Reviews, XboxJoel Szerlip

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

Reviews, XboxJoel Szerlip

Overview

THQ has so many titles, and very few of them are anything out of the ordinary, usually just titles based of big licenses. Well now we have one of the exceptions to that and it actually has gotten some pretty big hype surrounding it, looking like it may be a Zelda type game that many thought would be a winner. Now it’s been released and most of the hype has been answered in the action adventure title Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy for the Xbox.

Gameplay

Sphinx is one of those games that on paper people just look at and would probably not be impressed at all. But with all the screenshots and publicity surrounding the game we saw that it had a striking resemblance to Zelda and with all the Zelda fans out their craving more action adventure fun, this was a perfect time to release Sphinx.

The game is set in Egypt where you are presented in the setting of pyramids and the typical ancient Egypt type atmosphere. You play as Sphinx a half man half lion who a little ways down the road meets up with Tut (short for Tutankhamen) a young prince who was accidentally turned into a mummy. The unlikely duo comes together to form a somewhat comedic team that is ready to face the world and defeat evil.

Right from the get go you will see plenty of resemblances between Zelda and Sphinx and you can see Eurocom taking quite a bit of notes from the award winning series. Sphinx takes a lot of the free roaming qualities found in Zelda and does some nice things with it but doesn’t truly capture the same open feeling that Zelda has shown in the past. Also similar to Zelda you start with next to nothing and as you progress throughout the game you gain more and more skills and your abilities become more and more exciting.

This does pose a problem though; Sphinx is one of those games that really take a while to truly get going. Like I mentioned you start with nearly nothing in both Gameplay and in actual weaponry aspects. The Gameplay is very broad and lacks any challenge at all. It really takes some patience to get through the first hour or so, but if you can get through that the game will reward you with much more compelling and exciting Gameplay, but unfortunately you will have to struggle through it for an hour.

What is really interesting about Sphinx is that you can switch between the two characters. For Sphinx he is more the guy who gets his hands dirty who gets in the action sequences. Sphinx carries a sword and a host of special abilities that will help you get through the levels. The mummy does more of the stealth work in the game and for that he doesn’t really have much weaponry except for the ability to go invisible which helps him work on his stealth.

Since most of my review has been comparing Sphinx to Zelda, I figure why stop now. The combat of Sphinx on paper looks like it would be a lot like Zelda and in some ways it is, but Sphinx just does not have the polished feel that Nintendo’s latest Zelda Wind Waker had. This is mainly due to the fact that Sphinx is left without a true lock on system which causes some camera issues which should have been done without. The combat isn’t awful but when you have the expectation of something above average Sphinx doesn’t come through.

I know a lot of this review has had a negative feel towards the game but in the end I believe I was just more disappointed then anything. This isn’t to say that Sphinx is a bad game because it is not even close to being bad. The Gameplay (after the first hour) really starts to heat up and becomes a lot of fun. The puzzles start to become more and more challenging and most will find that they are quite enjoyable.

Graphics

The one thing that Sphinx did really end up doing extremely well was become an excellent looking game. This is one portion of the review that it is not needed to compare the game to Zelda but the game is seriously a beautiful looking title.

When looking at Sphinx it is really hard to find anything bad to say about it graphically. The character models of Sphinx and the Mummy are just top notch, with plenty of detail, and beautiful coloring the two characters look excellent. The animation of the characters is very fluid; you can see a lot of detail placed into the animation which turns out to do wonders for the game. The one minor downside to the game are the environments which could have used a little bit more detail and variation. At times it feels as though you are going through the same type of environments over and over again which should have been avoided but wasn’t.

There are a few minor things to look down on in the game, but for the most part Sphinx is an excellent looking title. This is one of the better looking Xbox action adventure titles that very few will complain about.

Fun Factor

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy start off very slow and for that most people are going to look at Sphinx and just think it’s a boring game. If you give the game time you will find the fun that we were promised with the game. The game has some great action adventure elements that will be sure to impress most fans of this genre. The one downside is you will have to get through a tormenting first hour.

Overall

Sphinx and The Cursed Mummy was thought to be the next Zelda, and although this is no Zelda, the game is still quite good. It had a lot of promise and most of it came out in the game but there just isn’t the true polished feel like in Zelda to put it over the top. If you are looking for a new action adventure title for your Xbox I would definitely recommend Sphinx for at least a rental.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.