Akmodan II (and other Mummies)

The Mummy is one of the most common enemy/bosses in the whoel Castlevania series. First appearing in the original title, Castlevania, he was one of many enemies based on monster featured in the classic Universal and Hammer horror films. He's aiconic, much like Frankie and, of course, Dracula.

After that first appearance, the Mummy has continued to show up, sometimes as a boss and other times as an enemy (and, occasionally, as both in a single title). He's cool, he's interesting, and he never talks. Of course, how could he? He has no tongue (as their tongues were removed during the mummification ceremony).

Of course, their inability to talk is also a limiting factor. Despite the number of games they've appeared in (12 and counting), the Mummy has never had a major scene (let alone storyline) in any of the games. He's somtimes given a name -- Akmodan II -- but he never really got his full day in the sun. In that regard he shares a lot in common with Frankenstein's Creature, another beast that has appeared a lot in the series but never was given their proper due.

Anyone else feeling a Castlevania title dedicated to the Random Adventures of Frankie and Mummy?

Mummies and History:

Mummification is a process that can occur naturally or artificially and, essentially, boils down to the dessication of a body such that instead of it simply decomposing it, instead, dries out (due to a cool, dry atmosphere with low humidity). While this can occur for a number of reasons, the most famous mummies are certainly the intentially made ones of the ancient Egyptians.

The process of creating a mummy from a corpse became a key components of the acnient Egyptian religion. The process evolved over the centuries, of course, but at the height of the practice the whole process involved preserveing the body by first removing its internal organs, preserving a selection of them in canopic jars (while the brain was liquified via a rod shoved up into the cranium and then stirred around so it could drain out on its own since they didn't think the brain was good for anything). The body was than presevred via a blend of spices and palm wine, wrapped in bandages, and presevered. In most cases, for the nobility at least, a large funerary tomb was then built for the body, often with many goods places in the tomb with the preserved corpse for the soul of the departed to take with them into the afterlife.

The tombs eventually lead to the pyramids that are an iconic part of the Egyptian landscape. These pyramids don't traditionally show up in the Castlevania series (not with the frequency that the mummies themselves do), but they did feature as a level (and it's harder, mirrored duplicate) in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.

It is worth noting that while the mummifcations and entombment process did become quite ceremonial, with a number of prayers and spells said over the body during the process, the idea of a "mummy's curse" really wasn't really that prevalent -- the very idea of disturbing a tomb was unthinkable, those tombs be sacrosanct. Yes, a few tombs did have curses, with the tomb of Khentika Ikhekhi bearing the inscription, "As for all men who shall enter this my tomb... impure... there will be judgment... an end shall be made for him... I shall seize his neck like a bird... I shall cast the fear of myself into him." While this sounds like quite the curse it didn't really mean a mummy would rise from the dead and kill a grave robber. More likely it implied that (a) the scales of judgment would weigh poorly the soul of anyone who disturbed a tomb when that soul reached the afterlife and (b) that if the soul did make it into the afterlife, Khentika Ikhekhi would have some words for him when they met there.

Fighting Against the Mummies:

In their original appearance in Castlevania two mummies will show up, one at each end of their boss chamber. They will walk back and forth, occasionally throwing a bandage as a projectile, and sometime scrossing in front of each other. There are blocks Simon can jump up to and ride out the Mummies, as needed, so all you have to do is avoid direct contact and the bandages. As with all the bosses in the game, if you have holy water this battle is cake. It's also worth noting that, due to the way the game was programmed, if you can attack them when the two mummies overlap, you'll cause a "critical hit" and their health will drain off quickly. Quite useful.

The mummies basically show up in the same battle in Vampire Killer, although their room has a slightly different layout. The trick of this fight is that bandages can go not only straight across but also slightly angled up or down, meaning SImon will have to move around to take them out and avoid damage. Also, sadly, there's no special critical hit so you have to wear these enemies down the old fashioned way.

Mummies appear twice in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, both times as part of combo battles (one time paried up with a cyclops chaser, the other time with a cyclops and then a demon). In both instances they act just like they did in the original games of the series, walking back and forth and throwing bandages. They have a decent amount of health and, in this combo fights, can be annoying wastes of time and health, making them quite a drag in their two fights.

For Super Castlevania IV, the Mummy comes as a single fellow, Akmodan II. Here, on the face of the Clock Tower, Akmodan will teleport around the stage, to one of three places, and will then walk forward (if he can), throwing waves of either bandages or fireballs. He doesn't have much range, though, and most of his attacks can be easily dodged with judicious use of the stage layout. AKmodan, really, is a pushover.

In the next game, Castlevania Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, the Mummy is one part of another combo fight, here he's the third (preceded by Medusa and follows by Frankie), and he's gotten a bit of an upgrade. Yes, he will still slowly walk forward, but he can attack with either a long distance bandage punch, three summoned blocks that will travel across the screen and try to crush the hero, and a barrage of little bandages that will travel around the screen in a kind of bullet-hell pattern. Thankfully he doesn't have that much health so killing him off (and moving on to the next fight) isn't that bad.

Note that this is the same fight that's used in the remake, The Dracula X Chronicles, basically shot for shot. If anything, this part of the combo fight is easier as it feels like the summoned blocks move slower than before.

Akmodan II returned in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Here the undead pharoah appears as the boss of the Inverted Chapel. Once his coffin has unladed his corpse, he seems to attack similarly as before. He'll punch at the hero and also do his longer bandage punch. Things get different from there, though, as he can unleash a wave of poison gas that slowly travels across the screen. Plus, if you don't dodge his basic punches you'll find yourself grabbed by the mummy, spun around, and then thrown against the wall for a big hit of damage. WHile the fight is a fun, inventive little take on the basic battle, the boss (like so many others in the game) is frankly a joke and just as quickly as he appears, Akmodan will be gone.

By the time of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, the Mummy Man has learned a number of new tricks. Taking a page from Rondo, the dead man will summon bricks and hurl them at the heroes. He can also do the Rondo trick and make three big bricks that travel across the screen to crush the heroes. He can also summon a long bandage that will snake around the room, homing in on the player. This fight can seem long and drawn out, but if you decide to use the powerful spells and attacks you have by this point in the game, you can just tear through the Mummy, destroying as easy as in any other appearance he's had in the series.

Finally, for Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, we have the R. Mummy Man, and, uyes, just like in the original fight, you get them in pairs. They show up in the remade version of the classic castle in their exact same spot as before, and their battle is just as you expect, with them shambling around and throwing bandages. Of course, in Harmony of Despair your characters will be greatly overpowered by the time they get into the Retro Castle, so this version of the mummies simply won't stand a chance (especially if you're playing with friends).

Additional Appearances:

The mummies appear as enemies in a number of games, and most of the time they function basically as they did in the original title. Sometimes they can do a long punch, sometimes they can throw bandages, not usually both. But, in all instances, the enemy version doesn't have as much health as the boss form.

What's amusing are the instances where the Mummy shows up as both a boss and an enemy in the same game. This occured in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin with lesser mummies appearing in the two Pyramid stages, and then the boss, Mummy Man, appearing in the bonus dungeon ear of the game.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair pulls a similar trick, with enmy mummies (pulled from Portrait) for the pyramid stage of that game. Then you had the retro DLC included later in the release with the R. Mummy Men appearing in their normal placement in Dracula's retro castle from the first game.

The Mummy in Popular Culture:

As noted above, the Mummy is one of the classic villains of horror cinema, with the "curse" of a mummy often being the factor that raised the corpse from the dead. Universal's films were certainly the most popular of their era but they didn't create the concept in film. Robbing Cleopatra's Tomb from 1899 was a short silent film about resurrecting that dead old lady's corpse, and then you had a number of other silent films that played with the same concept.

Of course, it was Universal's The Mummy that launched the era of the monster in the "talky" era. That film was popular enough to lead to Hammer making their own version of the monster for their horror cinema adventures. Universal would later revisit the concept as well with the 1999 reboot series, and the later attempt at launching the Dark Universe with the 2017 film. And before Universal came back to the series, Hammer Films, too, took a crack at rebooting the monster (largely following Universal's template), with their own 1959 film of the same name.