Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let’s Play Sphinx #6: The Mummy Formerly Known As Prince

            Well it’s been a while, hasn’t it reader(s)? I actually played this segment back before I even posted the last entry in this series, so given that historians have yet to uncover intelligible recordings from that era I think we could all use a refresher on what the heck is happening. Sphinx had recently discovered from Mojo Monkey Man that via a magical artifact, they can temporarily revive the dead prince and have him scout out the enemies fortress. The Man of Monkey Magic then uses his powers to…give sentience to a basket, because that’s apparently the only way to transport items to and from the dead prince, via poorly explained teleportation magic. We can now return to our regularly scheduled Let’s Play that I’m sure my obedient legion of readers has been positively clamoring for.

Pictured: Obvious visual gag denoting inferior number of readers despite previous comments to the contrary

So when we cut to Castle Uruk, we pan over a room with entirely too many skulls. They’re filling the corners, in small piles, and absolutely crammed in the wall indentations (so much so it’s almost as if someone just stuck a texture of lots o skulls on a wall). I know this is a narrative trope, but how the hell would you get, like, an entire room full of just skulls yet not a proportionate amount of other body parts, anyway? Was this room the result of a mass genocide of the floating head people?

“I’m worried about my cousin visiting Egypt on his own.” “Relax, John, he’ll be fine.”

The basket named Bas-ket (yes really) is teleported into the room next to the body of the prince, now mummified. Even accepting that only this animate bag can enter the castle via teleportation I’m still not sure how the Magnificent Monkey Man knew exactly where to send him. It’s established he can’t really see inside the castle, as we’re getting the prince-mummy to do that for him. At any rate, Bas-ket uses the artifact to revive the prince and fills him in on the situation, after which you’re given control of the prince, who henceforth shall be known as the Mummy.

The Mummy climbs out of the room via a cage and proceeds to the next room. Here we have some hanging crates and platforms above that most questionably built of video game structures, the bottomless pit. How exactly does one get a hole of infinite depth installed, anyway? Let alone why? We proceed to utilize our mad platforming skillzorz across the room. The next room has us on a ledge in front of a giant laser. It is in fact, the same laser that leads up to the top of Castle Uruk for firing surprisingly survivable blasts at interlopers. After climbing up some moving ledges to the top of the pit, we’re treated to a brief scene.

Captain CNE is ranting at his guards to guard harder, because they need to protect the jewels they stole in Abydos. Keep in mind we still don’t have an explanation for why they stole those or need them. After the Captain stomps off and the scene ends, I sneak past an eye guard into a large, circular open room. Checking a side room I find a treasure chest, but when I try to open it I encounter a trap and am electrified. However, a nearby sarcophagus, who apparently can talk, mentions that it won’t harm me, being dead and all, and that I should try and use it to my advantage.

It’s a good thing corpses wrapped in rags hold electricity so well

Here we reach the main unique mechanic of the Mummy segments of the game. The Mummy, being already dead, cannot die. This means the various traps that would normally kill him instead imbue him with effects to solve puzzles. It’s actually fairly clever and these segments in general are usually fun to play (although this may make it harder to poke fun at).

There’s some shallow water in between the side room where I was electrocuted and the main room, which has a conspicuous orb that looks like it needs power. However, when I touch the water my electricity goes out, so I have to move some platforms to jump across before trying again. After jumping across the aforementioned platforms, I use my electrified state to activate the orb-switch, which reveals a jewel in the center of the room. As I grab it it’s revealed to be one of the Abydos jewels, and no I’m not going to forget that we still don’t have a reason those are here. Suddenly giant steel jaws enclose around me in a little circle as grabbing the jewel has sprung a trap! I’m then…fired out of a cannon to a higher door? I have no idea why this is a thing. I understand trapping thieves, but propelling them via cannon to a door that apparently no one can access otherwise seems to be an inefficient way of dealing with them, though I guess the impact might kill them were they not dead like me?

            The next room through the door has a floor that moves in and out of the wall, with a passage below where I can see a chest. I jump down to grab it but sadly the chest is a fake, and the walls flatten me. This turns me into Paper Mummy, and my 2 dimensional shape allows me to slip through some bars to get back to the big room where I started.

I can’t wait until the Mummy gets his own RPG spinoff series

            I go back through the moving floor hallway without falling down and move on to the next room. I enter the room at a second floor and can see some type of container on the opposite side. The bottom of the room is filled with shallow water at the bottom. I head down a ladder to find a lightning trap, and when I jump on some platforms above the shallow water while electrified it causes them to move up and down or to rotate. Using this and avoiding water, I activate electric switches on alcoves in both sides of the room, which activates a moving hanging…thingy I can hold to get across the room. When I open the container I find a Lunar Key inside.

            On the way back, I get flattened on purpose to get into another side room I noticed behind some bars earlier. There I open my first real treasure chest and get an exit key. When he gets it, the Mummy holds it up in the air Zelda style, and then makes a goofy thumbs up and voice mumble. I like the Mummy.

This image sums up why this is more fun to play yet harder to write about. It’s all puzzles and goofiness rather than serious stuff that I can poke holes in.

When I pull a nearby lever to exit the room (since I’m not flat anymore) it also opens up an altar in the main room. Walking up to it, I can take a Solar Key off of it. This causes the center of the room (that catapulted me before) to power down. I think I see where this is going. Predictably, using the Lunar Key on the altar causes a different path in the center to light up. When I walk to the center it catapults me to a different door. Now, this makes no practical sense at all, even slightly (who designed this security system?). On the other hand, it makes for interesting gameplay.

The next hallway is cool, because it has more lasers, which is always a plus. Those lasers are above some moving platforms, which are in turn above a pit. There are two outer blue lasers that trigger water to come up when touched and a center one that spews fire if touched. I get myself set on fire but avoid the water by crouching under the appropriate laser, which lets me burn a gate at the end of the hall to progress.

The next room is another big puzzle one. You have to move blocks to make it across shallow water and hit switches, opening up paths by rotating a central pillar to reach other switches you can only activate with flames.  Once they’re all activated, some well-timed wall sidling and jumps lead you to the Earth Key. I wonder what we could possibly use that for?

“Uh…we could maybe summon eagles with it…?”

I head back to the main room and catapult myself up to a new area using my recently acquired Earth Key, where I see a locked door behind a fence. I have the exit key already, but don’t know how to pass the fence, though the game hints that there’s a switch nearby. After wandering around a bit trying to figure things out, I check the side room where I was originally electrocuted and see a lever behind a wood fence. Bingo. I place the Lunar Key back on the altar and go set myself on fire like any reasonable person would. With the Mummy aflame, I avoid the various water hazards (apart from screwing up once) and make it back to the side room. I hide in the sarcophagus to avoid the electric trap, burn the fence and pull the lever, which makes the iron fence up top go down. Whew.

I yet again use the Earth Key to catapult myself to the door, which I unlock. There I find a treasure chest which the Mummy opens to find the Wings of Ibis. As he makes another goofy pose and jauntily strides away, he suddenly faints and his unconscious body is teleported back to the room where he started (side note, I can understand him fainting when he runs out of energy, but how the hell do you explain him warping back to his cell?). Seems our time with the Mummy is up for now. This is a shame because I was really enjoying it, yet also good because Sphinx is easier to make fun of.

The scene then transitions back to Sphinx in Heliopolis. Bas-ket the basket appears and coughs up the stolen jewel as well as the Wings of Ibis, which allows us to double jump. Mega Monkey Man explains that to revive the Prince again we’ll need to get another Canopic Jar as well as an artifact known as the Book of the Dead to figure out how to send the basket back there. The first one makes sense, but the second one is bullshit, pure and simple. How the hell could we send Bas-ket there the first time but not know how to do it the second!?

My Ancient Mystical Powers also won’t work unless you pick up my laundry and some smokes

At any rate, the Mad Monkey Man tells us that Anubis may know where the Book of the Dead is. Convenient that Anubis is the cause of the problems here, he knows how to get the thing we need, and the only way to reach him is by having a double jump from an artifact thousands of miles away secured for unkown reasons in an evil castle we just happened to have access to. No wait, not convenient, the other thing. Lazy.

            Next time (which will hopefully be under a millennia this time) we’ll double jump over to Horus and tell him and his high jump to suck it. Oh and probably deal with Anubis too.

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