Sunday, 15 August 2010

Blast From the Past: Exhumed (Also known as Powerslave in other regions)

Originally released on the SEGA Saturn and PC in 1996 then the following year on the Playstation, Lobotomy Software’s Exhumed was a non-linear FPS set in Ancient Egypt, in the city of Karnak, during the late 20th century.

The plot is pretty straight forward as in the city has been seized by unknown forces, with a special crack team of hardened soldiers sent to the valley of Karnak to uncover the source of this trouble. However, on the journey there our heroes helicopter is shot down and he barely escapes. Taking on the role of our downed Special Forces member you are then sent in to the valley to save Karnak and the World from this ‘unstoppable evil’. Well, unstoppable if you’re not armed with some high powered weaponry. Soon you find yourself battling hordes of evil creatures including mummies, Anubis, scorpions and all kinds of Egyptian demonology related fiends and spirits. The player's course of action is directed by the spirit of King Ramses, whose mummy was exhumed from its tomb by these same evil creatures.

Clichéd, granted, but it’s in the gameplay that Exhumed really shined. Set somewhere between Doom and Duke Nukem, Exhumed was bright, bold and wonderfully rendered with some fantastic real time, dynamic lighting and SFX. Weapons felt meaty, (particularly the M-60 machine gun), and the chance to play with magical weapons such as the Cobra Staff, (where you unleash homing snake missiles), was a joy.

Throughout, the gameplay follows a standard first-person shooter formula; familiar elements from the genre, such as collecting keys to open doors in a level, are present. As the game progresses the player character picks up a number of artifacts which give him new abilities. Such abilities include being able to jump higher, levitate, breathe underwater, walk in lava, walk through force fields and jump further to reach previously inaccessible areas of the maps. In a similar fashion, there are a number of key symbols (Power, Time, War and Earth) that can open sealed doors in previously visited areas.

In the console versions, each map is connected together by a world-overview map connected by a central hub similar to Super Mario World thus allowing the player to return to any previous unlocked areas in levels already explored once certain artifacts have been found or by switches activated elsewhere in the game.

Exhumed is very hard to come by these days, but if you are lucky enough to stumble across a copy on either the Saturn, or more likely, the Playstation I strongly suggest you snap it up. You won’t regret it.

Note: In the vid, the person playing it isn't looking up, down and around. However, like in Duke Nukem you are able to look in any direction and aren't on a fixed camera like in iD softwares' original Doom.

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