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SPACE HULK  (online)
FULL CONTROL STUDIOS + GAMES WORKSHOP

Despite there being a few games for the PC and game consoles, SPACE HULK is best known as a Games Workshop boardgame. Then it was a 2-player game with each player controlling either a unit of trained Space Marine Terminators - men in huge Mech Fighting Machines - or a swarm of Aliens known as Genestealers. The Terminators are armed to the teeth, fully trained and capable of long distance combat via the numerous laser and blaster weapons they carry. The Genestealers are sneaky and appear on the board simply as blips - counters that do not reveal the exact number of creatures in the blip until their controller is ready.

This PC version does keep quite faithful to the boardgame. The Genestealers are seen as flashing red blips which only materialise into actual creatures when they are in view of the Terminators. The Terminators move sluggishly, under awful mouse/key control, and need a controller (player) who is good at Tactics and Strategies; any fighting at close-in is almost certainly going to see the death of the Space Marine. Yes they do have swords and guns but the Genestealers have speed, multi-attacks and sharp claws capable of ripping through a terminators armour with ease.

During combat if you observe the bottom right box onscreen you will see a text version of the fight including the results of the dice rolls by both Genestealer and Terminator, and in a way that's what this game comes down to, invisible die rolls!

Above you can see one of the maps that the Space Marines can see. It shows (red blips) where the Genestealers will / can appear from. These are the nests that the Terminators need to wipe out, though that sounds a hell of a lot easier than it is.

Visually the PC game is good. You have an overhead view of the movement until combat where the view turns into a close up, the details on the creatures and Marines being excellent and worthy of any Games Workshop store painting demonstration. During movement you can see, in a camera box top right of the screen, the view of the Terminator moving - this is a neat touch that doesn't improve the gameplay but it does give you an added visual aid. You need this visual aid to take your mind off the clunking slow movement and the horrible mouse use to turm the Marine to the facing you require. In the boardgame you simply pick up the model and place it where it's movement allowance allows it and facing how you want, game rules allowing, this takes one maybe two seconds - in the PC version you could fall asleep waiting for our orders to be obeyed, and trying to turn the Marine on the spot is a new game in itself. What should have been a great technologically brilliant boardgame to Computer conversion has turned into a graphically excellent online contest that makes Chess look fast.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015