I have many fond memories of Space Hulk, of both the original and now out of print boardgame by Games Workshop that I played while studying in France in a game shop called Le Temple des Jeux in Tours and the PC adaptation of it by Electronic Arts (before it shortened its name to just EA). So it was with some excitement that I downloaded this new and free Space Hulk.
This one is a straight up adaptation of the board game, not the video game, and is single player only. It’s set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k universe and the player controls one or more squads of Space Marine Terminators on a mission to a Space Hulk, a huge derelict spaceship. These hulks now harbour the ferocious Genestealers, multi-limbed aliens with nasty claws and teeth that were probably inspired by the movie Alien and its sequels. The versatility of the original board game was that the “board” was actually composed of tiles that could be connected to each other in many different layouts according to the scenario being played. Each scenario has a different objective, varying from simply killing a set number of Genestealers, to retrieving an object from the hulk, to using your flamer to flame a specific area on the map.
As fun as the original board game was, I have to say that this version of it is sadly lacking in many important aspects. The interface is tricky to work with and the small size of the window and graphics make it hard to see what’s happening and where everything is. This is important because as the Space Marine player you need to calculate moves and distances very carefully to anticipate at what point the Genestealers will be able to rush you. And of course, let’s face it, a big part of the appeal of the board game was the sheer delight of working with the colourful tiles and moving the Space Marine and Genestealer miniatures around on them. It’s also fiendishly and unforgivingly hard. So, try this version if you’re wondering what the board game was all about or you’re feeling nostalgic for it, but otherwise, don’t bother.
(Oops, it looks as if downloads of the game have been discontinued because Games Workshop decided to throw a fit over it and the game proved to be more popular than the creators anticipated and the massive number of downloads have overloaded their hosting account. It seems that they’re trying to come to some agreement with Games Workshop so you might want to check on the site again from time to time.)