Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is an original 3rd person action-adventure video game inspired by the mythology of Ancient Egypt for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube consoles. The game was developed by Eurocom and published by THQ. It was released on November 15, 2003.
In Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy, you play the role of the demi-god, Sphinx, and the undead corpse of Tutankhamen. The game starts with the player controlling Sphinx on a simple mission: Retrieve the Blade of Osiris, and return to your master, Imhotep. However, the plot soon progresses into disaster, and both Sphinx and the mummy are sent on a much greater quest. While on the adventure, players will need to obtain many items to complete the many challenges in the game to defeat Set.
Sphinx is the primary hero of this game as you spend most of your time playing as him, however, very little of his past actions, family or history is revealed within the game. As is stated above; this enigmatic character is an enthusiastic demi-god, though has a mostly human appearance, other than having a small tail. Sphinx is portrayed as relatively athletic, however, throughout the course of the game Sphinx's abilities will be upgraded through the collection and use of magical artifacts. Most of these magical artifacts are found within the linear missions and are generally needed to progress throughout the game. Sphinx is the apprentice of the character Imhotep, the character who sent you on your first mission as stated above. Throughout the game Sphinx receives assistance and instructions from a variety of non-playable characters to accomplish the main aims of the game, id est; retrieve the three lost magical crowns, restore the waning power of the god Osiris, and to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Ra.
The Mummy is the other, albeit unlikely, hero and the only other playable character in the game. The Mummy is revealed to be a fictional representation of Prince Tutankhamen of Luxor. Tutankhamen is the victim of an unnamed magical ritual which results in the almost instantaneous mummification and extraction of what appears to be his 'life force.' The energy depicted in one of the game's early cutscenes shows the energy leaving Tutankhamen's manacled body and entering several Canopic Vases. These vases constitute one of Sphinx's main objectives; he must collect and send the Canopic Vases to the Mummy via an enchanted basket- appropriately named Bas-Ket- so Tutankhamen can achieve various goals through stealth. The Mummy is described as young, inexperienced and naive within the self-proclaimed 'Instruction Manual.' Tutankhamen does not do much fighting; his character requires the player's use of logic and lateral thinking to solve puzzles. Being undead, the Mummy is able to endure a host of attacks as well as possessing several unique abilities. These abilities alter and present themselves in a way which will help the player to achieve the set goals.
Some times the mummy will be cut into three pieces by a set of cutters. This ability allows the Mummy to split into three separate entities and perform a variety of tasks. The player is then able to use each mummy in turn to achieve a singular goal. Switching between the three apparitions is done by using the 'Swap' tool found on the control display in the top right-hand corner of the screen. This ability is unique because as it has no Ability Bar denoting how long the ability can be sustained. Therefore, it can be assumed that the Mummy may remain split for the remainder of the mission.
At times the Mummy is caught in between crushing walls causing him to become paper-thin and slip through tight spaces. He can be blown by fans in this form. Ends after a certain amount of time.
When the Mummy is encased in flames, he will catch alight as well. While on fire, he runs as though in a state of panic. This ability then acts as a 'walking lighter' which allows the Mummy to burn flammable obstacles such as wooden fences. It also allows him to walk on lava and navigate safely through flames. This ability is 'doused' when the Mummy touches water. Ends after a certain amount of time.
This ability turns the Mummy into a walking conduit for electricity. In this state, both his running and his idle animation are jerky and imply that the electricity are causing his undead muscles to spasm. This can then be used to activate inoperable machinery and electrocute enemies. Like the fire ability, the electricity will disperse as soon as the Mummy touches water. Ends after a certain amount of time.
Once incinerated, this ability allows the Mummy to walk through corporeal objects. Thus the Mummy can walk through any obstacle, excluding boundary walls, unhindered. Ends after a certain amount of time.
Whenever Tutankhamen stands in front of special statues, he will be transformed into a skeletal bat. He can fly, but as he lacks legs in this form, this is his only mode of travel. Standing in front of similar statues can change him back. Ends after a certain amount of time.
At the beginning of the game, Sphinx's ally Horus, a fellow demi-god with the head of an eagle, is aiding Sphinx in his quest to retrieve the Blade of Osiris, but is shot at by the Eye of Ra tower and is thought to be killed. Sphinx acquires the Blade, along with a Mysterious Amulet, but upon attempting to return to Imhotep, the Eye fires at him, knocking him into a small room with just a portal and a locked door. As the door cannot be opened, Sphinx offers to Amulet to the portal, which the patron deity of the portal accepts, and is transported to a then-unknown location.
The setting changes and the Mummy, premortem, is introduced in his palace. It is his birthday and, while exploring the castle, it becomes apparent that his brother, Akhenaten, is plotting something. His girlfriend, Nefertiti, discovers a letter about the plot but says that she will tell him what it says in a more secret place. However, that time never comes, as Akhenaten and his advisor, Menes, perform a mysterious ritual that turns Tut into a mummy.
Sphinx teleports into what is quickly revealed to be Tut`s palace, and battles some skeleton warriors while acquiring the Shield of Osiris and another Amulet on the way to the room where Tut is being mummified. He disrupts the ritual, causing the Mummy and the Canopic vases to enter a portal to a then-unkown location. After defeating Akhenaten`s henchmen, Sphinx is given a Silver Ankh and Imhotep takes Nerfertiti with him to a safe place.
Using the Ankh, Sphinx teleports to a market town by the name of Abydos, and eventually finds a boatman who takes him to Heliopolis, his original intended destination.
During the game, Sphinx will have to go to the Great God of the undead, Anubis, for help. Anubis agrees to help, but always demands something in return. Anubis sends Sphinx on a quest to retrieve the three crowns of kings, The Sacred Crown of Abydos, The Sacred Crown of Uruk and The Sacred Crown of Heliopolis. Throughout the game, Sphinx will find Canopic Vases used to revive The Mummy temporarily. The Mummy will discover that Horus - who has survived his ordeal at Uruk - is working with Set and will also help a native Uruk. After The Mummy aids the Uruk, named Khenso, he passes out because his Canopic Vase energy runs out. Shortly after Sphinx retrieves The Sacred Crown of Heliopolis, Khenso and his friends give The Mummy a Canopic Vase in the hope that he will be able to deactivate The Eye Of Ra. The Mummy succeeds, and sends The Sacred Crown of Set, which was powering the Eye, to Sphinx but is then immobilized by Set. Sphinx, after defeating three of Set's loyal "lieutenants", challenges Set himself and wins the fight. Set is not destroyed, as Anubis explains: "Good cannot exist without Evil as Day cannot exist without Night". Osiris will then merge with Set and they will once again become Ra. Ra will offer The Mummy his last Canopic Vase, but in his excitement, The Mummy breaks it and part of his spirit flies away. Imhotep then comes forward and tells him that other worlds may hold his salvation. Despite the game's rather cliff-hanging ending, no sequel has yet been announced.
Sphinx was well received by much of the gaming community. It was praised by critics for its unique characters and deep, compelling storyline. The game's graphics were also highly praised for their high quality.
However, one common complaint of the game was the lack of voice-acting to coincide with the rather text-heavy dialogue.