Also known as “PowerSlave” in some regions, Exhumed is an Egyptian-themed first-person shoot ’em up with survival horror overtones and it is arguably the best first-person shooter on the Sega Saturn. It was developed by Lobotomy Software and first released in 1996.
Movement is fast and the gameplay is simple, and the way the camera tilts as you turn gives the game a nice dynamic feel. Holding down the ‘look’ button allows you to move the view up and down, and pressing it twice resets the view to straight ahead. The L and R buttons allow you to sidestep left and right; you can jump (surprisingly far too), select weapons up and down, and use an ‘action’ button for opening doors and throwing switches. On the information panel at the bottom the blue bar shows weapon ammo levels and the red bar is your health; in the centre is a compass showing direction.
The game gives you a variety of weapons: a default sword, a pistol, an M-60 machine gun, and more, and dares you to come at it with all you’ve got. Enemies explode into gibs satisfactorily; jumping spiders harass you in numbers; hawks bother you from above; Anubis demons throw light-casting fireballs at you; wasps buzz and sting you. It’s a relentless battle through hostile territory and does require some platforming (although not much – that I saw anyway).
There are underwater sections and swimming is a little tricky as the controls when in water are not what you might expect. And you can drown quickly. There’s a map overlay (you can turn it on or off via the Start menu – it defaults to off). There are power-ups that increase your weapon fire rate, or make you invisible. And best of all there are rare artefacts that boost your jump powers and other abilities when you get them.
The levels are well-constructed, well lit, and well-suited to console/gamepad play. There are traps, elevators, switches, portals, exploding pots (ie. barrels), and many other details to be noticed (like the fact that monsters occasionally fight among themselves).
Exhumed has some nice effects in it, like the glow when a power-up forms, the coloured lighting, the explosions, the gibs, and the lighting effects in general. The music is excellent too. It’s a fairly straightforward atmospheric first-person shooter, but an excellent console shoot ’em up – maybe even the best FPS on the Saturn.
Exhumed was also released for PC MS-DOS, PlayStation and Windows. An enhanced port of the combined Saturn and PlayStation versions was released as PowerSlave Exhumed by Nightdive Studios in 2022 (link below).
More: PowerSlave on Wikipedia
Steam: PowerSlave on Steam
Steam: PowerSlave Exhumed on Steam
GOG: PowerSlave on GOG.com
GOG: PowerSlave Exhumed on GOG.com
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