|Bereits am PC brachte die Brettspiel-Versoftung des futuristischen „Warhammer 4000“-Szenarios den Himmel nicht gerade zum Leuchten – am Amiga gerieten die SF-Schlachten endgültig zum Rohrkrepierer...|
Schade, denn das brettharte Original von Games Workshop erfreut sich mit Recht einiger Beliebtheit: Hundsgemeine Aliens (die „Genestealer“) reisen mit ihren Schiffen (den „Hulks“) durchs All, um bei jeder sich bietenden Gelegenheit die Menschheit zu terrorisieren. Unsereins schlägt zurück, indem bis zu zwei Temas aus je fünf Soldaten (die „Terminatoren“) diese Hulks stürmen und dort, abhängig von der Mission, Außerirdische eliminieren, Artefakte erbeuten oder bestimmte Örtlichkeiten via Flammenwerfer unpassierbar machen. Anhand von Trainingsaufgaben darf man sich erst mal mit dem Echtzeit-Gameplay auf der etwas kargen 2D-Karte des jeweiligen Raumers vertraut machen; von hier werden die Mannen befehligt. Daneben kann jederzeit schickere 3D-Optik aufgerufen werden, wo auf mehreren Bildschirmen der Blickwinkel jedes Soldaten abrufbar ist.
Hüben wie drüben kommt eine ziemlich gewöhnungsbedürftige Kombination aus Maus- und Tastatursteuerung zum Einsatz, dazu gibt es recht ordentliche Sounds und Musikstücke. Doch der Spielablauf ist leider alles anders als ordentlich: Allüberall beherrschen Hektik und Unübersichtlichkeit das (Schlacht-) Feld, außerdem sind die Aufgabenstellungen geradezu einschläfernd monoton.
Bedenkt man jetzt noch die elend langen Wartezeiten der Amigaversion (an eine HD-Installation wurde trotz A1200-Tauglichkeit nicht gedacht), so kann Space Hulk wahrhaftig keinen Genestealer mehr hinter der Laserkanone hervorlocken. Hier hatte Electronic Arts wortwörtlich ein Brett vorm Kopf... (mic)
Amiga Joker, November 1993, p.96
If you’re into trouble, if nobody else can help and if you can get him out of bed, maybe you could hire Tony Dillon.
on’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.’ OK, so it isn’t that kind of Space Hulk, but the fact still remains that not many people do like me when I’m angry. I shout a lot and throw things about. All in all, I can get fairly frightening and imposing, which is probably why I relate so well to Electronic Arts’ stunning new space-bound escapade.
The game is set far into the future and tells the tale of a collection of warriors called the Terminators, who have been specially bred and equipped to deal with a new form of alien. Forget Space Crusade’s Soul Suckers and Dreadnaughts – they’re eight-stone wimps compared to Genestealers. These things are so tough, that the first time a platoon of Space Marines bumped into them, they were wiped out completely. And the second. And the third. Do you get my drift?
In this future the only way to travel interstellar space is to enter something called The Warp. This parallel universe compresses distances but is extremely dangerous to travel in. The main reason being that it is full of Genestealers and other more unspeakably horrific malevolent alien entities. Sometimes ships are damaged or lost and become infested with aliens. When the ships jump back to normal space they’re carrying a cargo of vicious killer aliens just itching to decimate the nearest planet. I told you they were mean. That is why you get to control up to 10 Terminators over dozens of missions against these things. Well, everyone likes a challenge.
First off, you have the arcade element of the game. I did a Mystic Meg and asked you to close your shot on this page that ‘leapt out at you’, chances are you’d go for one of the big ones with the huge slobbering alien crawling all over it. This is the arcade section of the game. Each mission is laid out in a similar style to Space Crusade, with large corridors leading in and out of massive control rooms, with one major difference. It is all viewed in moving first-person perspective, in real time. None of the nancy ‘turns’ that most people seem to go for. Next to the large picture in the middle of the screen shot, you will spot four arrows and a circle. These are your controls, and with these you have to move around the complex blowing away all the aliens that come at you. In a way, this game owes a lot to the old license of the movie Aliens. Not the crap Aliens US, that had a couple of nice graphics but little in the way of suspense. No, the UK Aliens game, where you never quite knew where the aliens were, and umped out of your skin as soon as you saw one coming. Picture Dungeon Master and throw in a bit of Jacob’s Ladder, and you should get some idea of exactly what kind of atmosphere this game piles on.
FIND THE MAGIC TREE
Finally, and most importantly, there is strategy, and this is where everything ties together. To all intents and purposes, Space Hulk is a strategy game, but like no other. It proves the maxim that no battle was ever won by plans, and no war was ever won by action alone. OK, so it is not a well know maxim, but that is how it goes, word for word. I should know, I just made it up. With a separate planning screen, you can issue orders to each of your troops to go to certain locations and do specific things. Were this less of a game, you would be able to play the entire game from this screen, but the problem is that this screen does not give you the chance to exercise your reflexes. The arcade segments do, and believe me when I say you are going to spend a long time learning when to flick between the two, or just how to stay alive long enough in a mission to actively use both. This is a very, very tough game to beat.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
The presentation of Space Hulk is amazing. Visually, it is superb, with the dimly-lit corridors making the more claustrophobic among us itch. Sure, there is a scanner there for us to check the location of the aliens, but that does not stop you jumping when one rushes across one of your troop’s field of vision. Everything is laid out in a sensible way, and actually controlling the game is a doddle right from the first time you play. Just as well really, as it takes so long to actually settle down and start playing properly.
CU Amiga, October 1993, p.p.82-84