Friday’s Forgotten Few – Exhumed

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.

Messy times in Karnak town

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.

The Egyptian vibe is strong with this one

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.

An Egyptian map, yesterday

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.

That red blob is an enemy. Maybe.

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




  • This write-up is totally underwhelming for what was a fantastic game.

    • Carl Houghton

      If I had the time to do a massively huge write-up on this little fella, I would, but my daily pieces are more acknowledgements, nudges to remind gamers who may not be aware of such classics! 🙂 I appreciate the sentiment though, I will look at bulking up my dailies a bit more in future.

      • Hey Carl

        It wasn’t so much the length of the content: I get that it’s only meant to be a short piece. I was referring more to the fact that regardless of the length of the content, you didn’t seem to be trying very hard to give the game the coverage it arguably deserves.

        I mean, almost 1/5 of the copy discusses Doom and another 1/5 is reserved for complaints. Add some padding and you’re not left with much copy at all that actually aims to reflect any of the real strengths of the game or how important a release it was.

        I’m not sure that a gamer who hasn’t experienced the game yet is going to be convinced to track down the necessary hardware and software to play it based on this article which, given that this seems to be the main purpose of such articles, means that I was left pretty disappointed by it.

        Basically, it just reads like you were almost indifferent to it.

      • I posted a reply to this but it looks like you deleted it. Why did you do that? I’ll assume it was because I linked to a YouTube video so here it is without that link:

        Hey Carl

        It wasn’t so much the length of the content: I get that it’s only meant to be a short piece. I was referring more to the fact that regardless of the length of the content, you didn’t seem to be trying very hard to give the game the coverage it arguably deserves.

        I mean, almost 1/5 of the copy discusses Doom and another 1/5 is reserved for complaints. Add some padding and you’re not left with much copy at all that actually aims to reflect any of the real strengths of the game or how important a release it was.

        I’m not sure that a gamer who hasn’t experienced the game yet is going to be convinced to track down the necessary hardware and software to play it based on this article which, given that this seems to be the main purpose of such articles, means that I was left pretty disappointed by it.