I haven’t played Exhumed since the year it came out, 1996. I was 13 back then. It blew my mind. I’d been playing Doom religiously on the PS1 and for some reason I rented this out from our local dodgy guy with his boot full of video games. I loved it. It was chock full of secrets to find, with a good length which meant it would take a good few days of solid blasting to get through, and the Egyptian theme for a FPS was fairly original for the time. Serious Sam was still 5 years away.
Exhumed was released on PS1, Saturn, and MS-DOS, and was also known as Powerslave in the US. Reviewers at the time criticised Exhumed for being a clone of Doom. This is wrong! All FPSs in the few following years of Doom had no choice but to look like Doom as that was all the technology at the time allowed. 2D sprites in a 3D level? Doom clone. While the sprites might not be as pleasing to the eye as what could be found in Doom, the level design is certainly a notch above what iD had accomplished with their baby, at least graphically anyway.
If graphics are the most important thing to you, play it on the PC if possible, as the frame rate is comparatively shocking on the console versions. However, you’ll leave yourself wanting where the gameplay is concerned as while the PC version plays like a straight-up shooter, the console versions play more like a Metroidvania title with powerups allowing you further progress into areas previously visited in the game. Console and PC versions of a game have rarely been as different as what Exhumed had to offer across the various platforms.
It has its faults, there’s no doubt about that. The enemies are initially very repetitive with little variation until you get a couple of hours under your belt. It’s definitely in need of a remake or HD touch-up as it hasn’t aged well visually, but it does pull off the Egyptian vibe very well. Music plays throughout the game but again, repetition soon settles in when you realise there’s only so many Egyptian styled tracks you can listen to whilst playing a game for a few hours.
I like Exhumed, and was surprised to find generally average review scores for it. It was ahead of it’s time where the console versions were consoled, both with the Metroid style play and the 3D engine on display which looked awesome for 1996. It should be fairly cheap to find in car boots or gaming markets so hunt it down if you can, it’s worth the play-through!
Catch me walking like an Egyptian @auto2112