*Desert Caravan by Aaron Kenny* *evil laugh* *Desert Caravan by Aaron Kenny* [CIVVIE] You know, old Civvie's favorite genre of video game is, of course, the first person shooter, but his second favorite is the metroidvania, or whatever you like to call it, some people don't like the term "metroidvania" so let's go with obsessive compulsive simulator. Jump, slash, land, slash, get the candle, get the candle! What sick freak decided that map coverage should go above 100%? I was always more into the -vania parts, Metroid games are great, they're just not for me. Don't think I'm gonna come in here and rag on Super Metroid. But what if someone took this thing and smashed it together with this thing? And that's how you get PowerSlave, or Exhumed in Europe, or the Nightdive remaster that just came out, called PowerSlave Exhumed.
That's a good name though, that's cool. And I know, you want me to talk about the Build one, because the game came out on PC for MS-DOS running on the Build engine, and I will, I'm going to devote a huge chunk of this video to talking about that version, after we're done with the "original" version. It's complicated, see, see Lobotomy Software released this game on the Playstation 1, and the Sega Saturn, the Saturn port being considered the best, as far as I can tell, and so this Nightdive port attempts to put the best elements from the console versions into one package, and I'll say right now, it's a fine port, runs really well, another killer release from Nightdive, but understand that this video is coming from the perspective of someone who was a little more familiar with the DOS version that ran on Build, although I never actually finished that game before doing this video, because I usually got bored. The Sega Saturn release came out in 1996, some of you watching this video may not have been alive during a time when Sega made home consoles, and just like the executive that said the only Marvel property anyone would care about is Spider-Man, it was quietly murdered by Sony. But this weird FPS hybrid about pharaohs and aliens in Egypt gained a cult following and people were a little disappointed that the DOS version that came out was more of a traditional shooter on the same engine that was, at the time, famous for being able to pay strippers, use urinals, and make things explode good. The console versions of PowerSlave ran on Lobotomy's own engine, the SlaveDriver engine.
Lobotomy also used the engine to make ports of Quake and Duke Nukem 3D for the Saturn. So, up first, we're doing the Nightdive re-release, and no, I'm not going to cover four different versions of this game for this video. Please leave a comment about how I'm a lazy hack who didn't feel like structuring a two-hour-long video essay about the differences between the re-release, the Playstation version, the Saturn version, the Build version, the Build version in GDX, the Build version in PCExhumed, the RAZE version, the port to the WonderSwan, the port to the WonderSwan Color, the version that ran exclusively on the TI-86, or the one that was on the arcade machine in the 1997 film Grosse Point Blank.
*Console PowerSlave Arena Theme 01* So this game is about a soldier sent to Egypt to stop an alien race from destroying the Earth because they stole the body of one of the Pharaohs and you know, as I'm reading this, the plot is nonsense, and this came out before Castlevania Symphony of the Night so PowerSlave is the one who really began that tradition. [NARRATOR] During the time of the Pharaohs, the city of Karnak was a shining example of civilization. That all other nations could only hope to emulate. [CIVVIE] Wait, is that Don LaFontaine? That's some dick-swinging casting, I'm impressed. [NARRATOR] However, something has gone terribly wrong! Unknown forces have seized the city and great turmoil is spreading into neighboring lands.
The great power of this new empire is quickly crushing the best forces the human world has to offer. *dun-dun-dun dun-dun* [CIVVIE] I'm gonna let that one slide, but if they do it again… [NARRATOR] The only known information about this crisis came from a Karnak villager, found wandering through the desert, miles from his home, dazed, dehydrated and close to death… *dun-dun-dun dun-dun* [T2 TRAILER NARRATOR] Terminator 2: Judgment Day! This time, he's back! *explosion* For good! [T-800] Trust me. [NARRATOR] The villager told horrifying stories of fierce alien creatures that invaded the city, devoured the women and children, and made slaves of the men. You have been chosen from a group of the best operatives in the world to infiltrate Karnak. [CIVVIE] Yeah, we've got the player in the middle there, Burt Reynolds-Indiana Jones, Russian Tank Girl, Arnold again, Solid Snake, and Ian Paul Freeley.
It doesn't matter, the helicopter crashes and everybody else dies. It's just you and a machete. Nice port though, very slick, although this game doesn't make the best of introductions.
This is all very cool for 1996, even if it feels a bit weird. And stuff doesn't really make any kind of logical sense. You've got a health bar and a weapon power bar. Not ammo, a bar, that runs out, your weapons don't reload like in the PC version. The enemies flash white when you hit them which definitely feels like a thing out of a console game.
It's fine, I don't have a problem with it. Every enemy so far feels like it takes one more bullet to kill than it should. And the only enemies you'll see in this first level are these annoying little bugs. A common complaint I've seen about the game is the fact that a lot of the early game is fighting these little bastards and other small, annoying enemies, like these wasps, or these birds, and on the Normal skill, that's true.
On Hard, the game adds these Anubis Zombies in the first level instead of waiting until the second. There are three skill levels, Normal, Hard, and Pharaoh, but from everything I've found, Hard and Pharaoh didn't exist before this port. So Nightdive added two more difficulty levels with different item and enemy placement and other gameplay tweaks because they really, really love PowerSlave. I didn't even see extra difficulty levels in the PowerSlave EX port from 2015 that got taken offline that I've had on my hard drive for the longest time.
I played a bit of that before and knew some of what to expect from this remaster but this new release certainly looks better. It doesn't take long before you talk to Ramses' ghost. [RAMSES] Welcome, mortal. I am King Ramses… When my body was laid to rest here, my name was not forgotten. And my spirit was blessed in the realm of the dead. For centuries, I've lived in splendid afterlife among the most powerful gods of the world.
Now, my eternal sleep has been broken by a savage race of creatures known as the Kilmaat. These beasts have stolen my mummified corpse and are draining the power from it to use as their own. [CIVVIE] I've never gotten a corpse to put out more than 15 watts so I don't know what you're talking about. [RAMSES] It is you, great one, that must do justice for the sake of mankind and shun this evil.
Seek out the six treasured artifacts that once adorned my tomb given to me by the most powerful gods in Egypt. They too have been stolen and scattered across the valley and are highly guarded. These artifacts hold great powers and will help you on your journey. [CIVVIE] Ramses isn't just here to deliver exposition, he also will tell you where to go next because the game lets you go between levels by camel. *camel noise* Truly, the most dignified way to travel. Off to Karnak we go, where we meet our Anubis zombies, their projectiles, and a weird quirk of this game that I don't understand.
The player's hit-box is roughly twice the width of what you'd expect from an FPS game, for reasons, and that's not really something Nightdive could change because the levels themselves are all built around the player not being able to access certain areas and if he could just squeeze through a three-foot gap then the whole thing would be ruined. Unfortunately, this also makes dodging projectiles in a hallway completely impossible. It's weird, right? You'll notice it constantly as you're trying to open containers which might have weapon power or health in them, or maybe they'll have an enemy in them, or a power-up, or as the game goes on, maybe they'll just fucking kill you. And I think that the traps inside of these containers get worse with each of the artifacts you collect. I've gotten one, and they started putting giant hornets in them.
Which aren't a problem in this version of the game. Okay, Karnak sanctuary, where we get the machine gun. This is your workhorse of the game, you'll be using a lot, and I couldn't be happier because I love this thing. Across all versions.
In this one it has this weird three-round burst thing going whereas in the DOS version and others, it's more like automatic fire, but the feel, the sound, the impact of it, uniformly great. So much fun. Couldn't be happier with it. Of course, this is the point where you discover another mechanic in this game… See, if you played the Build version, you were used to having weapons that took certain types of ammo, you know, like in an FPS game, but that's not how it works here.
No, you collect weapon power from fallen enemies or from containers or other pickups and all the weapons have their own weapon power supply, and when you collect weapon power, it refills the weapon you're currently holding, which isn't the worst idea but it lives next door to the worst idea and calls the police when it hears loud music. And while the Nightdive port is perfectly faithful to this, it is being faithful to a terrible idea. It is the worst combination of having a mana system and having individual pickups. And I feel like PowerSlave, as a game, is strong and interesting enough to overcome it.
Once you're through this level, you start coming up against the Metroid elements. These sandals improve your jump so you can access new areas. You go back to Karnak and jump this gap to get a key to open a door to get a health upgrade, which doubles the amount of health you have, that's very Metroid. The downside is that every time you re-visit a level, you also have to kill all of the enemies in that level again and collect all of the keys. Which sucks. I'm using Castlevania Aria of Sorrow here as an example because it's a metroidvania that I was actually in the middle of playing through again.
Okay, so Castlevania Aria of Sorrow stars Soma Cruz, a Japanese teenager in the year 2038 who is actually the reincarnation of Dracula, and his name is a reference to Soma, the drug from Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World, which numbs your emotions, mostly the negative ones, and this is thematically relevant because I don't give a shit about this character. *dead silence* He has a really cool coat though. *dead silence* He has a really cool coat though.
True to that genre when you re-enter a room all of the enemies are back and you have to kill them again. Which works better in this game here because, for example, you can breeze through earlier areas at walking speed when you've leveled up and gotten better equipment. PowerSlave is a bit limited in your ability to move through enemies like that because for one thing, you're in a 3D space and for another your weapons can only be so effective against the enemies and they don't have infinite ammo. While your movement in the game gets significantly upgraded over time and it allows you to jump higher or fly around so that traversing the areas again is quicker and easier, the enemies are still going to be there and there's still going to be about 10,000 little bugs scurrying around to be annoying. Don't get me wrong, I'm a little charmed by the twist that this game is putting into the formula. It's 1996, right, FPS games were still a young genre and this was radically different than what we'd seen previously.
Like the most impressive FPS game to come out by this time, I think, was Duke Nukem 3D, which was released only nine months earlier. PowerSlave is a cool experiment with merging the two styles but I think it could use some refinement although you don't see a lot of FPS metroidvania titles. What is there, like… Vomitoreum? While you're running back and forth between levels, you'll also want to find pieces of a transmitter so you can get the good ending. I did, so I don't know what the bad ending of this game looks like.
I did not collect the dolls and so I don't know if they let you play Death Tank, sorry kids, I didn't know when I was playing this. Moving on: Sobek was a crocodile man, so naturally his power-up allows you to hold your breath underwater for longer than the default, which is, and I shit you not, about five seconds. Kneecapping your player's abilities to lock off certain parts of the game is a metroidvania's bread and butter but it's usually a little more subtle than that. [RAMSES] A deep cavity has been excavated in the south where there is rumor of a fierce weapon that engulfs its victims in a breath of fire.
[CIVVIE] Okay, but the swimming, we were doing the swimming lessons and now… *Console PowerSlave Arena Theme 01* Ramses isn't talking about a magical artifact, although all the weapons in this game do seem to run on magic. He's talking about a flamethrower. I have to go through the mines to get it. But to get there you need to also get the power-up that lets you slowly glide down instead of falling so you survive this drop. As soon as I saw this pit, which was after I'd gotten that power-up, it was clear what I had to do, which is the most I can ask of a game like this.
Who left this camel here? This slow-falling power-up is, of course, essential to navigating the next level without dying. The flamethrower you get is actually good! When you don't have burning animations for your enemies, just gib 'em- FUCK! What's the name of the Egyptian god of random drops that's fucking me over right now? I'm surprised Ramses didn't tell me about this other powerful weapon that seems like it's some kind of magic, these grenades. These are more mission-critical since you can blow up walls with them. [actually Nile Gorge] When I get to the Well of Souls, a level I visited more times than I care to recall, I hit a roadblock. See, you have to grab this key from behind a wall hit by a fireball trap, and then avoid the fireball trap, and as I've mentioned previously, the hit-box of this elite soldier man is similar to that of a mancubus in a mascot costume.
And then attempting to get through spaces that you would expect to be able to pass through in literally any other FPS game. This is especially weird when you're dealing with the melee enemies, the fish being a prime example. SOBEK, YOU'VE BETRAYED ME! Now we're chasing the power-up that will allow me to walk on dangerous surfaces. In this version of the game, green slime or lava are basically instant death.
In this kind of game, instead of finding a way to change the level in your favor to progress, like hitting a switch to raise a bridge, you have to improve yourself. The power comes from within us, to not immediately die from stepping into liquid hot magma. In this quest, I have to clear out the Thoth Treasure Reliquary, this is another level I had to visit a few times because after you've got all your big power-ups, the exit to the final stretch of the game is here. And instead of taking all of the cool valuable shit, we're killing a lot of mummies, who are not quite as interesting as the ones in Build PowerSlave, more of a ranged annoyance than anything, with homing projectiles to differentiate themselves from the previous ranged enemy with a low-to-mid amount of health.
This level is where the game goes hard on them and another enemy, the Bastet, a lion-woman that moves very fast and likes to teleport around to avoid being cooked to the proper temperature. Remember kids, 3000 degrees for 1 second for perfect giblets. Welcome to flavortown, bitch! Ah, yes, here we are, protective anklets. [RAMSES] The protective anklets you have found will provide safekeeping on your journey through the Heket Marsh.
A great palace that has been swallowed by the sea awaits you on the other side. Waste no time, for my soul is growing weaker as the Kilmaat continue to draw energy from my corpse. Yeah, sure, I just gotta go grab something. There we go. Now, what were you saying? Flooded palace? Swamps? This is a lot greener than the rest of the game. I dig it. This cobra staff is basically your rocket launcher.
We get homing projectiles now, too! My only complaint about this weapon, and some of the others but mostly this one, is that it has a little animation it plays every time you select it so you gotta wait before being able to use it, making it difficult to use immediately in a fight, and if you want to use it on a melee enemy that closes distance quickly you might as well forget about it since you'll just hit yourself with the splash damage by the time the snake has had its coffee and woken up. By this point, your jumping is powerful enough for the game to have some platforming elements which aren't bad. You have decent enough air control and movement is fun.
You can't dodge projectiles horizontally, but vertically is fine, and you'll be leaping long distances regularly. Now that I've made it through the swamp, it's time for that sunken palace I heard so much about. What's going on with uh… SOOOOBEEEEKKKKK!!!!!! *Console PowerSlave Arena Theme 01* Oh, you know if it's a water temple, it has to suck. Who's fucking idea was it to put in the mines? Defusing the mines is fine, got the hang of that pretty quickly, but there's another thing this game does that was unconventional for the time, which is not letting you use your guns in water.
Your guns, not your machete or your grenades or magical snake staff. Grenades are good for tripping mines and the snake staff would be good for fish except, you know, fast-moving melee enemy and splash damage, it's the lost-soul conundrum all over again. That's the whole level, swimming, dodging mines and killer fish. There's no transmitter pieces here so you never have to see it ever again and you can go into the way more interesting and action packed level that comes next. Enemy variety might need some work but otherwise? Good shit.
All this has been leading to this boss, Selkis, and the bosses in this game aren't exactly challenging, possibly more challenging when using a controller, in fact I'm sure they were, look at this thing… It's not a Saturn controller but it's not so bad. But I still died once to this boss because you have to manage your ammo very carefully. There are a couple places you can resupply and if you don't have anything to blow open this wall so you can get the ammo power-up here, you're shit outta luck.
[RAMSES] Strong persistence is bringing you closer to the recovery of my mummified corpse. If you can defeat these forces of chaos, your heroic efforts will be rewarded by the gods. Go now, and climb the highest peak in the valley. There you will find the last of the six artifacts. [CIVVIE] I can pass through these green force fields now which eventually leads me to Magma Fields.
This transmitter piece is just right out in the open. Oh, fuck you, Denwen! I end up having to collect that a couple of times. Along with the platforming over lava, this level also has….
The magmantis! Not just a Syfy Chynnel Origynal Moviy, but on the box-cover of this game, and its most iconic enemy, I'm gonna need some ammo for this, I think, lemme just- FUCK! You've heard of "shoot at it until it dies", now get ready for "shoot at it until it fucks off." And collect this weapon, the Ring of Ra. Which shoots bouncy red balls. It's dumb. I don't care for it. Really ammo-efficient though, so that's cool. The magmantis continues to give me trouble, and then doubles it.
This is actually one of my favorite parts of the game as you're slowly descending into this volcanic chamber. The pacing of the level is telling you that THIS IS IT, you're finally going to be done with this, *Super Mario Bros. 3 Sky Land Theme* This game does take a while to get going and when it does, I can understand the appreciation of it and why people have been trying to get this remaster to happen for like a decade. This trial by fire gives me the Horus Feather so I can effectively fly.
I can't ascend while flying, and the control is a little strange. You jump, then hit the jump button again like you did with the slow falling, except now you don't fall. It works, and the rest of the game is designed around this power-up. This is that point in the metroidvania game where you go back and collect all the shit the game wouldn't let you have before because you can access pretty much any area, so that means clearing out the Nile Gorge again and going through the entire thing because the entrance is on top of a cliff you can't get back to. Cool. So I pick up this transmitter piece.
Followed by revisiting the Deserted Slave Camp to grab a piece behind a suspicious wall texture that I can blow up. There, that's 7 of those. The last one is in the final leg of our journey. That leg is actually quite long, and very dangerous. Back to the Thoth Treasure Reliquary to fly around, blow open a wall, and ride a camel.
I can fly now, you know? Is that not faster than a camel? It's time to make these alien bastards pay for stealing the mummified corpse of King Ramses. It turns out that weird hit-box stuff doesn't matter as much when you're airborne. You will be for most of this level. It's pretty fun! Transmitter is completely assembled and I've sent out a distress signal.
They're not coming to pick me up just yet. I have to travel to the Kilmaat Colony, this thing that has been looming ominously on the map screen this whole time. I don't like the look of it. Aesthetically I do because it's not brown and sandy like 75% of this game.
This is where I get my first look at the massive alien city they've built in the middle of the Karnak valley. It's worse than I've feared. They've turned everything to Joker colors. All the lasers make a little more sense now.
The advanced alien race is still very weak to machine gun fire, so we're in the clear on that. I'm actually kind of surprised they go down so easy. Everything is going well until this room.
This is it, this is the most difficult part of this game. Not from the enemies, or from lava, or that bastard Sobek. No. From the hit-box.
*L'amour est un oiseau rebelle from Carmen by Georges Bizet* Would you ever expect that you have to grenade jump out of this room? Because I didn't and I'm not sure that's how I'm supposed to get through. It was quicker than whatever the game may have intended. The final level opens with this very unhappy looking stone gentleman guarding a pyramid that leads to the final boss. Your powers get taken away which is fine, I guess, you don't really need to fly in this part. Okay, but we're gonna get it on the second try! I'm dancing around him, he sends Langoliers after me before turning into some kind of magma snake.
Except this one I can kill, and I think, just maybe, the ammo supply in this game might be a problem, not helped by the fact that I wasn't properly targeting the end of the snake. See, in a 2D Platformer you see that kind of enemy, because you can only shoot the back and front of it, because those are the only two directions. In a 3D game, it's a little more complicated and it's not the best boss idea in the world, so I've run out of ammo, but if you think that's going to deter me now that I've gotten all the way here? [RAMSES] Listen to me now, and I will give you my kingdom on Earth.
You shall stand at the head of the living and wear the sacred crown of power and supremacy. You will rule everything on which the eye of the sun shines. The praise of all nations will be laid at your feet and you will live forever because I am giving you the gift of immortality. [CIVVIE] Then why are you a ghost, Ramses? WHY ARE YOU A GHOST?! [RAMSES] Leave this tomb now as I seal it forever and follow the path back to your people.
May the gods shine on you and give you peace for all eternity. [CIVVIE] Oh, okay, we've got to escape, I'll just- When does that immortality kick in!? [PLAYER CHARACTER] Let's get the hell out of here. [CIVVIE] Hey, he talked! Because we built the transmitter, there's a chopper waiting for us. We can leave. We saved the world. We're pretty cool! [NARRATOR] Because of your heroic efforts, the valley of Karnak is no longer in danger.
At last, the people of Egypt can begin rebuilding the new kingdom. The world rejoices and a huge ceremony is held in your honor. A renewed sense of peace and happiness is adopted by everyone on Earth. Several centuries later, your immortal power is proven superior to all other living creatures and you become… king of the world! *overlaid* WHAT?! [CIVVIE] *laughing* What? I'm not sure you can get a better ending than "You're an immortal god-person who becomes king of the world forever," that's what the Iron Maiden song was about, right, how awesome it is to be king? All in all, I'm glad I played this because there's a lot of fun to be had after the initially lame, boring, bug-infested early chapters.
Let's see how the PC version turned out. *Console PowerSlave Title Screen Theme* I didn't realize until about halfway through this game that I'd never finished it before. It is such a wildly different game from the console versions that they could have called it something like Sergeant Sand and no one would have fucking noticed. Okay, so all the sprite-work is basically the same.
In terms of Build engine games, it's not in the Holy Trinity, obviously, but I don't hate it as much as I hate Redneck Rampage, and it wasn't designed by Capstone, the Pinnacle of Entertainment Software, so the parts that hurt aren't as acutely painful, more of a dull throb. A very, very dull throb. Build PowerSlave starts off better than the console version. Not the intro, the intro is Don LaFontaine reading some on-screen text in front of a still of Sergeant Sand jumping from his crashing helicopter. And he talks! [PLAYER CHARACTER] That's right! [CIVVIE] Not as much as other Build Engine protagonists, he's a little bit more modest, and the one liners aren't really good.
I get the feeling that they licensed the Build engine and felt obligated to give him some lines in order to spice things up a little bit. I love the title screen. *evil laugh* This is actually BuildGDX. People ask me why I prefer source ports over DOS and I say, well, it's because of the better mouse-look, but more importantly when making a video, you get a high resolution capture in the correct aspect ratio. That's it mostly.
And I only encountered one game-breaking bug during the entire playthrough, which is an issue because I played this game the way it was intended: with checkpoints. Build PowerSlave isn't a metroidvania. It has checkpoints in the level that you'll respawn at after you die. You actually have a life system.
If you pick up this gentleman here, that gives you an extra life with maximum of 5. You lose all of them, it's back to the start of the level. It does not save checkpoints if you quit so that one time it did bug out on me towards the end of an extremely long map, I had to play the whole thing again so the experience was somewhat similar to the console versions. You're on PC now, so you get to dumb the graphics down to software rendering, but your levels can be giant! Look at that Ken Silverman tech there, they can stretch their textures out to fill the whole wall when they probably shouldn't. Here's a tip, don't turn off auto-aim. The bugs show up in swarms in this one and they are way worse.
They're faster, they jump on the ceiling, they sap your health away quick, killer fish are back, and they die in that way I always liked. They gibbed underwater in the other version, this one isn't as explosive though it feels more satisfying to me. Thankfully you can hold your breath for more than 3 seconds and refill your air supply with these bubbles. You never get any permanent character buffs in this one so you don't have to worry about that. The game starts out going for Ramses' tomb again except this time it isn't just tiny bugs after you, the game is introducing a bunch of the enemies all at once. The ammo system is completely normal and you've got a machine gun within the first 5 minutes.
Since the regular guns don't run on magic anymore, you've got to reload them. If they don't run on magic, why are the enemies still dropping blue balls? Because you still use magic for inventory items. Instead of getting permanent character upgrades, you have an inventory system that's closer to HeXen than Duke Nukem 3D. For example, in the first level you'll get a torch.
The torch is single use and will drain some of your magic. Later on you'll get a Sobek mask that helps you breathe underwater that works the same way. The weapon power-up from the console versions that you'd find randomly is a severed hand that you pick up and carry around with you. There's a living, beating heart that will take about half your magic to refill your health, and every time it's nearby, you'll hear it… such a sound… as a watch when enveloped in cotton… oh… God! Can you not hear that?! Hidden behind a secret wall somewhere!?! There's an invisibility power-up I didn't see very often and a Scarab Amulet that makes you temporarily invulnerable. That one becomes very important in the late game. Back to that torch though, there's something weird about the lighting in this game.
It's something that took me longer to notice while playing, you see this Anubis zombie die, and the blue orb spawn in, which is creating light, and my machine gun is also creating light, you can see them lighting up whatever sector they're in, you can see projectiles doing it too. So it's almost like they're trying to do a dynamic lighting system with sector lighting which… is weird and an interesting concept. It's something Build could do but I don't remember any other Build game doing it. It's kind of an oddball idea. Not only are you introduced to the bugs and Anubis Zombies in the first level, but also the mummies.
The game even gives you grenades here too. The mummies' projectiles still home in, which sucks, but then- WAIT WHAT!? *player character laughs* You think you're dying since you get instantly mummified, nah, that's a power-up. Use that staff and it's arguably the most effective attack in the game. I don't know why it's here but it's cool. The mummies have another trick that I… absolutely hate, which is when they tap the staff they do an area of effect attack that will resurrect other mummies in the area. And sometimes that's a lot.
By the end of the first level, we're already in a room surrounded by treasure. I'd say we've won but I still have like another 6 hours of playing this ahead of me. Ramses shows up to give us this unvoiced, abridged version of the story.
I don't why he doesn't talk here, he talks in the DOS version. [RAMSES] An evil force known as the Kilmaat has besieged the sanctity of my palace. [CIVVIE] You think you know how this ends? You have no idea… A lot of what I can say about Build PowerSlave is that it's good enough.
It's not spectacular, except the machine gun which is so good I want to leave it a tip, and a lot of the time, it is a mundane slog of key hunting, shooting the same enemies over and over, even if they are introduced faster than in the other version. We're already meeting the lion girls here, who are given actual death animations instead of just gibbing. They turn to stone and fall over. Look, I've already gotten the flamethrower. Which follows the proper rules of video game flamethrowers. And unlike the console versions, it sucks.
The splash damage is brutal, it seems to do less damage overall, and it eats through ammo just as quickly. *drumming* The hell is that drumming!? The ammo counter which is represented by these dials here, y'know, that looks cool, but I have to wait a couple seconds whenever my ammo count changes to know how much I have, in this fast paced action game. Thankfully lava isn't instant death in this one. Of course, where there's lava… Well, no, they wouldn't introduce an enemy that big so soon… OH GOD! This one does operate on the "shoot at it until it does" rules. And it fires a lot of explosive projectiles at you that can fuck you up.
When it does die, it dies spectacularly. Because 90% of the weapons and enemies have been introduced by Level 3 and most of the levels are brown Egyptian ruins, a lot of this game kinda runs together. There's about as much platforming in this one as there is in the console versions except your jump sucks and falling damage kicks in if you fall farther than 3 feet.
It can be a little misleading since you don't take a ton of fall damage, maybe even less than the console version. They do have some cool additions like these death graphics. [PLAYER CHARACTER] Son of a bitch! [CIVVIE] That was my first death and I come back and look, there I am! I'm really not sure how much there is to talk about. Thank god, I didn't give this its own video… lemme think… uhh…. *dead silence* Yes! That. Introducing all of these elements early in the game kind of kneecaps the pacing.
Lobotomy, up to this point, had one game under their belt, and it wasn't a more traditional, linear shooter like this. Levels will alternate between being a cohesive experience to being an incomprehensibly large mess of brown bricks and I don't mean to keep picking on the water-themed levels but this one felt like an eternity. And the irony of the jump being trash stopped being funny real quick.
Props to Lobotomy for remaking their game with entirely new levels in a different engine and releasing it a few months after the original but damn this is dull. This level goes from a water temple to ruins to a giant canyon section and there is no reason whatsoever for it to be so goddamned big. I'm usually all about constructive criticism but whoever designed this level can throat my scroat. I spent so much time going through this canyon, taking fall damage, getting turned around and thinking I'm going the wrong way only to eventually end up at the start of the map to get this key. Oh look. There's the exit. Right here. Cool. There's one new enemy here, the Am-Mit, which can only be hurt during certain times.
It's not hard, it's not particularly fun to fight, it just is. One more weapon too, the Eye of Ra, which is not like the ring of Ra, this weapon is completely different because it summons a cloud of lightning over enemies and zaps them. For ammo, it takes… Oh. Yeah, you know, just do it… [GORDON RAMSAY] Fucking raw! [CIVVIE] I found that taking a nice 24-hour break from the game and coming back again made me less hostile towards its endless monotony.
I'd like to apologize to the people in my audience whose favorite game is Build PowerSlave, I don't hate it, exactly, because it's not incompetently made or anything but I feel like I spent most of this game machine-gunning the same 5 enemies. Oh, yeah, and those are poison goblets. If you touch them, you take 20 points of damage. *drumming* WHAT THE HELL IS THE DRUMMING?! Oh. I wanna play the game that's going on in there. Will you look at this? PowerSlave has more titties in it than Duke3D did! The Kilmaat are a little bit harder to deal with. They seem to fire a lot faster. And, of course, they're introduced way earlier so the alien stuff towards the end of the game is a little less impactful.
The bosses aren't exactly the same in this version either. For one thing, Set is a fast bastard. I guess he doesn't like the drums either. *drumming* Selkis is different too, she's a hit-scanner now. And when she dies, even more nuisance enemies spawn.
Jesus, I mean come on! Nothing is worse than the Omenwasps. They were a small annoyance in the console versions. They've gotten an upgrade.
They are tougher, they are faster, they are everywhere and you'll know when they're around because of the deafening, madness-inducing flapping sound. Dear. God. Once you reach the Alien levels, while they're not as pretty as the console versions and are kind of completely different and have more of a Giger vibe than a Joker one, it was making the game interesting again, not just more tombs full of mummies. This, of course, leads to the final boss of the game, in a simultaneously more interesting and less impressive arena. It's fine, but the feel of everything is totally different. Let's juice up our guns and show him the power of the Gods of Egypt, I guess.
Awww, that's great. Good job. Guess I'll just uh… Oh, we're doing this again? Okay. I guess the big boss is all polished off, nothing more to do but become an invincible god-king who lives forever. I mean it's felt like forever, playing this, looks like I'm about to send a distress signal on this old Lobotomy laptop and… [reading] That's good! [reading] Okay, so we're letting them handle it. [reading] WHY? *Doki Doki Panic Boss Theme* That's all I can say to this game's surprise final chapter.
Fucking why?! Once I beat the big badasses and clean out the Karnak valley, I'm supposed to win, aren't I? Aren't I? If you wanted to differentiate yourself from the other version's ending, you couldn't possibly do a better job of it than this completely unnecessary gauntlet of trash. This is the Alien Mothership and it added an hour to my playtime. See, you have to find and shoot a bunch of spinning red things, what that transmission called "energy towers", and theoretically, there's a time limit to this but I never actually hit it.
I did however have to attempt this level four separate times because I kept running out of lives. Here you go, here's the bad ending. [reading] You've got a giant, new, intimidating level where you have to find all of these red spinny things, some of which are hidden! If there is an actual time limit, I haven't been able to find any information on it, and in-game it only seems to be expressed on these screens here, which are alien numbers. Fuck you, how about that? Please leave a comment if you were alive in the Bronze Age and can tell me what those numbers are. As to why I game over'd three times trying to finish this, well, that's partially my fault for not collecting some of the extra lives, I was in somewhat of a rush! But also the sheer number of enemies, the confusing design, the fact that the things you have to blow up aren't all the easiest thing in the world to find, there's an entire section that you have to suffer falling damage through that's filled with omenwasps, to the point where I said "fuck it" and used an invincibility power-up to run through it. [reading] Great.
That's PowerSlave, kids, I'm fondly looking back on becoming a living god and ruling the world and not being stranded on an alien ship launching away from Earth, though I guess that is more of a sequel hook. So, cool premise with a bad start and a stronger ending on the console versions and a good start but a maddening ending to the DOS version. I wasn't expecting them to be quite that different.
Now I'm free from all of these ancient Egyptian curses and… Oh no… we're doing this now? [RAMSES] How are you doing on that worldwide nuclear holocaust, Civvie? [CIVVIE] I've hit a little bit of a snag on that front, you might be able to tell, if you look around here… [RAMSES] All who dwell among the living face adversity. In my battles against Syria, as we fought bravely against the Hittites and their treacherous- [CIVVIE] OH MY GOD! IF I HAVE TO HEAR ONE MORE STORY ABOUT MUWATALLI, I'M GONNA START TAKING MY MEDS! *baby cries* SHUT UP, I'M DOING IT! *end credits*