If you're looking for a different kind of strategy game, and you haven't already bought Space Hulk on disk, then don't waste time reading this review - go out and buy it right this minute. If you're thinking about getting the cd version however, then read on, because it's not necessarily the version you should buy, even if you do have a cd drive.
But for the benefit of those readers, who didn't catch the original review back in issue three, let's recap. Space Hulk was originally a board game, designed by Games Workshop. Ordinarily, board games don't translate well to computer game, but Space Hulk is a phenomenal exception. It's the far future and mankind has encountered a hostile alien race called Genestealers. These rabid purple beasties hang out in derelict spaceships (named space hulks, as in the title), floating around until they happen upon an unsuspecting colony of humans to destroy.
Fortunately for humanity, space hulks are also frequented by a bunch of good guys called Space Marines, who like nothing better than whiling away a Sunday afternoon by turning Genestealers into dog meat. It's your task to lead the marines on missions that range from eliminating a set proportion of unwanted alien life to rescuing trapped marines.
What sets Space Hulk apart from other fast-paced strategy games is the unique combination of top-down strategic planning and realtime, nightmarish, shoot 'em up sequences in claustrophobic corridors. While the 3D graphics aren't exactly in the Doom category, they're realistic enough, especially when coupled with the ace sound effects, which generate a nail-biting atmosphere.
Ah... the sounds. Here comes my only real problem with the CD version of the game (although I must stress, it is a big problem). Having a lot more space to work with, the designers have gone to the trouble of adding some additional sampled sounds. Okay, nothing wrong with that. Well there shouldn't be, but the extra samples are deficient in two ways. Firstly, the quality of some of the extra speech - even through a 16-bit sound card - is appalling. What really can't be forgiven though is that the voice-overs seem to have been recorded by the producer's dad, or next-door neighbour or something. The sound of a man with as much acting talent as an extra for Eldorado, mouthing such trite phrases as "They came, they died", managed to totally destroy the atmosphere.
There is some consolation to be had from the nine extra missions and new animated sequences that have been included in this version (especially since the former are difficult enough to challenge even hardened players). All the same, I can't help being left with the feeling that Space Hulk on cd is an opportunity that has been sadly wasted.
Download Space Hulk
Space Hulk For Windows 95? Big deal, you might be thinking. Well it is a big deal. What we're looking at here is not a souped-up version of the original Space Hulk pc game, but a rather spiffing conversion of Space Hulk on 3DO, which is justifiably regarded as being the best version to date. For those of you unfamiliar with this little gem of a strategy game, here's a brief recap on what it's all about...
An enormous hulk made up of several derelict space craft is hurtling towards the Imperial Planet Delvar III. You, as leader of the Blood Angel Terminators (well 'ard space marines), are tasked with stopping the thing before it gets to the planet and destroys it. Several torpedoes are launched at the hulk, enabling you and your team to climb on board. Once inside, you're faced with hordes of Genestealers (horrid nasty alien thingies) all of whom are intent on wasting you and your army of do-gooders. Your objective is to wade through the aliens and get to the hulk's engines so you can shut them down. But this is easier said than done, with Genestealers lunging at you from every direction. In fact, if you thought the first game was difficult, you're in for a bit of a shock when you see this one. The artificial intelligence for the Genestealers has been significantly tweaked, making Vengeance of the Blood Angels an even greater challenge than its predecessor.
Thankfully, there are training missions to help you get used to the interface before wading into a full campaign. You would be well advised to take advantage of these, as the campaign missions get very tough very quickly. Apart from making the game a lot more difficult, HA have also made major improvenents in the graphics department...
All the sprites and backgrounds in the game are in svga. Obviously this makes the whole game look more detailed, but you'll really notice the difference when you come face to face with a roaming Genestealer (this is what made the 3D0 version so good -the close-up graphics were quite amazing). The missions have been "improved" according to the press info we were sent, though exactly what the improvements are was not made clear. Probably the most exciting thing about this pc version is the inclusion of network play - up to ten people can battle to the death with each other over a network. Of course this is where pc gaming really comes into its own, so the addition of a multi-player option can only serve to enhance what was already a well smart game in the first place. We haven't actually seen a working version of Space Hulk yet, but you can be sure that when it arrives at PC we'll all be fighting over who gets to have the first look at it. As always, we will bring you a full review of the game as soon as we get our hands on it.
The story so far
Space Hulk PC
Space Hulk was originally a board game from Games Workshop. The first computer version was released on PC and to a large extent was faithful to the original board game. The VGA graphics were pretty cool at the time and the gameplay was very moody and atmospheric. The CD version had speech for all the characters in the game but this ruined the atmosphere somewhat.
Space Hulk 3DO
The 3D0 version of the game had all-new missions, glorious graphics and a superb soundtrack. It beat the PC version in every department and was immediately hailed as the saviour for the 3D0 (er, the 3D0 had a slight problem in as much as most of the games for it have been a bit crap). In truth, the 3D0 version was what the PC version should have been in the first place.
Space Hulk for Windows 95
EA put many wrongs to right with this new version of the game, which basically takes the guts of the 3DO version and makes the whole thing even better still. SVGA graphics and a multi-player option add a new dimension to the Space Hulk experience. At last PC owners can claim to have the definitive version of one of the best strategy games ever to grace a PC.
Space Hulk is based on the old Games Workshop miniatures war game. The video game version puts the player in the role of a Blood Angel Space Marine. You have been given the honor of cleansing a Space Hulk, which are giant conglomerations of metal drifting through space. Inside lurk the Gene Stealers that you must destroy.
Space Hulk is done in a similar fashion as Doom, with you strategically eliminating the aliens in a 3-D environment. You are armed with several deadly weapons like Flamers and Bolters. You'll need them, because the Gene Stealers swarm around you. Also aiding you is your motion detector, which can help prevent deadly surprises.
The 3DO version bears some resemblance to the PC game, but it is much more action oriented. This is great for players who like the Games Workshop titles.
With a pretentious title like Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels, you'd expect a serious yet entertaining game. As it turns out, the gameplay is just as long and arduous as the title.
The game, based on the 1993 PC title, is about a contingent of Imperial Space Marines called the Blood Angels. They have boarded a derelict ship called the Space Hulk, where packs of killer aliens called CeneStealers have set up shop. They want you to leave the ship alone.
Your Terminator Marines are equipped with a set arsenal of weapons. Some have rifles, some have flamethrowers, and some have assault cannons. You won't find additional armaments.
The CeneStealers possess incredible intelligence (how the ship strayed off course is a mystery), but their attack pattern is simple - it's called the bum rush. They gang up on you in droves, usually catching you unaware. Before you know it, you're up to your eyeballs in aliens.
Unfortunately, your Terminators are slow and bulky, and sometimes even your weapon has trouble finding the target. If a CeneStealer gets behind you, have him notify your next of kin.
What the Hulk?
The visual show is great. The fully ray-traced CeneStealers look impressive, and the gore sticking to walls after a direct hit is gooey enough for an adult rating. All the levels look the same, however, and there's little variety in the enemies.
Crystal-dear sounds, like flames roaring through a passageway, are very effective. There are also tons of voice overs, which are kind of creepy. Hearing the person in charge of the mission laughing maniacally and screaming "This is for Ezekiel!" really makes your skin crawl.
If Space Hulk were faster and less complicated, it might have been a truly formidable 3DO action disc. But throwing technical missions and multiple Terminators into the fray only serves to clog the alien homicide with hulking game-play. If you want to think before you shoot - and think a lot - then maybe this Blood's for you.
- Send a Flamer into any large room first, then flame the room. Send in a shooter to mop up.
- Shoot in small bursts. Excessive shooting makes the gun overheat and jam.
- When you're face to face with an alien, press Button B to parry an attack, then press Button A to electrocute them.
- Place your Terminators at hallway turns but not at tourway intersections. It's too easy for GeneStealers to bum rush you from all four sides.
- Don't shoot these orbs or you'll die! Instead, get near them and press Button A to pick them up.
- When an alien is rushing down the hall, find the sweet spot where the bullet connects for a kill. Keep your gun locked in that position as you move down the hall. Re-aim your gun whenever you change your Terminator's position.
Space Hulk feels like a port of an outdated PC game, and unsurprisingly, it is. This Hulk trips over a stuffy combination of strategy and Doom-style shooting.
If you can decipher the unnecessarily complex controls and story line, you'll learn that you play as a space marine battling a vicious species of parasitic predators. In terms of gameplay, that means you run a squad of marines, sending them off to perform tasks like guarding, torching rooms, and so on. All 43 missions feel the same after a while, and neither the shooting nor the strategic planning ever become engrossing. Likewise, the clean but repetitive graphics and unremarkable sounds never involve you.
If strategy games are your bread and butter, Space Hulk might be worth a rental. Otherwise, blast this Hulk deep into outer space.
- Use the handy map to locate oncoming enemies and shoot ahead into the darkness to eliminate the threat before it arrives.
- If an enemy gets in close, pound Button O to block and then electrocute them.
When I originally saw Space Hulk I thought to myself, Great. Another Doom done' Sure, I had heard of the versions out for 3DO and other platforms but I never really took a good look. I loaded up Space Hulk for the PlayStation with an open mind because I wanted to know what It was really all about. I was pleasantly surprised. The graphics were sharp. They moved a bit slow but for this type of game that really wasn't a big deal. The monsters were cool looking even though they were all the same. There are plenty of missions to complete and It has an Interesting motif. If you're looking for something In-depth, Space Hulk Is for you.
Take the graphics of Doom and sprinkle It with the anxiety of any of the Allens movies, and you have Space Hulk. You have to play this game to see (and feel) what 1 mean by anxiety. This game Is different than any Doom clone because you have to design a plan with your team. You cannot Just rush In wherever you wantet won't work. You have to utilize your resources and place teammates In strategic locations to fulfill your main dlrectlves.The movement and therefore the action, Is a slow plod. You won't find any excitement there. What Space Hulk offers Is a scary and difficult first-person perspective strategy game.
Don't be misled by screen shots--this game Is not an action-packed Doom done. Rather, SH is a strategy game In which you guide around a team of armored, gun-totlng soldiers as they go about specific missions. While you must blow away the occasional alien, the game is by no means an edge-of-your-seat kilofoot. You spend more time giving your soldiers orders and placing them in strategic positions than attacking the enemy. The game's plot is imaginative (It's based on a popular board game) and your mission objedlves are always Interesting, but the sorry graphic really let this title down. They're way too grainy and choppy.
Space Hulk could have scored extremely high. Everything was there: the graphics, the music, the sound effects. The slow movement was what hurt H1 understand that it needed to be a slower pace, since this Is a combination of a strategy game with an action game. It's a catch 22. If they would've sped up the game, then it'd be unplayable. The best part of Space Hulk Is how the mood was set with all of the sound effects and dark tunnels, 1 was thrown deep Into the role of a space marine. It was a scary rolel I also liked controlling several soldiers at once. It added to the anxiety of the moment.
As an Imperial Space Marine, you embark on a mission to board an out-of-control space hulk that's hurtling toward an overpopulated planet. Unfortunately, the hulk is filled with debris and hostile aliens.
Up to eight players can join in this action game as you explore the ship's corridors and try to shut down the engines. Sharp, ray-traced animations juice the Doom-style shooting action.
Electronic Arts wowed us with this title on the 3DO. With its great graphics, its engrossing gameplay and some truly spooky atmosphere, Space Hulk became one of the great 3DO games.
You play one of a group of "Terminators" whose job it is to battle the evil Genestealers throughout the galaxy. In this particular game, you must venture into a huge, derelict space ship and search out archive data. Besides the campaign option, you can also play scenarios made popular on the PC version and the original board game.
What makes Space Hulk so much fun is that it requires much more strategy than your standard Doom-clone.You're only one of a group of soldiers and must function as part of the unit.Your job is to watch your buddy's back and carry out your leg of the operation, whether it be setting explosives, say, or guarding a hatchway. As you progress through the game, you will take command of the whole group and will have to deploy them as you see fit.Those Genestealers are ferocious and plentiful, so you'll have to deploy your personnel wisely.
While the overall package is good, there are features of Space Hulk that should have been much better. Since this version, as far as I can tell, is an exact port of the 3DO, the graphics aren't as good as they should be. Neither are the scrolling or the sound. One aspect of the game with the most impact is the chatter amongst Terminators and the commander.The dialogue splicing, however, is a bit choppy and redundant, almost dispelling the illusion of the situation.
Space Hulk still offers you excellent playability and a superb storyline which propels the game at an intense pace. Although it may be a little disappointing for those familiar with the game, Space Hulk remains a worthy addition to your PlayStation library and is recommended for those of you yet to play it.
When you've earned the right to control the movement of the Terminators, placement is of the utmost importance. You'll get nowhere in this game if you don't properly disperse these guys in order to cut down the Gene-stealers. Make sure that everyone's back is covered and that, where possible, you set up your troops to catch the enemy in a crossfire.This way they'll go down a whole lot faster.
This game is tough! I played this for quite a while and I never once made it through a mission. That's not to say that this is a bad game, though just hard. As I ran around the level trying to place Marines in strategic locations, these beasts swarmed around me and I was totally terrified! Switching from one Marine to the next is a race against the death clock. True. I was never alive long enough to see the end of a mission, but I wouldn't hesitate to spark it up and try it again.
I like strategy. I do not like frustration. Both can be experienced in the first few seconds of playing this game. Patience-a-plenty should be listed on the side of this box as a system requirement. Sure, the intense game play was enjoyable (another rare quality nowadays--fun!), but the difficulty should be turned down a smidgen. The setting and overall look of the game is to be commended--it's very environmental. I tried to enjoy this one as long as I stayed alive.
Let me tell you. this is nothing like the board game. This will scare you for the three seconds that you are alive. The tyranids are fast and way too powerful. I like the attention to detail--from the drool of the GeneStealers to the insignias of the Blood Angels. The graphics are outstanding, but you won't live long enough to enjoy them. It's hard to switch Space Marines, and the collision between them causes lots of jams. Space Hulk is cool but way too hard.
I like this game from what I could see of it. It took a lot of maneuvering just to stay alive long enough to review it. The game has a great eerie feel and the graphics complement it rather well. Still, I have to comment on the incredible frustration I went through to play it. Even from the very start, you will die in a matter of seconds. It takes a long time to master your crew and learn how to position them. Definitely a game for the advanced player who has a lot of patience.
Snapshots and Media
- Doom 3
- Quake II
- Quake 3 Arena
- Quake 4
- Quake 64
- Return to Castle Wolfenstein
- Zero Tolerance
- Zero Tolerence - Beyond Zero Tolerance
- Dark Reign: The Future of War
- The Incredible Hulk
- Tribal Rage
- Warhammer 40,000: Rites of War
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine