An introductory guide to PowerSlave Exhumed, answering some of the most frequently asked questions, as well as a few pointers to assist in your fight against the Kilmaat.
The highly anticipated and much requested remaster by Nightdive Studios is finally here! I wanted to create this guide in order to help ease newcomers to the game, clear up a few common questions, go over the weapons, some of the enemies, a few basic gameplay tips, and hopefully do justice to one of my favorite games of all-time.
PowerSlave was originally created by Lobotomy Studios and released in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and MS-DOS. The game takes place both in and around the Egyptian city of Karnak during the aftermath of an attack by a race of alien creatures known as the Kilmaat. You are the lone survivor of a special forces team sent in to investigate the threat.
At last, PowerSlave Exhumed brings the classic console experience to PC and modern console platforms, delivering with it quality of life upgrades such as modern resolution support, high framerates, adjustable FOV, and level design that often combines elements from both the original Saturn and PlayStation releases. In addition, several new features have been included, such as mid-level checkpoints and multiple difficulties!
Machete – It might not rust, but that doesn’t mean you should really rely on it too much. Ideal for causing a bit of property damage though. Use the machete to smash pots and vases… just hope nothing jumps out of them!
Pistol – Did you fire six shots or only five? No worries, guns in PowerSlave Exhumed never need reloading! This is your standard revolver. Serviceable at long distance for picking off some of the weaker enemies, but consider something bigger when trifling with larger foes.
M60 – The M60 is undeniably the workhorse weapon of PowerSlave Exhumed and will likely see more use than any other weapon in the game. This bad boy has a high rate of fire, it’s very effective up close, and performs moderately well at distances, too. Very satisfying to use, and will make you stick your lips out as you fire it. Keep this one stocked up on ammo at all times.
Amun Bomb – These are your grenades, and will prove to be a very useful tool. Not only do the Amun bombs deal good damage to enemies, but they can also be used to destroy weakened walls and cracked structures. The longer you hold the fire button in, the further you will throw it. Be sure to learn the art of ‘bomb-boosting’. This works very much like Quake‘s ‘rocket jump’ where you time your jump as the bomb explodes, propelling you higher and further than normal at the cost of some damage.
Flamethrower – It does what it says on the tin. Particularly useful against mummies and wasps, the flamethrower will cause prolonged damage to an enemy so long as it’s on fire. It burns through fuel fast, so use it sparingly!
Cobra Staff – The Cobra Staff shoots powerful green snake…things that home in on nearby targets. Clearly designed for long-range use, the Cobra Staff is deadly at a distance, but the splash damage caused on impact makes it dangerous to use in close quarters combat. It can also be used as an alternative to the Amun bombs for boosting.
Ring of Ra – Unleash the fury of the Gods with a volley of ferocious fireballs. This ring drains in ‘ammunition’ very quickly, so keep it in your back pocket for a particularly rainy day. Fireballs cast from this will bounce around the vicinity, sniffing out any target it can.
Manacle of Power – Fire devastating bolts of lightning and eviscerate your enemies. Easily the most ‘expensive’ weapon to use in terms of ammunition, you should really save this for one of the bosses, unless you’re feeling particularly cruel of course. Hold the fire button in to charge it up for massive damage.
The Denizens of the Karnak Valley
Terrainian – Not your everyday garden spider! These ugly three-eyed freaks will try and nibble your ankles, but don’t let their size fool you. If you’re not careful, these little critters can do quite a bit of damage when in groups.
Scorpions – Much like the spiders, the scorpions like to ruin your day and waste your ammo by jumping all over the place… just like they do in real life! They’re a slippery customer, so try and pick them off from a distance.
Piranha – Before you start paddling and splashing around in water, be sure to pull out your machete first. The piranha like to munch your face, so dispatch them as quick as possible. Their bark is worse than their bite… except they don’t bark.
Anubis Zombie – Look, let’s just call it what it is: it’s the Imp from DOOM with an Egyptian skin. No point sugar coating it. That doesn’t make them any less deserving to get shot full of holes. Keep your distance and dodge those firebal-.. uhh, I mean blue energy balls. You know the drill.
Hawk – Often heard before seen, these birds of prey like to make their presence known before swooping in for the kill. Not too much of a threat, but certainly a nuisance. A single shot from the pistol will cause them to explode into feathers.
Omenwasp – My personal pick for the most annoying and irritating enemy in the game, and definitely NOT because of the nightmares they gave me as a nipper! These buzzing bastards like to fly around, ruin your day, and deliver a good sting. They’re not too strong, but they’ll make you wish you had a can of Raid or twenty.
Mummies – Because it wouldn’t be a game set in Egypt without ’em. These fellers have a rather rude tendency to fire evil red spirits in your location. If you try to get close and personal with them, they’ll go all caveman on you and start clobbering you with their staff. I recommend (re)killing these guys ASAP.
Bastet – They may look like statues, but don’t turn your back or else they’ll swiftly run up and claw you apart. Bastets are frequently seen in groups, so take them out quickly, because these babies can also disappear and teleport behind you. Nothing personal, kid.
Magmantis – This beast dwells in pits of flaming hot mag-ma. Word to the wise: Once you hear him screech, you better take cover before you’re lit up by a barrage of fireballs. He doesn’t stay exposed for long, so get your shots in when you can. They’re pretty hardy fellows, so consider using some of your stronger weapons.
You’ll have to discover the other monsters yourself…
As you make your way through the game, you will need to overcome a number of obstacles, traps, and monsters. In this part of the guide, we will go over a few of the games basic mechanics to help you on your journey.
Never waste ammunition orbs
Ammo in PowerSlave Exhumed is universal. That said, each weapon has its own supply. You can replenish your ammo by picking up blue orbs from monsters you kill, or via full-ammo pickups hidden around various levels. Ammo will be restored to whatever weapon you have equipped when you pick up the orb. If you’re unable to pick up any ammo for your current weapon, cycle through your arsenal to see if there’s something else you can top up!
Now you’re playing with power!
Occasionally you may find a purple ‘power orb’ upon destroying a pot, vase, or other similar container. Picking it up will briefly grant the player infinite ammo and the ability to fire their equipped weapon at a very rapid rate. Use this rare opportunity to wreak havoc on anything that moves!
Dotted around various levels you will find spinning red and gold ankhs. These will increase your maximum life, represented by an additional circle below your health bar. There are a total of five ankhs to find in the game, and you’re going to need all the health you can get to survive.
A secondary objective to PowerSlave Exhumed is to find the eight radio transmitter pieces in order to achieve the good ending. These pieces are spread across different levels which can be identified by a beeping noise heard on the overworld screen. You will also hear a beeping sound when you’re near the item while playing the level itself. They’re usually well hidden, so keep your eyes (and ears) open!
During the course of PowerSlave Exhumed, you will acquire six ancient Egyptian artifacts that give you the special unique abilities necessary to progress through later levels of the game. The abilities are as follows:
- Sandals of Ikumptet: these will greatly improve how high you can jump
- Sobek Mask: allows you to breath far longer whilst underwater
- Shawl of Isis: this artifact reduces all fall damage
- Kilmaat Scepter: lets you pass through Kilmaat energy force fields
- Protective Anklet: greatly reduces damage taken from lava and poisonous swamps
- Horus Feather: grants the ability to levitate, assisting with crossing great distances
Lost in Egypt?
Due to the game’s non-linear level progression, you will occasionally have to replay previous levels and use a new weapon or ability to get to a previously inaccessible area and find a new exit out in order to proceed. If you find yourself unsure on where to go, simply look at the overworld screen for multiple arrows stemming from a level. This means there is more than one exit. Alternatively, you can visit the spirit of King Ramses in his tomb in Karnak for some direction.
Use your map!
The levels of PowerSlave Exhumed are often labyrinthine and complex. It’s not uncommon to get a little lost whilst exploring the many ancient Egyptian tombs, temples, and grottos. Like many games of its era, the game ‘draws’ the level as you run around, which can be accessed at any time – both as a wireframe overlay, or fully textured. If you look carefully, you may come across a map pickup which will automatically draw the whole level.
A strategy you’ll want to try and adopt, especially when playing on higher difficulties, is to exploit the AI and cause monsters to fight among themselves. With practice, it can be relatively easy to bait Anubis Zombies into lining up behind another enemy and having them fire their projectile into the back of another monster. Even if they don’t start fighting among themselves, they’ll at least still do damage.
Lobotomy Team Dolls
Late in its development, Lobotomy hid 23 Egyptian dolls bearing the teams faces and sprinkled them throughout the game. These were notoriously hard to find. Powerslave Exhumed has raised that number to 31, with every level containing at least one doll, so get hunting! Just keep in mind that some dolls will not be accessible immediately…
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between “PowerSlave Exhumed” and “PowerSlave (DOS Classic Edition)”?
Ok let’s just get this out of the way: every initial version of PowerSlave that Lobotomy released in 1996 are all different to one another. The original PC version was an entirely different game to the one that released on PlayStation and Saturn, which themselves contain a variety of differences; but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The original PC release was a more traditional first person shooter with linear level progression and is often simplified as being one of many “DOOM clones” that popularized the mid 90s. Personally, I feel this does the game a huge disservice, but that’s not the point of this guide. The point is, this is the version that’s being sold as “PowerSlave (DOS Classic Edition) – [steampowered.com] “.
The version that released on Saturn and PlayStation were very different. The most common descriptor for the game would be to call it a Metroidvania. In short, you have non-linear level progression and must acquire power ups and abilities to reach previously inaccessible areas of past levels in order to progress forward, all while blasting enemies in a first person perspective. In essence, this does what Metroid Prime did, and did it five years earlier.
PowerSlave Exhumed aims to finally bring that experience to the PC and modern consoles by remastering it for widescreen displays, enhancing some key assets, adding achievements, as well as other unique improvements by bringing together elements unique to both the original Saturn and PlayStation releases and combining them into one package.
Will PowerSlave (DOS Classic Edition) be removed from Steam now that PowerSlave Exhumed has been released?
No. They’re two separate games that will co-exist and continue to be sold on both Steam and GOG.
What’s the difference between the Saturn and PlayStation versions, and what does it mean to combine them?
The differences between the two versions are both great and small. Perhaps the biggest difference is the complexity and design of the levels themselves. While often similar, sometimes identical, it is generally accepted that the Saturn version had the superior levels. They were often larger and more intricate when compared to it’s PlayStation counterpart.
PowerSlave Exhumed attempts to mash these up in numerous ways to provide the best of both worlds. This is achieved by seamlessly blending both Saturn and PlayStation levels, as well as at times creating unique remixes of both. The red spiders you fought on Saturn were replaced with blue scorpions on PlayStation, and here they’re combined, living together, mass hysteria! The Saturn version allowed you to ‘bomb-boost’ (think Quake‘s rocket jumping) to get to hidden areas, whereas the PlayStation version did not feature such a mechanic. This has been restored for PowerSlave Exhumed. There are a number of other minor differences sprinkled throughout both games.
Why is this game sometimes referred to as “Exhumed”?
“Exhumed” was the name given to PowerSlave when it released in the European markets. If you read someone referring to it as “Exhumed“, chances are they’re from Europe – where incidentally, the game was far more successful. In Japan, the game was called “Seireki 1999: Pharaoh no Fu*kkatsu” (I had to break up the last word due to the profanity filter. Thanks Gaben) The name for the remaster was just a clever pun using both names.
What engine does PowerSlave Exhumed run on?
PowerSlave Exhumed runs on the latest version of Nightdive Studios’ proprietary KEX engine. The same engine which has powered Nightdive’s other remasters, including Quake – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Quake – [steampowered.com] , System Shock: Enhanced Edition – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>System Shock: Enhanced Edition – [steampowered.com] , Turok – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Turok – [steampowered.com] , Turok 2: Seeds of Evil – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Turok 2: Seeds of Evil – [steampowered.com] , Blood: Fresh Supply – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Blood: Fresh Supply – [steampowered.com] , Forsaken Remastered – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Forsaken Remastered – [steampowered.com] , and Shadow Man Remastered – [steampowered.com]” rel=”nofollow noopener”>Shadow Man Remastered – [steampowered.com] .
Will there be a physical edition of PowerSlave Exhumed?
Judging from this – [twitter.com] tweet, yes.
Does PowerSlave Exhumed have any cheat codes?
Yes! The Sega Saturn version had a few push button codes that have been included with this release.
PLEASE NOTE, USING THESE WILL DISABLE STEAM ACHIEVEMENTS ON YOUR SAVE FILE!
Refill health/ammo at any time:
On the overworld screen, press DOWN, RIGHT, LEFT, UP, DOWN, RIGHT, LEFT, UP, DOWN, RIGHT, LEFT, DOWN, UP, LEFT. If entered correctly, you will hear a “YEAH!”. Now any time you open your inventory and press X you will refill your health and ammo.
Skip to next level:
On the overworld screen, press, Y, Y, Z, Z, X, X, Z, Y, X, Z, Y, X, Y, X, Z. If entered correctly, you will hear a “YEAH!”, and the marker will take you to the next level.
NOTE: you can enter these cheats using a controller too, just replace Z with LS (left stick click)
In addition to this, there are various cheats that can be entered via the games console.
moses = God Mode
unlockallmaps = Unlocks every level on the world map
give keys = Gives all keys for a single level
give weapons = Gives all weapons
give artifacts = Gives all artifacts
give ankh [1-5] = Gives additional life bar
mapall = Draws the entire level map
The game has a couple of other “cheats” but you have to work for them. They can be accessed upon finding a set amount of Lobotomy team dolls, with one hidden in every level. Finding 16 dolls will unlock the dolphin ability, allowing you to swim fast and jump high out of water. Finding 28 dolls unlocks the vulture ability, allowing you to fly around freely!
Where can I find my savegames and configuration files?
You can find your saves and config files in the following directory:
C:\Users\<USERNAME>\Saved Games\Nightdive Studios\Powerslave EX
Open kexengine.cfg with Notepad to manually adjust settings. If you make a mistake and wish to restore to default settings but cannot boot into the game to do so, simply delete the file. A new one will be generated the next time you launch the game.
Does PowerSlave Exhumed support Direct3D or OpenGL
The game is designed to be run using the Vulkan API. OpenGL is not supported by the latest version of the KEX Engine. It is possible to run the game under Direct3D11, but keep in mind that issues are likely and must only be used as a last resort. If you are experiencing issues under Vulkan, you can try forcing it to run in Direct3D11 by using the launch command:
To switch back, simply use:
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
Thank you for making it this far. This game has garnered a bit of a cult following over the years, and for good reason. While I personally prefer “console PowerSlave“, I would still recommend checking out the original MS-DOS game, which can be purchased here – [steampowered.com] . Please note that in order to get the most out of it, you will want to grab a source port. There’s a few to pick from. PCExhumed – [lerppu.net] will offer the most vanilla experience. PowerslaveGDX – [duke4.net] is a more customizable offering, but of all the ones available, I recommend Raze – [github.com] for its range of features, customization, and stability. In my opinion it also has the most superior movement and overall feel. But check them out and draw your own conclusions!
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1260020/PowerSlave_DOS_Classic_Edition/ – [steampowered.com]
If you’re interested in learning more about PowerSlave or the history of its developer, Lobotomy Software, I’d highly recommend checking out these two videos!
Finally, if you have any questions, or noticed an error in this guide, please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below. Thank you again for taking the time to check out this guide, and I hope you enjoy PowerSlave Exhumed!
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