Friday, June 10, 2011


Developer - Lobotomy Software
Publisher - Playmates Interactive Entertainment
Release date - March 1, 1997

PowerSlave is a first-person shooter developed by Lobotomy Software and published by Playmates Interactive Entertainment. It was released in North America, Europe and Japan, for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and MS-DOS over the course of a year from late 1996 to late 1997.


PowerSlave is set in and around the ancient Egyptian city of Karnak in the late 20th century. 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, the player's helicopter is shot down and the player barely escapes. The player is sent in to the valley as the hero to save Karnak and the World. The player finds himself battling hordes of evil creatures known as the Kilmaat, including mummies, Anubis soldiers, scorpions, and evil spirits. The player's course of action is directed by the spirit of King Ramses, whose mummy was exhumed from its tomb by these evil creatures to drain it of its power, and use it to control the world.

In the console versions, there are two endings, depending on the player's course of action during the game. In the good ending, the protagonist has collected eight pieces of a radio transmission device, so he can send a rescue signal and be extracted from the Valley. After reclaiming the mummy of Ramses, the Pharaoh thanks him for his effort, and promises the player that he will inherit Ramses' Earthly kingdom, and that the Gods will bless him with eternal life and make him ruler of the world. After escaping the collapsing tomb, the player is indeed rewarded as such, and becomes a powerful and benevolent Pharaoh of the entire planet. In the bad ending, the player has failed to collect all eight pieces of the radio transmitter, and is subsequently buried in the tomb of Ramses, only to be excavated centuries later by the now ruling forces of the Kilmaat.


Gameplay follows the standard first-person shooter formula. Familiar elements from the genre, such as collecting keys to open doors in a level, are present.

The player character must acquire 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. In the console versions, the player goes from level to level via an overworld map.


The first version of the game to be released was on the Sega Saturn, shortly followed by a release on the PlayStation, with tweaked gameplay, added architecture, some different levels, and other changes. Both of these versions are based on Lobotomy Software's SlaveDriver engine and feature a true 3D world, similar to Quake. The same engine was used to power the Sega Saturn versions of Duke Nukem 3D and Quake.

Besides some changes in the levels (rooms in one version that are not in another, added architecture in the PlayStation version), the levels Amun Mines, Heket Marsh, Set Palace, Cavern of Peril, and Kilmaat Colony are almost completely different between the two versions. In the Sega Saturn version, ammo and health pick-ups dropped by an airborne enemy remain airborne, as opposed to falling to the ground in the PlayStation version. There are exclusive powerups on the Sega Saturn such as the All-Seeing Eye, Invisibility and Weapon Boost. Also exclusive to the Sega Saturn is the ability to bomb-boost, which is similar to rocket jumping in other FPS games.

Sprites are represented in 2D, similar to games such as Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. The game features colored dynamic lighting, but only in the console versions.

Level progression is non-linear, letting the player go to any previous unlocked level at any time. Some levels have areas which are only accessible after getting a certain ability or weapon, similar to the Metroid series. This adds an exploration aspect not usually seen in FPS games at the time.

Additionally, there are eight pieces of a radio transmission device hidden in eight of the stages. Stages with a hidden transmitter piece will emit a steady beeping noise on the overworld map, and can be heard beeping when the player is near their location. Collecting these pieces will affect the ending of the game.

Exclusive to the Sega Saturn version is a hidden minigame: Death Tank, which is unlocked by collecting all 23 Team Dolls hidden in the game.

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