Power Slave article by Al Giovetti

PowerSlave.gif - 28.9 K PowerSlave
by Al Giovetti
Review, 03/11/97
Price: $40 - $50
Genre: Doom like shooter
Release: November 1996
Developer: Lobotomy Software Incorporated
Publisher: Playmates Interactive Entertainment Software
Phone: 714-562-1743, 714-428-2112
Website: www.playmatestoys.com/piehome.htm
Requirements: DOS or Windows 95

History: Doom was released, then Duke Nukem 3D, and now we are in the Quake era. Many would claim that the hundreds of Doom clone three dimensional shooter titles add nothing to the genre, while others cannot get enough of this type of game. You know who you are. Make your own choice to run away from or run to you local store to buy this one. Other than the egyptian motif, this is nothing new to offer.

Powerslave was released first on the Sega Saturn and seems to have brought with it a lot of the console game controls and features. The game is a port to the PC and like all ports lacks the special sophistication that a game made first for the PC has.

Summary: First person or third person perspective Doom like shooter game with high resolution 3D graphics. Bridges are unique in that you can walk, over, under, and next to the bridge. Stacked technology allows you to go from one floor to another within the same level and see into each floor.

Company line: As an armed forces specialist, you have trained for all forms of enemy contact. Nothing, however, can prepare you for the modern-day nightmare you are about to enter. The ancient Egyptian city of Karnak has been sealed off by enemy forces. No military action has yet been successful in penetrating the perimeter. The enemy possess firepower of unknown origin. There is a high probability of ultra-human involvement. Your mission is to infiltrate Karnak, discover the nature of the enemy forces, and respond with maximum efficiency. Lethal force has been approved.

Plot: The ancient Egyptian city of Karnak has been seized by unknown powers and great turmoil is spreading into neighboring lands, posing a concerning threat to planet Earth. Militant forces from all parts of the globe have entered Karnak Valley, but none have returned. The only known information regarding this crisis came from a dying Karnak villager who managed to wander out of the valley to safety: "They've stolen the great King's Mummy..." murmured the dying villager..."in an attempt to revive him..." But the villager died before he could say more. enterme.gif - 21.6 K

With no other options, world leaders have chosen to drop you into the valley via helicopter in an attempt to find and destroy the threatening forces and resolve the mystery that has engulfed the once peaceful land. Flying at what is assumed to be a high enough altitude to avoid being shot down like others before you, your copter mysteriously explodes in the air as you barely escape with no possible contact with the outside world. Scared as hell, you descend into the heart of Karnak... home to the celebrated burial crypt of the great King Ramsses.

You immediately discover that the spirit of King Ramsses dwells in a tomb that has been robbed of all treasure by the powers in question. The King informs you that the outcome of contemporary civilization lies within his stolen mummified body and that the corpse must be returned to its rightful resting place. The King will always give you guidance to help you discover the mystery of the valley and recover his sacred mummified entity.

Combat: is up close and personal with ancient weapons, such as swords, spears, and others. Other more modern weapons can also be found so that you can fight up close or from a distance. The distance weapons include hand grenades, flame throwers, machine guns, Eye of Rah, and a magical cobra staff. There is not a crosshair for targeting, since the game uses an automatic aiming system which almost cannot miss. You cannot strafe while turning which is a great help when facing multitudes of monsters. This inability is a massive and lethal game design oversight. The flame thrower will damage you if you shoot at enemies that are too close. When your gun runs out of ammunition, the game will swich your weapon to hand grenades and not another gun.

Game play: You get three lives per level and once you use them up you must start the level over until you get it right. Levels include a temple, grotto, graveyard, and others. There is a good variety of immaginative and engaging monsters to kill.

Graphics: Detailed and fully animated sprite characters derived from Egyptian mythology and original alien creations. Support for SVGA modes on Pentium class machines. The games maximum resolution is 640x480 pixles.

Animation: The animation has no slopes to traverse. The game does not appear to be a pure three dimensional interface.

Puzzles: Push block puzzles and projectile traps to ensnare the player. indeep.gif - 28.9 K

Interface: True 3D environment lets you look up, look down, jump, squat and swim allows greater player mobility and environment interaction.

Utilities: The automap system is an Overlaid transparent rotating level map. Progress points (like in console games) are the substitute for save games that we like in PC games. You can only save the game when you locate scarab beetle icons which are restart icons and not really save games. The lack of an on demand save game provision is a major flaw in the design of any PC game. There is no build level editor program as seen in Witchaven 2.

Multiplayer: Network support for up to eight players in Windows 95 version and modem support (The CD sleeve says the game supports up to four players - Ed). The documentation does not recommend using more than four players even though the box and other information indicates that eight players are supported. Network support for up to only four players in DOS version. There is no modem support, neither null nor phone. Twelve levels are supplied just for network play. Multiplayer supports deathmathes and does not support cooperative play.

Compare to: Assassin 2015, Eradicator, Witchaven 2, and Witchaven.

Journalists: The journalists uniformly did not like this game. They agreed the game was slow and had little if any game play value. They seem to be saying that you need a lobotomy to buy this game.

Publish your own review right here, just email us the text.

References: Playmates Interactive's Powerslave Web Site
Steve Bauman, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 72-73, 40%.
Steve Klett, PC Games, volume 4, number 3, March, 1997, pg. 64, 68%.
Jason D'Aprile, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 11, April, 1997, pg. 60, 70%.
Andrew Sanchez, Boot, volume 2, number 8, April, 1997, pg. 106, 70%.
Robert Coffey, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, May, 1997, pg. 132, 30%.
Jason Bates, PC Games, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 107, 58%.

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