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Literature / The Mummy Monster Game

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The Mummy Monster Game is a children's series by Australian author Roy Pond, originally published from 1993 to 1995, and in the U.S. from 1994 to 1996 (and reissued in e-book form in 2011-2012). It features twelve-year-old Josh Wilson, his eleven-year-old sister Amy and their ten-year-old cousin Harry as they encounter Egyptian computer games whose events are reflected in the real world as they're played.

The series consists of:

  • The Mummy Monster Game (published in the U.S. as The Mummy's Revenge): Harry visits Josh and Amy in Australia while his mother is away in Egypt on an archaeological dig, bringing with him "The Mummy Monster Game", in which the players must find the pieces of Osiris and reunite them.

  • The Mummy Tomb Hunt (published in the U.S. as The Mummy's Tomb): Harry, Josh and Amy accompany Harry's mother, Josh and Amy's Aunt Jillian, on a trip down the Nile as she seeks out a lost Egyptian tomb. Meanwhile, the trio play a handheld game, "The Mummy Tomb Hunt", based on a trip down the Nile and with its actions eerily reflecting their journey.

  • The Mummy Rescue Mission (published in the U.S. as The Mummy's Trap): Harry's mother Jillian has gone missing in Egypt, and he, Josh and Amy receive a mysterious new game — "The Mummy Rescue Mission", played in real time in which the players must rescue a woman archeologist who lies trapped inside an unknown tomb before seventy-two hours, and the archaeologist's air, run out... and the only way to save Jillian is to beat the game in time.

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The books in general contain examples of:

  • Big Bad: Seth, the Egyptian devil, whose actions kickstarted the events of the first game in the series and who later tampers with it to prevent Josh from retrieving his sister and cousin through the game.
  • Disappeared Dad: Josh and Amy's father walked out on them when they were younger.
  • The Game Come to Life: Roy Pond's "Mummy Monster Game" trilogy features computer or video games that do this in all three books.
    • The Mummy's Revenge / The Mummy Monster Game: The game revolves around finding the pieces of a mummy, each of which turns up in the real world as they're found. Scarab beetles, scorpions and mummy monsters turn up as well.
    • The Mummy's Tomb / The Mummy Tomb Hunt: The game revolves around solving clues that will ultimately lead to a real tomb.
    • The Mummy's Trap / The Mummy Rescue Mission: The game revolves around solving clues in order to rescue a female archaeologist. In both of the latter books, the action in the game is reflected in the real world.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Helen Wilson, Josh and Amy's mother, is somewhere between this and Struggling Single Mother. She spends more time focused on her work as an advertising executive than on her children, but always buys them whatever they want and manages to come home and have dinner with them almost every night.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Female variant in Amy, who's obsessed with having her mother notice her and acknowledge her achievements in school.

    The Mummy Monster Game / The Mummy's Revenge 

The Mummy Monster Game / The Mummy's Revenge contains examples of:

  • Agitated Item Stomping: After losing the chariot race for the second arm of Osiris, the pharaoh Rameses throws his crown on the ground and stomps on it.
  • Ancient Tomb: The game starts off in one, the tomb of Osiris, and the players later enter another where Osiris's head is being kept.
  • Angry, Angry Hippos: During the challenge for the final piece of Osiris's mummy, the first monster that tries to kill the player (mainly by trying to swamp the boat with waves) is the smooth back and rear legs of an enormous hippopotamus, which must be destroyed by striking it with the spear they've been given.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Inverted — "The Mummy Monster Game" comes with an early warning that the players can take breaks, or even shut the game off, in between challenges. The longer it takes to finish though, the more mummy monsters will be unleashed against the player, even into the real world. This is what prompts Harry to play solo while his cousins are at school, completing three challenges on his own.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: During the challenge for the final piece of Osiris's mummy, the player must defeat the third and last monster — the front legs and torso of an enormous lion, bigger than The Sphinx — by shooting an arrow at the dappled stain on its chest.
  • Bottomless Pits: In the pyramid where the body of Osiris is kept, a bottomless pit with a swinging rope over it must be passed to reach the chamber where the body is held. Later, Josh has to cross it in real life to reach the room where the final cell is located, and where Harry, Amy and Spy are being held captive. Unlike the game, they have to swing back over the pit in order to escape.
  • Chariot Race: The second arm of Osiris is won by completing a three-lap chariot race against the pharaoh Rameses, who is equipped with weapons (a bow and arrow, a spear and a sword) to ensure his victory. Fortunately, Josh is able to outrace him, and with Harry's advice, wins through a tactic Rameses didn't expect — ride to the finish on horseback, which the ancient Egyptians never would have done.
  • Competition Freak: Josh is rather obsessed with proving himself better than others at games in the first book. He grows out of it when he comes to realize that this attitude is a danger to them all.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Weird In-Universe version. When Josh wins the final challenge, Osiris's evil brother Seth hacks the game and makes it impossible for him to retrieve his lost companions through the program in retaliation for Osiris being revived, forcing Josh to find a real-life "house of eternity" that will let him enter the pyramid where they were lost.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: During the chariot race for the second arm of Osiris, the pharaoh Rameses has apparently ensured his victory by using his sword — his third weapon — to cut the reins on Josh's chariot, causing it to come to a halt. Then, rather than going on to win the final lap, he stops and comes back to kill Josh directly before going on to win. This costs him, as Josh evades the attack and pulls off an unexpected tactic to continue the race and make it across the finish line.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: "The Mummy Monster Game" revolves around restoring the mummy of Osiris, which has been divided into fourteen pieces — his feet, his legs, his arms, his head, his four internal organs (which are all kept together), his eye, his body, and the jeweled scarab that represents his heart. Upon winning, all fourteen pieces reassemble automatically.
  • Disney Villain Death: The crocodile-headed mummy monster that serves as the main antagonist in book 1 is chasing Josh, Amy, Harry and Spy, swinging over a bottomless pit, when the rope breaks and it falls to its death with a scream.
  • Extended Gameplay: After finding the last piece of Osiris's mummy, Josh learns that in order to retrieve his sister, cousin and cat (all of whom were lost in the course of playing the game), he must complete a final challenge in the real word — find a real life "house of eternity", or mummy's tomb, to reach "a dungeon in the pit of ever-lasting nothingness" where they're being held, guarded by a crocodile-headed mummy monster. He ends up having to go to the local museum, enter an area very similar to the pyramid where Osiris's body was kept, bypass scorpions and (if he tries to take the side tunnels) pharaoh phantoms, and make it to the trio's cell to break them out, then get them all back out the same way he came, including dealing with the scorpions and phantoms again.
  • Final Boss:
    • Ammit serves as this in the game, being divided into three parts which must be defeated in turn — the rear of a hippopotamus, the head of a crocodile, and the front legs and torso of a lion, each of which is destroyed by selecting the correct weapon (and in the lion's case, by aiming at the right spot). Beating them transports the player to the final screen, where Osiris is reassembled and resurrected.
    • The crocodile-headed mummy serves as this to the book as a whole, with Josh having to outwit him to rescue his sister, cousin and cat from their prison.
  • Finger-Licking Poison: Used as the answer to the challenge for the first arm of Osiris — identifying the murder weapon that killed a young princess. By poisoning the victim's eyeliner and then spilling it, the killer ensured the victim would lick their finger to wet the dried eyeliner, then lick it a second time to make it usable again, thus being poisoned by it.
  • Horse Archer: During the challenge for the second arm of Osiris (a chariot race), the pharaoh Rameses uses a bow and arrow as his first weapon to try and ensure his victory. Josh avoids them neatly. During the final stage of the race, when Josh gets far enough ahead that Rameses' other weapons can't reach him anymore, Rameses returns to the bow and arrows but again fails to hit his target.
  • Knows the Ropes: During the challenge for the final piece of Osiris's mummy, the player is provided with three weapons, including the sacred knot of Isis. Used as a lasso, it's able to defeat the second piece of the monster Ammit, an enormous crocodile head, by forcibly binding its mouth shut.
  • Living Statue: When the players find the canopic jars containing the organs of Osiris, they find that the heads on the four jars are actually alive, and will speak the riddle the players must solve in order to receive the organs.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: While all the pieces have a referee who provides them with the clues to beat that segment of the game, the best examples are the pharaoh Rameses, who has to be beaten in a Chariot Race to receive the second arm of Osiris, and the monster Ammit, who has to be beaten after the jeweled scarab representing Osiris's heart is retrieved.
  • The Maze: In order to retrieve the first leg of Osiris, the player must find their way through a maze, which is also occupied by mummified mice, one of which catches the attention of Amy's cat Spy and causes him to run off after it and get lost. The pyramid where the body of Osiris is kept is also a giant maze.
  • Mummy: Naturally. The best example is the crocodile-headed mummy monster, who chases after the characters when they seek the exit from the first chamber into the rest of the pyramid and later guards Harry, Amy and Spy's cell when Josh has to rescue them.
  • Mummy Wrap: Variant — while rescuing Amy, Harry and Spy, Josh uses this trope against a mummy when he ties the crocodile-headed mummy monster's bandages in such a way as to trip it up, buying them valuable time to get ahead.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The first main villain of the game, and the last one they face in real life, is a crocodile-headed mummy monster. A gigantic crocodile head is also the second monster that's faced in the final challenge.
  • No Name Given: The new kid in town, whom Josh meets on his skateboard a few times, is never identified by name.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never explained what Harry had to do to win back Osiris's eye in the game.
  • Our Sphinxes Are Different: In order to retrieve the second foot of Osiris, the player has to pick their way through a hall full of stone sphinxes on slabs, some of which are alive and will lash out at the player with their claws if they get too close.
  • Panthera Awesome: During the challenge for the final piece of Osiris's mummy, the third and final monster that tries to kill the player is the front legs and torso of an enormous lion, bigger than the Sphinx, which is initially mistaken for a cliffside due to its size.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Six passwords are required throughout the game to get past a guardian. The first, being the first challenge of the game, is easy to anyone who knows anything about Egyptian myth ("Who was the wife of Osiris?"), and the other five (the four sons of Horus, and the word "Pharaoh") are given throughout the game well before they're needed in the pyramid where Osiris's body is kept.
  • Race Against the Clock: While a specific time is not given, the game notes that the longer the player takes, the harder the challenges become, and the more monsters are released.
  • Riddle Me This: Three of the puzzles in "The Mummy Monster Game" involve solving a riddle to retrieve Osiris's missing part (his first foot, second leg and four internal organs). A riddle also provides the hints needed to defeat Ammit, the final monster of the game, who is faced after the player retrieves the jeweled scarab representing Osiris's heart.
  • Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times: Josh and Amy's cousin Harry has seen the horror film Blood From the Mummy's Tomb six times (not counting the time he watches it with his cousins in the book). His Egyptologist mother has apparently also watched it many times and thinks it's funny.
  • Scary Scorpions: During the quest for the body of Osiris, the characters encounter scorpions whose stinging tails can kill a character in one move unless they're jumped over. Josh later runs into them in the real life area when he goes to rescue Amy, Harry and Spy, but uses his skateboard to evade them.
  • Sequence Breaking: When Josh, Amy and Harry finish the challenge for the four internal organs, the game tells them Osiris's body is next. Yet the next day, Harry is somehow able to skip this and win back his eye instead by playing on his own, before resuming the quest for his body when Josh and Amy get home from school that day. How is never explained, and it has no consequences on later gameplay.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The story largely revolves around Josh undergoing character development, growing out of his obsession with always winning after realizing his attitude is a danger to himself and his family when they find themselves in an actual dangerous situation. It's also shown in his attitude towards the new kid in town — when they do an undeclared race, Josh doesn't care that the other boy fell off his skateboard. In the end, they meet up again, and Josh offers to just have a friendly skateboarding run alongside him.
  • Touch of Death: The quest for Osiris's body takes place in a pyramid full of pharaoh phantoms, ghostly mummies whose touch is instant death for the game character (or at least, it's claimed to be; they turn up alive in a prison cell elsewhere). They also show up in the real pyramid that Josh has to enter in order to rescue Harry and Amy from after beating the game.
  • Weakened by the Light: Pharaoh phantoms are outright killed by the lights that the players carry. Unfortunately, by this point in the game, their flashlight batteries just happen to be running low, making the game that much harder.

    The Mummy Tomb Hunt / The Mummy's Tomb 

The Mummy Tomb Hunt / The Mummy's Tomb contains examples of:

  • Red Herring: Literally; some of the riddles that must be solved in "The Mummy Tomb Hunt" game turn out to be red herrings towards the final game location, which is represented by a red fish appearing on the screen and blowing bubbles after the clue is solved. They can still provide extra clues for solving them though.
  • Riddle Me This: "The Mummy Tomb Hunt" game gives the players a riddle based on a real-life location; solving it can give the player a combination of the following rewards: narrow the search location, give the player a new clue, or unlock a mini-game that teaches them a skill they'll need later.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: After book 1 took place in Josh and Amy's home in Australia, the second has them going on a Nile cruise in Egypt with their cousin Harry and his mother.

    The Mummy Rescue Mission / The Mummy's Trap 

The Mummy Rescue Mission / The Mummy's Trap contains examples of:

  • Race Against the Clock: "The Mummy Rescue Mission" is a real-time game where the players have seventy-two hours to rescue a woman archeologist before her air runs out and she suffocates to death.