Back in the mid-90s the PC was the rightful home of first-person shooters, but there was one notable console outing that eluded us. PowerSlave (or Exhumed in Europe) came out for the Sega Saturn in 1996 and PlayStation in 1997. It was pure 90s shooter nonsense, sending you to the ancient Egyptian city of Karnak to shoot hordes of aliens, scorpions, Anubis clones and tiger-headed women in bikinis.
What a time it was...
An MS-DOS port of Powerslave did actually come out in 1997, but it was bizarrely inferior to the console versions, doing away with much of the game's clever non-linear design. Thankfully, we can leave all that in the past now, because Nightdive Studios has just released the ultimate version of the game, PowerSlave Exhumed, on PC.
The game uses Nightdive's KEX engine, and merges the Playstation and Saturn versions into one beautiful cosmic-coptic nightmare. So that means it will have the more advanced level design from the PS1 version, but some exclusive Saturn powerups, as well as the Saturn version's ability to rocket-jump (or, technically, bomb-boost as you're using Egyptian-themed bombs to do it). Naturally, gamepad support, widescreen resolutions and other graphical niceties like antialiasing and Vulkan support are all included.
The game is pretty bonkers even by 90s standards, with an arsenal ranging from magic fireballs shot from your hands to magic staffs, machine guns and rocket launchers. But it's more than that, too, with some smart Metroidvania-like design that lets you backtrack through levels using an overworld map, and open-up previously unreachable areas using items you find. For a 90s shooter, it was uniquely exploratory.
We reached out to Nightdive's Larry Kuperman, who had this to say about the release. "PowerSlave has been on our radar for quite some time. Many fans requested it and it clearly met Nightdive's criteria as a lost classic. However, we needed the help and resources of our partner Throwback Entertainment to untangle ownership issues. Without them, the game would have remained lost."
So here's to you, Throwback and Nightdive.