Saturday, 18 May 2013

Curse of the Mummy playthrough

Written by Jonathan Green, artwork by Martin McKenna.

I guess that quite a few people want me to play this. I received two copies in the post, after all. One of which was from the author himself. This is always a nice thing, and I certainly could get used to it. I'd encourage other authors to maybe someday send me free copies of their books, so that I can read them and rate them on a score out of ten. I also accept bottles of wine as gifts, by the way.

I never actually played this adventure as a kid, mostly because mummy men are't really my type. No, really, it's a sore spot that definitely needs some bandaging. Nah, I'm not going to look a gift Horus in the mouth here... Okay, enough bad puns.

I had the chance to get this book in a shop when I was a kid, but chose Revenge of the Vampire instead, because at the time I didn't know that Revenge was as awful as it would be.

The only additional stat to take care of is poison. If it hits 18, you die. Simple enough. Must admit, by this point in the franchise we're all a bit tired of the more complicated, unnecessary additional stats, so a simple one like this is a breeze. We begin the adventure by washing up ashore from a shipwreck, which only goes to support my belief that undertaking ANY journey by water in one of these books is always, always doomed to horrible failure.

I find my way into a nearby merchant town and take a job as bodyguard to an archaeologist  who tells me that there is a particularly nasty old mummy in a tomb somewhere around. He intends to rob the tomb for all its worth, but a particularly nasty cult of villainous villains want to bring the mummy back to life, because they're gits like that.

No sooner have I taken the job, than a group of said cultists attack. Together we fight off the group, causing one to flee. I give chase, but he escapes when he sets a nearby giant black lion on me.Pausing for a moment to consider the health and safety ramifications of any merchant town that lets people carry around giant killer lions in easily-unlockable boxes that any villainous cultist could open and unleash on poor hapless adventurers.... Okay, done.

We head out into the desert, and make camp for the night, during which we are attacked by giant scorpions and the archaeologist is killed. This is the usual fate for any companions you make in Fighting Fantasy adventures. In some parts of Titan, they call you 'doombringer'.

Stumbling around in the desert, I find an old ruined amphitheater  where I meet a crazy old man who is convinced that he's an actor. He has a few items that he's willing to trade, no doubt for items that I could have picked up in the market earlier if I'd stuck around to do so, and no doubt very important key items for the plot. But without any, all I can do is wave him goodbye.

My next destination is to find an old shaman, purely because the archaeologist told me to check in with him. My path to him takes me through an old gorge, which the locals use to ambush travelers  Thankfully the actor warned me about this, so I'm able to avoid being attacked.

It isn't long before I find the shaman's hut, which is on top of a very nasty cliff. I attempt to climb said cliff, and only wind up in falling off the side of it, breaking a few ribs and bones along the way. Fortunately I survive, although I'm in some very bad shape.

I'm also slightly poisoned by this point, because I indulged in my habit of eating random plants I found lying on the ground. Oh well. I chew down on some provisions and decide to head onwards anyway, without any real clue which direction to travel in.

That night, I'm attacked by a nandibear, a creature I've not seen in quite a few FF books, and it manages to deal quite a bit of damage to me before I kill it. I find a cultist's ring in its cave, and shortly thereafter I find an explorer's journal in another cave, this time belonging to a giant lizard which I've also killed. Y'know, I really should have kept a list of how many things I've murdered during all of these books, it must number in the thousands by now.

Without anything to light a fire with, I'm forced to spend a night shivering for warmth, just like I'm needing to do in this new flat here in Leeds. Bleh. The next morning, however, I reach the valley of the kings. Heading right along into the ruins, I find a large map of the area carved onto an old wall. I expect that it will guide me to the mummy's treasure, or at very least, to the lost arc.

But without any way to decipher the map, I've no idea where to start looking for the entrance to the tomb. So my adventure ends here. I suspect I'd have fared better had I got a few items from the market, traded them with the actor, and actually managed to speak with the shaman, who I expect was meant to tell me how to use the map. That's just my guess, though. It's a fair ending, for a first playthrough.

I'd like to play this again, mostly because I really don't think I got very far. And partly because I think that I know what I'd need to do in order to succeed, which is something that a lot of the FF books tend to lack - a feeling that you can win if you play again and do this, this, and this differently.

The structure of this book is nicely different from the usual 'go kill the evil wizard' type, instead giving you more the feeling that you're exploring a new region of Titan with a new history to it. In short, it's a first-rate book, clear to see why it earned a wizard reprint, and I'd have much preferred it instead of Revenge of the Vampire.

As I'm sure people noticed, I didn't get a chance to upload a blog post last week. All I can say is that I'm very sorry. Sometimes I wish real life was less complicated. I'm currently in Leeds, where I will remain until the end of this month. Following which, I'm heading back to Portsmouth, where I will be seeking new employment. I have decided that this relocation simply isn't working out and, although Leeds is a nice enough city, it'll never truly be a 'home' to me. But because of this, upcoming playthroughs may be more sporadic than I'd hope. Please accept my apologies for this.

Anyway, the hardest part of the collecting is now behind me. With the help of many of my readers, I've been able to pick up almost the entire series, with only ten or so still outstanding. Look forward to those in the next few months. I'll see you then, folks!


  1. Considering how many FF books you've already played, I can't believed you chose to skip the chance at going shopping in the markets at the first opportunity in this book. These books almost ALWAYS has a shopping list you need to complete. :P

    1. Must admit, I was keen to get right into the adventure itself. Still definitely got a good taste for it.

  2. As an exile from southern climes stuck in Leeds I wish you all the best on your return home!

    In the words of Bob Crosby (courtesy of Fallout 3):

    Don’t know why I left the homestead
    I really must confess
    I’m a weary exile
    Singing my song of loneliness...

    I'm a big FF fan and loved your irreverent take on 'Curse of the Mummy' so I'm signing up for some more thank you very much.

  3. Deciphering the map is actually quite daft. On the map are 2 columns and an oasis in the shape of a zero.From this i deduced the number 20 and lo and behold ref 20 is indeed correct. It is also accompanied by a picture of a veiled individual with a swarm of wasps shaped like a single giant wasp.There are no clues at all as how to solve this rather silly map, its simply pot-luck.Apart from this the rest of the book is very good so i hope you attempt to play it again and give us all a detailed play through.

    1. There is a correct way to calculate the page number, you need to collect the scroll from Cranno, take it to the shaman, who will tell you who to interpret hieroglyphics. When you get to the map, interpret them to get a detailed account of the entombment of the mummy. This will explain the distance used on the map, what all the significant icons on the map mean, and enable you to locate the exact position on the map of both the temple you are in and the tomb, thus enabling you to calculate the distance which is indeed 20 km.
      Nick Bagnall.

  4. For some reason I seem to recall solving the map quite easily, though the future puzzles after it are much harder.

  5. I'm rather new to your blogs but they always make me laugh! I've not played this one yet but I'm looking forward to it as it's not one I had as a kid.
    I have most of these books now apart from 3 of them and they bring back great memories