Powerslave is an Egyptian-themed first person shooter developed by Lobotomy Software using the Build engine and released exclusively for DOS PCs in 1996. The player adopts the role of an unnamed mercenary sent in to Egypt to discover the mystery of what's happening in the city of Karnak.
From the game's manual:
"Unknown forces have taken over the ancient city of Karnak and spreading turmoil throughout the neighboring lands. No one has returned from the joint forces sent in by the major world powers and the new power seems near unstoppable.
The only known information about the crisis stems from a lone villager that was found wandering half dead in the desert. With his dying breaths, he spoke of fierce alien creatures destroying the cities, eating the women and children, and enslaving the men. Victims were tortured, skinned, dismembered, and mummified while still alive. Even the mummified body of the great King Ramses was unearthed and stolen.
The player assumes the role of a man chosen from the best operatives around the world to infiltrate Karnak and destroy the enemy forces. While flying in, his helicopter gets shot down in the Karnak Valley, not far from Ramses' Tomb."The game would later be remade for the Sega Saturn and then that version would be ported to the Sony Playstation, though both versions are entirely different games from the original PC release (see below).
Throughout the adventure, the player will visit 20 levels in addition to having the option to complete a training level in order to become accustomed to the controls. Aside from the science fiction inspired locations (such as the alien ship), the levels are named after real locations in Egypt and the surrounding area.
- Abu Simbel
- El Subua
- El Derr
- Abu Ghurab
- El Kab
- Qubbet el Hawa
- West Bank
- Alien Ship
There are also 12 multiplayer only maps included.
Differences in DOS and Console-based releases
Unlike the later reimagings of Powerslave on Saturn and Playstation, levels play out in a linear fashion throughout the course of the original DOS version. While a map tracks the player's progress through the lands of Karnak and the player is able to hop back and replay any previous map, there are not multiple exits leading off to new branching pathways. Levels designs are entirely different as well; in the console release levels were rebuilt from scratch to be best optimized for the new SlaveDriver engine. The Build engine version has remarkably longer (especially for the time) levels than any other version.
Enemies also function differently in the PC version. The magmantis enemy in particular was severely toned down for the later releases; in the PC version, he reaches 30 feet above the player and can nearly kill the player in a single shot. Likewise, he's used more as a midboss-type character than as a standard enemy type in a smaller form such as in the Saturn and Playstation releases. Giant Piranhas deal significantly less damage and are little more than a nuisence in the DOS version. Generally, sprites are far clearer, larger and more detailed in the PC version.
Differences in US and European Releases
The European release was approximately 4 months after the US release, but aside from trivial changes to the install and setup portions, it's identical.