Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels
Let's be honest about this, I knew what I was dealing with even before I sat down and loaded this game up. I played the original pc version of Space Hulk to death, decided it was something pretty special indeed, and had only recently revisited this game of games in its 3D0 incarnation. Well quelle surprise, the 3do version is even better than the pc original. It features a selection of the best missions the pc version had to offer, and has an entirely new campaign to boot. And to top it all off, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous.
The Windows 95 version (ie the one under review here) is basically a straight conversion of Space Hulk 3D0. It's identical in every way, but with a few exceptions, naturally (more on those later). So what you'll get for your money is basically more levels of the original Space Hulk game, with maybe a few graphical improvements, right? Well, not entirely. There's more to this version of EA's classic strategic blood-fest than initially meets the eye. Before we delve deeper into that however, it might be an idea to bring those who have yet to be converted to the Space Hulk cause up to date.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the game, it's basically a first-person perspective shoot 'em up with incredibly clever strategic elements. When it was first released it wowed game reviewers across the land. It wowed the public too, who promptly rushed out and coughed up their readies for it. Indeed, it's still widely regarded as an all-time 'strategy classic'. There are many reasons why the videogame world has elevated the game to cult status. For starters, the game's designers have managed to surpass the achievements of anyone else since Midwinter arrived on the pc many moons ago; they created an action-based strategy game dripping with a tense, foreboding atmosphere without resorting to the ploy of dropping in highly unconvincing spooky noises at key moments. Your role in the game is that of an incredibly tough space marine whose job it is to board lots of different 'hulks' (empty spaceship bits, basically) and rid the world of nasty alien monsties called genestealers.
The game is played out over a series of missions. At the beginning of each mission you are given a briefing by your boss who keeps referring to you as brother', even though by no stretch of the imagination are you related to him. Your objectives vary from killing genestealers and performing mundane tasks like closing doors and finding relics, to performing aforementioned mundane tasks and er, bumping off more genestealers. The more embroiled in the game you get. the more interesting it becomes, as later on you find yourself in command of your fellow space marines, and it's up to you to bark out orders during the missions. What all this stuff adds up to is one absolutely top game that has kept me quiet for a good month or two (Hoorah! -Ed). This new version follows an identical gameplay format to the original except, well, it's more difficult. Much more difficult in fact...
Come on if you think you're hard enough...
All Space Hulk 'experts' heed my words: I don't care how often you played the original Space Hulk. I don't care how good you think you are at it. I don't give a monkey's tit either how hard you think you are -this game will cut you straight down to size about an hour into the new campaign. The genestealers are much tougher, and the bastards move around the place at the speed of light. Gone are the days of leisurely sorting out your mission objectives before kicking genestealer butt. If you don't take this lot out quickly, the last things you'll need to worry about are your mission objectives. Consequently, the further you get into the game, the more you'll find yourself replaying missions before completing them successfully. This means you'll have to give a lot more careful thought to your strategies before you embark on a mission, rather than just wading into the genestealers with all guns blazing, a tactic that often paid off in the original game.
I reckon the new difficulty level is a brilliant idea. It makes the strategy side even more crucial to success than ever before. Newcomers to the game will undoubtedly find it a bit daunting, but they can always go through the training levels and extra missions so that they can learn the ropes before taking on the big boys at campaign level. If you're up for a challenge, this is the game for you.
Download Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP