PowerSlave, known as Exhumed in Europe is a classic sort of experience that takes place within the DOOM era of the first person shooter. What was distinct here is a sense of exploration as you would work in a somewhat linear, yet completely backtracking focused path. This essentially comes down to collecting new abilities in later parts of the game and then being able to head back to open new areas. That makes the progression come across as non-linear since you would be encouraged to go back in order to access special treats that will help your journey within past areas. It might not be something new now, but at the time this would have been a relatively unique inclusion. Another interesting aspect of PowerSlave was that it was available on both PC and consoles around the same time. It was an interesting type of game presenting the less common Egyptian setting and featuring a wide range of enemies to blast through across open yet linear world areas.
PowerSlave released in late 1996 on Sega Saturn and PC with the dates being about a month apart. The game was then available on Playstation a few month later in spring 1997. There are a number of smaller tweaks between the versions. The Sega Saturn version has an exclusive Death Tank mini game that can be unlocked by collecting the twenty three Team Dolls that are hidden throughout the game. It was published by Playmates Interactive Entertainment and developed by Lobotomy Software. There hasn't been much from the series since most likely being sidelined for quite awhile.
The story is set in an ancient Egyptian city of Karnak in the late 20th century. The city has been seized by an unknown force and a special unit is sent in to see what the situation is. On the way there the team's helicopter crashes having the player only barely make it into a desolate place. While in this city players will take on extraterrestrial insectoid beings known as the Kilmaat and their various minions. There are also some supernatural type creatures and many horrors within the brightened outdoors as well as within the darkened tombs. In the console versions players can work towards two distinct endings with one being rather bad and the other being defined as the good one.
For the most part PowerSlave holds up fairly well considering the time with some great looking smaller details. The sprites are well designed and the animations to a degree add some realism. The setting of the location was excellent, I enjoy ancient Egypt type scenarios and the mystical elements are typically not explored. The open progression was definitely something different and it had a nice pacing to it all. The music matched that being upbeat and intense as you'd hop along blasting any opponents in the way.
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