaten and Menes to be teleported to the Castle of Uruk. Sphinx learns that fragments of Tutenkhamen's soul are stored in Canopic Vases, and takes on the task of collecting them to restore him to his former self. In the castle, Akhenaten gloats that the recent events were nothing but a minor setback. The player then learns that "Akhenaten" is in fact the chaos god Set in disguise, and that the real Akhenaten had the same ritual performed on him as Tutenkhamen to allow Set to assume his form. However, because of Sphinx's actions in disrupting the ritual, he cannot disguise himself as Tutenkhamen.

Sphinx and Imhotep devise a plan to use events to their benefit: with Tutankhamen already inside the normally impenetrable Castle of Uruk, a single Canopic Vase is able to bring him to life for a short while, allowing him to sneak around the castle as nobody has ever done before. Imhotep creates Bas-Ket by animating a basket; as a magical object rather than a living being, he can get inside the castle to deliver the Vases to the Mummy. Throughout the story, the Mummy exploits his undead status and thus inability to be killed to survive the traps and retrieve valuable items to aid Sphinx in his quest. In return, Sphinx finds more Canopic Vases over the course of the game and uses Bas-Ket to send them to his ally. The Mummy discovers that Horus - who has survived his ordeal at Uruk - is working for Set as a spy.

Sphinx finds a boatman who takes him to Heliopolis, and during his time there learns that the god Anubis has caused great suffering to the people of the land; most prominently, he cast those in the palace into stone statues. Sphinx's heroic nature appeals to Anubis, who gradually allows him to free the people from their curse. However, the tasks given to Sphinx become more dangerous over time. Anubis asks him to retrieve Sacred Crowns, immensely powerful and ancient artefacts.

The first crown to retrieve is the Sacred Crown of Abydos, a city barraged by various disasters and troubles (though not apparent at first, the chaos is the work of Set). Most recently, the Mayor falls very ill and the Crown almost falls into the hands of his traitorous aides. Sphinx is able to save him and in return is rewarded with the crown.

Each crown presents a greater challenge for Sphinx than the previous; he battles and defeats the fearsome Geb Queen for possession of the Sacred Crown of Uruk, and the Pharaoh of Heliopolis for the Crown of Heliopolis. As Sphinx proves his might to Anubis, the enigmatic god reveals that he cast the people of Heliopolis into stone to protect them from the darkness that will soon descend upon Egypt at the hands of Set.

The Mummy discovers the Sacred Crown of Set, the final crown, in the depths of the Castle of Uruk. He takes it and this greatly weakens the ray protecting the castle. Bas-Ket is able to escape with the crown, but Set catches the Mummy and paralyses him.

With all four Sacred Crowns, Anubis is able to summon Osiris, another god who reveals he and Set were once a single form named Ra. Set, however, became greedy and stole power from Osiris to take over Egypt. Osiris uses the last of his power to transport Sphinx past the defenses of the Castle of Uruk, where he challenges Set for the fate of all Egypt. Set takes on his true form; a huge monster with immense power, but Sphinx is able to defeat him. Set is not destroyed, however: Imhotep appears and tells Sphinx that this is not in his destiny. Instead, Osiris arrives and reunites with the weakened Set to form Ra once again. Ra gives the Mummy the last Canopic Vase, but in his excitement the Mummy tragically falls and breaks it. The game ends with a cliffhanger as Imhotep says there may be other ways to help Tutenkhamen regain his human form and that other worlds may hold his salvation.

DevelopmentEdit

Main article: Development timeline

The game was in development for around three years. TV commercials for the game showed Mummy speaking, though no voice acting was present in the final game beyond "grunt" tracks.

Cut contentEdit

Main article: Pre-release and unused content

Several features were cut from the final game, such as a winged lion form for Sphinx, and extended roles for non-player characters. There were two additional regions cut: Sakkara, a swamp/jungle region, and Akaria, an underwater level.

Mobile versionEdit

Main article: Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy Mobile

A mobile phone version of the game was released about a year after the official game's debut.

RemasterEdit

A PC port of the game was announced for release on Nov. 10, 2017, exactly 14 years after its original North American release date.

ReceptionEdit

Original releasesEdit

Sphinx was well received by much of the gaming community. IGN gave the game 8.5/10, calling it a "fun, challenging action-adventure serv[ing] up a semi-non-linear experience complete with huge worlds to explore, difficult and satisfying puzzles, entertaining weapon and item advancements".[4] It was praised by critics for its unique characters and compelling storyline.[5] The game's graphics were also highly praised for their quality.[4][5] However, some criticism was directed at the lack of voice-acting to coincide with the text-heavy dialogue.[5] Commercially, the game performed poorly, with "sluggish sales [...] across all systems".[6]

TriviaEdit

  • Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy was referenced in The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior: when Ari is talking about the Spear of Osiris on the boat, he says it has effect on Egyptian monsters "such as the winged scarab, sphinxes and cursed mummies".

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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