Written by: Mark Wright (from a story by Michael Kortes), Directed by John Ainsworth
In which Pharaoh Hakotep I (Tikaram) has partially risen from the dead as a mummy lord within his Sky Pyramid, and begins implementing his plan to conquer all Osirion, starting with the city of Wati. Will Ezren, Harsk, Merisiel and Valeros make it back to Wati in time to help defend the city? And even if they make it back there, how will they triumph against the might of Hakotep and his trusted generals, each within their own flying pyramids…?
Thankfully, The Slave Trenches of Hakotep is a return to form for the Pathfinder Legends, with more happening in its first ten minutes than in the entirety of the previous installment. Ramon Tikaram, making a welcome return to Big Finish (and playing his second character within Mummy’s Mask), excels at bringing Hakotep to unlife, instilling the mummified monarch with equal amounts of arrogance and vigor, despite his relative impotence throughout the tale.
Indeed, this reviewer can’t help noticing certain parallels between this story and the fifth installment of Rise of the Runelords (the previous Pathfinder Legends series from Big Finish). Like Runelord Karzoug, Hakotep is a powerful magic-user who has managed to return to present-day Golarion after millennia of magical slumber/death. The two despots share a penchant for geopolitical domination, grandiose speeches, booming maniacal laughter and a barely plausible tendency to sit back and amusedly observe their opponents’ efforts to defeat their plans rather than wiping these nuisances out once and for all. They’re also easily the most entertaining/compelling things about their storylines, even when they’re info-dumping to themselves or their still-dead spouse.
This story has a good mixture of dungeon crawls, battle action and problem-solving, with the four protagonists journeying to the Slave Trenches of Hakotep after helping save Wati from destruction by scenery-chewing General Isatemkhebet aboard her flying pyramid. At the Slave Trenches, they must follow precise instructions gleaned from the spirit of long-dead architect Chisisek in order to activate an ancient superweapon capable of bringing the Sky Pyramid of Hakotep crashing down to earth. But this monument to hubris bristles with traps and magical beings bound into service, such as an untrustworthy shaitan genie who longs for freedom yet must still honour his contract with Hakotep. This a place from which not everyone will emerge unscathed…
Verdict: An entertaining and engrossing return to form for the Pathfinder Legends. 8/10
John S. Hall