Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

December 27, 2005

I do want to say from the beginning that [i]Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy[/i] (henceforth, known as [i]Sphinx[/i]) was not a bad game. It wasn’t a great game either, and I think that was the problem.

From a technical standpoint, [i]Sphinx[/i] was solid. Graphically, it was acceptable for a 3D platformer (again, not great, but not bad). The controls were good, and did exactly what the game needed to do. The story was adequate for a platforming title, but that’s about it. Sphinx is quite likely the king of mediocrity in the gaming world. Not great, and not bad.

As mentioned, I could only tolerate two hours or so of this game, and it’s not because it was bad. The problem, once again, is just that it’s not great. I’ve played some excellent platformers like [i]Sly Cooper[/i], [i]Ratchet and Clank[/i], [i]Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,[/i] and even [i]Mario Sunshine[/i] prior to this game. These games are excellent platforming titles, and having played them first was likely the primary reason I just couldn’t get into [i]Sphinx[/i].

The swordplay in the game could have been a bit more fluid. It was rather button-mashy, and after [i]Sands of Time[/i], having a swordfight with a little finesse is almost expected by me. Even if the swordplay was great though, enemies were few and far between, and for a while, you just throw rocks at them that you found on the ground.

Another problem the game had was with the voice acting. No, it wasn’t bad. It was non-existent. The characters’ lips moved with text on the screen, but that was it. All these other platformers (barring [i]Mario Sunshine[/i]) had some excellent voice acting that was very appropriate for the games. [i]Sphinx[/i] however was following the expression “It’s better to be silent and thought an idiot than to speak and remove all doubt.” The trouble is, I would have taken bad voice acting over nothing in this game.

I really wanted to like this game. It looked like it would be really fun. The puzzles were well thought out and required the use of your brain, but they were not frustrating. Overall the game could have been great, but it just feels like it wasn’t polished enough. Had it been a launch title this generation, it would have gone over much better. The trouble though is that there have been many far superior platforming titles on all the major consoles and Sphinx just couldn’t compete.

The only saving grace to [i]Sphinx[/i] was that I found it for $10 in the bargain bin. For $10, could I really go wrong? Well, yes, in retrospect, I think I did. Still, if you have never played any of the other great platformers of this generation, then perhaps the mediocrity of [i]Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy[/i] will not bother you. If you, however, have played [i]Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time[/i] or [i]Sly Cooper[/i], you will be severely disappointed in just how average this game is.

Most games I can force myself to suffer through to the end, but nothing was going to change even if I put ten hours into this game. There wasn’t going to magically be any voice acting. The swordplay wasn’t going to magically rival [i]Prince of Persia’s[/i], and the graphics weren’t going to magically be the best out there halfway through the game. This title truly is the king of mediocrity. It’s really not a bad game, but it’s not great either. After having been spoiled by greatness, mediocrity is now below me. I’m better than that.

Score: 1/5

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