The Scorpion King: The Rise of Akkadian
by Vivendi UIP
All too recently we looked at a game that was based on a film and was essentially a beat 'em up. Minority Report was in short, a pathetic effort that was already a forgettable game even before you get to the fact that it was unsubtitled. Well with The Scorpion King: The Rise of Akkadian we have what is in theory the same type of game but in practice it is all done so much better and as we'll find out later on it's a different story for deaf gamers this time too.
A spin off from the film The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion king features WWE superstar The Rock as the main character. The game is set before the events of the film and your character is the one that The Rock plays, Mathayus. The game shows the event of Mathayus enroute to becoming one of the deadly assassins, the Akkadians. It is rather apt that The Rock plays the main character because throughout the characters look, move and indeed fight like those in the WWE Smackdown! games.
The game begins in your home village and Mathayus is told he has to prove himself if he is to carry out his plans of becoming one of the Akkadians. This serves as a tutorial with each character you come across giving you the chance to learn new moves. It is at this point you'll notice something very refreshing indeed, the game is fully subtitled in wonderfully clear text to boot. Mathayus can punch, kick, perform grab attacks, do aerial attacks and special attacks. Mathayus' special attacks rely on stamina. If your stamina is depleted then the special attacks will not be possible. Mathayus can also block attacks. Without a shield a block will take half damage but when equipped with a shield, a block will resist all damage. Break out attacks can also be made whilst blocking which adds a nice twist to the fighting and enables you to defend without just taking all the punishment. A dash of RPG has also been added, Mathayus gains an increase in his endurance and strength as he becomes more experienced.
The main problem with The Scorpion King is that there is not enough variation in the gameplay and it all gets a bit simplistic and repetitive. You can't save a game anywhere you want and save pads have to be reached before you can save a game. You'll enter an area and will have to defeat all the enemies within that area before you're allowed to progress. Now if simple, but good nevertheless, beat 'em ups are your cup of tea then you'll be OK with The Scorpion King but for those who get bored with repetitive gameplay, their patience will soon begin to wear thin.
The Scorpion King looks OK. The character models animate slightly on the wooden side. The buildings you'll come across look a little bit too angular for my liking, but in fairness they don't look bad and you could hardly class it as a fault of the game. Crucially for a beat 'em up there is no slowdown even when Mathayus is up to his eyeballs in enemies.
In essence then if beat 'em ups are your thing and you don't mind the combat being a little simple, then you'll enjoy The Scorpion King. It does get repetitive but when you look at titles such as Minority Report you begin to appreciate that The Scorpion King is actually quite good and it's great to see the whole game subtitled too.
Game Rating: 6.9/10