Space Hulk


Title		Space Hulk
Game Type	3D Combat Sim
Publisher	Electronic Arts (1993)
Players		1
Compatibility	All with Patch
HD Installable	Yes (with Patch)
Submission	Stuart Wilson

Review
Anyone who has Warhammer 40k models may (vaguely) remember this: Space
Hulk was a table top, turn based game where massive Terminators of a force
known as the Space Marines did battle with hoards of Genestealers in an
attempt to purge them from the Universe. The Space Hulks themselves are
vast remnants of ships the crew of which has long since perished, if not
through the rigours of deep space travel then by the invasion of the evil
Genestealers. They travel through space waiting for the moment when a
planets gravity will pull them in, so they can spawn.

And this is what the Terminators are up against. Thankfully there are
tutorials to ease you into the flow of the game. The Tutorial Missions are
divided into two groups: Basic and Advanced. Basic teaches you the art of
moving your Terminators around while advanced demonstrates the value of
advanced tactical planning. The view screen itself has two modes:
First-person, (which diplays 5 screens relating to your 5 Terminators in a
manner not unlike Team Yankee or Hired Guns) where the action happens, and
overhead map. You can flip between the FP and Map Screens to give orders
to your Terminators, and if things are getting a little bit hectic, you
can resort to the 'freeze time' mode. This may sound ridiculous as you can
simply freeze the time issue the orders, continue the game, freeze time,
make a cup of tea etc and continue merrily destroying everything in your
path. ....Not so. The Freeze time is limited - planning must be done
extremely quickly, any failures in planning will become apparent VERY
rapidly as hoards of Genestealers come screaming down a dank dingy
corridor and rip your once-proud terminators into lots of tiny shreads of
flesh.

The atmosphere in this game is quite fantastic: The sound effects coupled
with the rapidly diminshing perspective of the dark corridors means you
are constantly on the alert. Well, I wasn't because I kept getting killed.
But anyway... One aspect I found fascinating was the AI: There will be a
couple of Genestealers just around the corner in front of you, no big deal
until you go to the map screen and realise with horror that it was a
decoy: they have sent about 3 to take you from behind. So you order a
Terminator to provide backup. Except in my case, when he reached the
destination and FACED THE WRONG WAY ...with inevitable results.

The actual missions themselves are fiendishly complex. With different
armaments to choose from, you must utilise each weapon's specific features
effectively, or things will become rather difficult. Certain missions
require you to enter a Hulk, retrieve an item of historical importance and
leave as soon as possible without being killed. Thankfully there is a
booklet included which gives a description of each mission, and
occasionally the ideal weapons for it, but because of the nature of the
game this does not make life any easier. I would recommend this to anyone
but for two things. The first being the obtrusive disk-swapping, a HD
installation program would have improved things immensely (thankfully this
is now solved with the JST patch on Aminet) but also the difficulty of the
game itself. I found tutorial 5 (hope this has piqued your curiosity!)
erm, bloody hard. This is with just two Terminators, and some missions
demand the control of up to 10 at any one time. I still haven't finished
it yet and I've had this game for about 5 or 6 years now. It's not for
want of trying... However, for those who REALLY like a challenge this
perhaps should be a must buy, particularly for fans of Warhammer 40k where
the action is in real time (except for the freeze-time concept). I on the
other hand, found it just too darned difficult, so perhaps inexperienced
gamers should give it a miss.

Graphics: 78%
Sound: 63%
Playablilty: 75%
Addictiveness: 84%

Overall: 75%



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