In 1946, 13 years after the events of The Mummy Returns, adventurer Rick O'Connell and his wife have retired, and their son, Alex, has followed in their footsteps and become an explorer. Employed by an archaeology professor, Alex uncovers the tomb of Han, the first Emperor of China, believed to have been cursed by a witch in his pursuit of the secrets of immortality.
Meanwhile, bored in their retirement, the elder O'Connell's accept a request from the British Government to escort the Eye of Shangri-La back to China. However, they run into a paramilitary group that, believing the tyrannous Han is the only one who can bring true order to China, uses the Eye to release his curse and bring him back to life. The three O'Connells, accompanied by a mysterious woman called Lin, must find the true location of Shangri-La and end Han's rampage.
The first level of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor puts you in control of Alex as he uncovers Han's tomb. He is ambushed by hordes of mysterious warriors and along with his benefactor, Roger Wilson, has to fight his way out and take Han's body to Shanghai.
Gameplay consists of a mixture of combat, platforming and puzzles. As waves of enemies approach, the player can use quick, heavy and grab attacks to string together combinations. Later, enemies carry guns, and both Alex and Rick have their own arsenal, including handguns, shotguns, machine guns and grenades, to retaliate with. Switching between hand-to-hand and weapon-based combat is seamless, resulting in some frantic battles, especially later on when opponents are coming thick and fast.
The platforming sections resemble those in games like Prince of Persia and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and entail jumping across pits, hanging from narrow ledges and evading booby traps. Some of these sections have to be completed within a time limit in order to reach a closing door or to activate a certain switch.
The puzzles are particularly interesting, allowing the player to control their character's hands and manipulate switches using the left and right analog sticks. This control scheme is intuitive and makes for some taxing problems later on in the game where there are several levers and switches, all capable of moving in different directions.
Tying everything together is an action-packed plot, told through cut-scenes using the voices of the actors from the movie. The game's level design is also worthy of mention, covering forgotten tombs, the streets of Shanghai and even snow-covered Himalayan peaks.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is a non-stop action game that captures the spirit of the blockbuster from which it takes its name. Its varied combat system and original approach to puzzles are particularly impressive, and the diverse environments and twisting plot ensure it's a game you'll want to see through to the end.