Review - Space Hulk

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mikemacdee
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Review - Space Hulk

Post by mikemacdee » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:33 am

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This was a review I wrote for another forum years ago, but I thought it'd be useful here since the game hasn't been reviewed yet.

One of the absolute top three games for the 3DO has got to be the vintage Warhammer40K title, Space Hulk (additionally released on the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn). In this game, you play one of a large number of biblically named space marines called the Blood Angels, who get sent on missions against these nasty aliens called Genestealers, who look like Pumpkinhead’s next-of-kin.

You spend most of the game walking around very dark corridors in a bulky combat suit, praying to god that you don’t have to fight more than one Pumpkinhead. The aliens have the upper hand: they’re fast, they’re infinite in number, and they only have to get next to you to kill your slow, clumsy ass. You get plenty of sweet weapons built into your armor for protection, depending which marine you are, from big cannons to electrode claws to my personal favorite, the flamer, which fires a napalm bomb that fills a large area with deadly flames. Of course, your weapons can run dry, overheat, and even jam, proving that your ultra hi-tech weapons can still fail you and leave you at a horrendous disadvantage when you're forced to fight Genestealers in melee combat (their forte). Except with the flamer, "fail you" is fairly inaccurate. If your mission is to torch a room, and you open up on the target area, and your aim is off by two inches--BOOM. The other space marines share your crispy fried carcass on the trip home.

Gameplay involves switching back-and-forth between the first-person mode and the map mode. The map mode allows you to issue a series of commands to your troops: moving to destinations, guarding corridors (and blasting whatever hostiles cross their line of sight), flaming designated targets, following specific comrades, etc. In first person mode you take direct control of one space marine and can switch to any other marines in your party provided they aren't being digested already.

All your AI-controlled buddies communicate through an open radio frequency, which is, except for a few ambient noises, pretty much the only in-game soundtrack Space Hulk has to offer, which heightens the overall sense of dread permeating every dark-and-dingy near-suicidal mission. The fact that you’re food regardless of your firepower makes me love the game even more...though I can’t say I always enjoy the suicidal missions I’m sent on by the Blood Angels’ raving thespian of a leader. Hell, my first time playing the game was an utter disaster.

(The following is a dramatization of my first two missions. SERGIO represents me, HOME represents homebase, sounds are encased in brackets, and everything in quotes is spoken by my NPC comrades.)

HOME: Here are your objectives: Make it to this room without getting dead. Oh, and try to find AN ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER while you’re scrambling around in there.
(Mission starts)
HOME: Sergio, search this area for AN ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER.
SERGIO: Okay, roger that, Base.
(Sergio walks to Room #11)
SERGIO: I found it! It’s right behind that landmine-! ...shit.
HOME: Sergio, retrieve the ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER from this point.
SERGIO: I can’t. There’s a landmine. And my stupid suit won’t let me jump over it.
HOME: Sergio, retrieve the ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER from this point.
SERGIO: I can’t! There’s a freaking landmine in front of it! It spawned right behind a landmine in a room with only one doorway!
>blam blam SPLAT<
“Hahahahahahaa!”
SERGIO: Hey, if you’re not too busy, guys, I could use a hand over here!
>blam blam blam<
>HISSSSS<
“I can smell them!”
“Come out and fight!”
>blam blam SPLAT<
SERGIO: Hey, dumbasses! I need assistance!
“I cannot find AN ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER.”
SERGIO: That’s because it’s over here behind the goddamned landmine!
HOME: Sergio, retrieve the ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER from this point.
SERGIO: Yeah, Base, I’m working on it.
>blam blam<
>Snarl<
“Auuuggh!”
“Octavius has perished!”
SERGIO: Great! Bring him over here! I got a job for him!
HOME: Sergio, retrieve the ARCHIVED RECORD VIEWER from this point.
SERGIO: Oh, for the love of-! Fine. Maybe I can walk around it...
>BOOOOOMMM<

HOME: You have been killed.
SERGIO: No shit.
(Sergio hits “Play Different Mission”.)

HOME: Here are your objectives: Place at least TWO FIELD GENERATORS at this point. Try not to fuck up this time, people.
SERGIO: Alright, I got a lotta guys today. Let’s hope this mission goes better than the last one.
HOME: Sergio, move to this point.
SERGIO: Yessir, Home Base, Sir.
(Sergio follows the red arrow to the red square on the map.)
“We are their doom!”
SERGIO: Uh, yeah. Yeah, what he said.
>clunk<
“What was that?”
HOME: Sergio, move to this hallway and watch this direction.
SERGIO: Sir, yes, Sir!
(Sergio moves to the designated hallway and parks his suit, staring north.)
HOME: Sergio, await further instructions.
SERGIO: Umm...okay.
“I can smell them...”
“Objective met!”
>clunk<
>thump thump thump<
“Here they come!”
>Hisssss<
“There are hundreds of them!”
>Snarl<
>blam blam blam SPLAT blam blam SPLAT<
HOME: Sergio, await further instructions.
SERGIO: ......
>blam blam SPLAT<
“Hahahahahahaa!”
“There’s no end to them!”
“Nathaniel has been killed!”
>blam blam SPLAT<
>SNARL<
>HISSSSS<
“Aaaaaaaggghh!!”
“Octavius has perished!”
>fwoooshhh<
>Hisss<
>SNARLhisss<
>blam blam<
“This is for Nathaniel!!”
SERGIO: ...umm...
HOME: Sergio, await further instructions.
SERGIO: Yeah, about that...?
>BOOMMM<
“Uuugh!!”
“Amael is down!”
“We know no fear!”
>blam blam blam<
>SNARLhisssss<
>..............<
SERGIO: ..............
>..............<
>..............<
>howwwwwwwlllll<
HOME: Sergio, advance to this room.
SERGIO: Negative. That is a Fuck You, Home Base. Returning to drop ship.*


Space Hulk was a new thing for me. I dug the crude terminator armor suits and the absolutely demented history of Warhammer40K. Despite the wolfenstein-esque design of the maps, the atmosphere and the intense gameplay -- a handful of mercs against an endless horde coming from all sides -- leaves the player on the edge of his seat at all times. I even found myself looking over my shoulder IRL more than once. There’s never a moment in Space Hulk when my heart isn’t pumping twice its preferred rate. I recommend this title to any vintage gamer with a 3DO, Playstation, or Sega Saturn; though for some idiotic reason the radar in the Playstation version lacks the intensely useful blip sounds, which means Genestealers will be getting the drop on you all the time.


Graphics Considering the Date of Release - A

Strategic Gameplay - B

Scary Atmosphere - A

Frantic Scrambling and Screaming - A

Frequent Mission Restarts - A+

Final Grade - A


*Please note that this entry was a reenactment. Some characters' names were changed due to faulty memory.**

**All except for Octavius, who never fails to feed himself to the Pumpkinhead brood. Fucking Octavius.

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Post by 3DO Experience » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:00 pm

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While reading your dramatization my memory did not fail to use the correct voices and sound effects as I read. :D
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Austin
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Post by Austin » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:29 am

3DO Experience wrote:While reading your dramatization my memory did not fail to use the correct voices and sound effects as I read. :D
I barely got anywhere in this game, yet my mind was doing the same thing. :lol:

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Trev
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Post by Trev » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:11 am

Austin wrote:
3DO Experience wrote:While reading your dramatization my memory did not fail to use the correct voices and sound effects as I read. :D
I barely got anywhere in this game, yet my mind was doing the same thing. :lol:
Same here
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Post by thomasmillar » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:08 pm

3DO Experience wrote:Image

While reading your dramatization my memory did not fail to use the correct voices and sound effects as I read. :D
i strongly agree...

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Post by BryWI » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:16 pm

I smell luncheon loaf.

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Scarlettkitten
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Post by Scarlettkitten » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:26 pm

Hmmm, a canned pork based product me thinks :lol:

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Post by Trev » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:17 pm

BryWI wrote:I smell luncheon loaf.
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