I rediscovered this Pacman derivative at the 2011 Replay Expo in Blackpool, review here if you are interested!
It took me back to my childhood when my friend had an Amstrad CPC, in the mid 80’s; I had a ZX Spectrum and we would visit each others houses taking our machines with us, to contrast and compare games from both. This was to see who could say they has the best conversion of each game.
It was Oh Mummy, which I didn’t own and didn’t come out on the Speccy until a few years later, which always caught my eye. It was one of those devilishly simple games, which could easily steal an hour or two of your life life away.
Created by Gem Software and released by Amsoft in 1984. Oh Mummy was usually released in a bundle with other Amsoft/Gem Software games of the time, which sometimes came with a newly purchased computer.
In Oh Mummy, you were an explorer/archeologist (who looked very similar to Mario!) looking for treasure in a pharaoh’s tomb and ultimately – the way out too! The level is split into 20 boxed walls with paths in between.
Where ever you tread in the level, you leave footprints and you have to draw a box of these footprints around a square wall to ‘open’ it. It could be treasure, it could be a key to the exit or the exit itself, or – it could be a mummy.
This is where the game gets tricky because the Mummy’s touch kills your character stone dead. The clever bit about the mummy was that they don’t just randomly shamble around the level (well not all of the time anyway), when they cross a set of your footprints they follow your trail attempting to sniff you out. I was always impressed with this early example of computer AI, even on an Amstrad.
You didn’t have to complete the level if you found the pharaoh’s tomb and then the key to the exit. You can also find a scroll which allows you to kill a mummy by running into them.
The game increases in difficulty as you progress. More mummies are present on the level from the start and more mummies waiting in the walls to be unlocked. The speed of the game increases aswell meaning you can’t help but run into a mummy as your keyboard skills go into overdrive.
I’m not sure how many levels this goes on for, but it was easily more than 10. I never finished it though, maybe it just went on forever speeding up until your Amstrad disappeared through a black hole into infinity.
The game was punctuated by that oh-so familiar Egyptian music called “The Streets of Cairo” which played on repeat, over-and-over again but could be turned off (thank god).
The gameplay was very repetitive, in the grand tradition of early 8 bit gaming; where the only difference is how many more mummies are coming after you.
But, it is a ‘good’ repetition in the same style as Tetris, where the uniformity of the levels add to the fun of the unknown, as you open each wall up. You don’t even have to open all of the walls if you are lucky and get the Pharaoh’s tomb and the exit key early on. So each level can be vastly different.
Due to its classic nature, Oh Mummy has resurfaced many times over the years on Spectrum, Atari, Amiga, PC freeware and more recently on IPhone OS. Which is praise indeed, for a previously forgotten Pacman derivative.
I found a really cool Java version of Oh Mummy, on this website gameswebfree.com which is fully playable.
If you want to go for the full experience, you’ll need an Amstrad emulator and then go on the hunt round the net for some Rom files.
Youtube Vid – courtesy of Firefly