reviews\ Apr 21, 2002 at 8:00 pm

The Mummy Mystery

Young children are in for a silly adventure with The Mummy Mystery, featuring the well-loved Mercer Mayer book series The Little Monster. The Little Monster characters return to the computer screen for another mystery, this time centered around the disappearance of Professor Pickle from an archealogical dig in Egypt. Little Monster Private Eye and Detective Kerploppus have to find Professor Pickle and release him from the Tomb of Thankxfurnuthen. To do so, they must find five ancient Egyptian rings which will unlock the door to the tomb, and so enable the Professor to be freed.

As in any adventure game, players must travel to different locations, searching for clues and objects. Objects can be placed in the inventory for use later. Travel is accomplished by use of a map, which makes for less wandering around. Many of the locations and pharaohs have hilarious names, such as Pharoah Phaucett, Tootafroota and the above mentioned Tomb of Thanxfurnuthen. This same sense of fun pervades the entire game, from the comments of Private Eye and Kerploppus to the silly mini-games.

The gamepath is not linear and puzzles can be solved in any order, but the map keeps players from too much aimless wandering around in search of clues. Clicking on Private Eye and Kerploppus usually will elicit a helpful hint, too. If players are really stuck, they can refer to Professor Pickle's Journal, but unfortunately, this requires advanced reading skills beyond the reach of most five and six year olds.

The cartoonish drawings are true to the flavor of the books by Mercer Mayer, and are animated well. The locations are colorful and cute, but while there are many locations, the map makes the game world seem small, since there is no traveling between them. The adventure is easy to solve as there aren't very many objects to find, plus each object can only be used in its correct place, leaving guessing out of it. Most kids ages five-eight should have no problem solving the mystery, although they will need their parents' help in reading the journal, most likely.

This is a cute and fun adventure, but not quite as good as the previous Little Monster Private Eye game, The Smelly Mystery. Clickables are lacking, and while there are tons of mini-games (more than in The Smelly Mystery), most of them aren't that much fun to play, with the exception of the Buriel Chamber puzzle, where players have to click and drag the correct objects on the right to match the shapes on the left against a timer, and Mugs, which can either be played as a "match the Pharoah's face" game, or in free-play mode. It's hard to put a finger on the exact difference between the two, but it's there. Still, this adventure will please most youngsters, and the three different game paths help with replayability.

Gameplay: 7.5
A fun game that will provide entertainment for most children.

Graphics: 9
The game looks just like the books!

Sound:  8
The music is strongly reminiscent of the sort found on Scooby Do, with an Arabic flavor, and matches the game well.

Difficulty: 6
A cute game that is easy to solve, but not too easy - just right for the target age group of 4-7.

Concept: 7 
There are several adventure games that are similar to this on the market, but this one compares fairly well to the rest.

Overall: 7.7
A nicely done adventure for kids that could have benefited from more interesting mini-games and more clickables, but nevertheless delivers on most fronts.


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