Here we are with yet another video game adaptation of a Games Workshop board game classic! This review was written awhile back, but was lost in the ether when the site was experiencing some issues, but I managed to find a backup copy recently in my Dropbox folder (it’s so handy!) so I’m now able to re-post the interview, and add some new thoughts since the game has been updated since fixing some of the minor annoyances there were with the game. And without further ado, the review!
Some of you may remember a 1989 board game from a little company called Games Workshop. This game was called Space Hulk, and it was set in GW’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. A space hulk is a derelict ship, and the premise of the game is that a group of Blood Angels land on, and infiltrate a space hulk while trying not to get killed by the Genestealers that have made the derelict vessel their home. This is the third video game released based on the board game, preceded by Space Hulk in 1993 for DOS, Amiga, and PC-98, and Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels in 1995 for 3D0, PC, Playstation, and the Saturn – marking this as the first Space Hulk game in 18 years!
The game is a turn-based, tactical strategy/action game. In the traditional board game, you needed 2 players, one to control the Blood Angels and one to control the Genestealers. In this latest video game incarnation, you can play 1 player against the AI, or 2 players either in hotseat mode or online. One of the best features about this game is that it features cross-platform multiplayer. This means people on any platform (iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux) can play against an opponent on any other platform, which is by far one of my favorite aspects of the game.
The visuals are very well done. The characters are well-modeled and animated, and the levels have a a sense of brooding atmosphere to them. I also like the helmet cams in the top right corner of the screen which shows you what the currently selected unit can see as they move around. It doesn’t add anything to the gameplay, but it’s a nice visual touch, right down to the blurry lines and artifacting indicating it’s being transmitted wirelessly from a long distance.
The sound is equally well put together. Music is sparse, but from the metallic clunking of the Blood Angels stomping around, to the voices of the units and the narrator, it all fits really well and is of top-notch quality – about what we’ve come to expect from other games based on the Warhammer 40,000 license.
In terms of content there are 2 story campaigns plus a short tutorial campaign, with 2 new campaigns available for purchase as DLC. Additionally there are some skin packs available as DLC as well. It will probably take a little while for you to get through the single player campaigns, but the multiplayer is where this game really shines, and where I have had the most enjoyment out of it, although the single player missions are fun to replay once in a while when you don’t have someone else to play with.
Finally, I just want to address some changes that have been made to the game since I wrote the review originally. There were two main issues that seemed to bother most reviewers: 1. Movement speed, and 2. Glitches. The movement speed didn’t really bother me all that much, because it was realistic. Space Marines are wearing gigantic, super heavy suits of armor and can’t be expected to move that fast – however, a lot of people got annoyed by this and were left unsatisfied with how long it took to play, especially those who were used to playing the actual board game. This issue however has been addressed as you can now select the movement speed for the Blood Angels and the Genestealers in the game. So kudos to Full Control for addressing that. As for the glitches, I didn’t experience any, really, but I heard reports of people claiming their marines would walk through walls and plummet out of the level, etc. I’m assuming these issues have been fixed as well as I haven’t been able to replicate them, and I haven’t heard any mention of them since the game was updated.
Overall, I think this game is definitely worth the money if you’re a fan of tactical, turn-based games, a fan of Warhammer, or indeed a fan of the original board game. I’m hoping to do a further review on the new campaign DLC as well in the near future so look out for that. Space Hulk is available on PC, Mac and Linux via Steam and Gamersgate, and on iOS.
Faithful re-creation of the original board game. Very well put together and I can't praise the cross-platform multiplayer enough. The $9.99 price tag on iOS might be a little easier to swallow than the $29.99 for the PC version for newcomers who aren't sure if they will like the game or not. In that case I would recommend buying on iOS or waiting for a Steam sale, but the game definitely delivers for the price tag, imo.