Title Space Hulk (Second Review) Game Type 3D Combat Sim Publisher Electronic Arts (1993) Players 1 Compatibility All with Patch HD Installable Yes (with Patch) Submission Brian.S.Mogged@uwrf.edu This Amiga Report review appears here by courtesy of Jason Compton Review PRODUCT NAME Space Hulk BRIEF DESCRIPTION A 3-dimensional space game which has you going about shooting millions of aliens and finding rare artifacts. Based largely on the GDW classic board game. AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION Name: Electronic Arts Address: Slough PO Box 835 Slough, Berkshire, SL3 8XU PO Box 7586 San Mateo CA 94403-7586 USA Telephone: (315) 572-ARTS (USA) (0735) 546465 (UK) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (US) email@example.com (UK) LIST PRICE I paid $44.95 (US). I do not know the list price. SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS HARDWARE On the outside of the box it is written that it will run on the Amiga 500, 500+, 600, 1200, 2000, and 3000. It does not state that it will run on an A4000 HMMM!!! SOFTWARE None. COPY PROTECTION None, that I can tell.... They tell you to make a backup of all the disks before you play the game. The game will write to disk 3 extensively. MACHINE USED FOR TESTING Amiga 2000 with GVP 3001 card 8 megabytes RAM Two floppy drives 120 meg hard drive I tried to run it on: Amiga 1200 MBX030 board with 4 megs of memory, Two floppy drives 200 meg hard drive INSTALLATION No installation. Just put disks in the floppy drive and boot up the Amiga.... See "DISLIKES" below for complaints. INTRODUCTION In October of 1993, I went down to my local Amiga store to buy Hired Guns. Well, Hired Guns was not out yet, but they just got in Space Hulk. I had played Space Crusade from Gremlin and this looked close to it. So after a few minutes, I made the impulse buy of my lifetime. I bought Space Hulk and returned home with a smile on my face. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE GAME For those people who are not familiar with this game, here is a short summary of what it is all about. The game takes place in the far dark future. What happens is that warp space travel becomes commonplace. After thousands of years, there have been space ships that became lost in warp space itself. Every once in a while, a ship that has been lost might appear in real space for a while and then disappear. These ships are called Space Hulks. On some of these Space Hulks are some creatures who are called Genestealers. To make this explanation easier, Genestealers are evil and must be destroyed in all cases. You control up to ten Space Marines. Space Marines are armored warriors who have amazing amounts of weaponry. After selecting the level or "continue a save game", the player is given a mission to accomplish. These missions are like kill all Genestealers, get an ancient object, or both. After the mission briefing screen and after the game loads up, you are greeted with a "READY!" out of the speakers. On the screen in five windows is the front view of the players that you control. The bigger window is the player you directly control. With the player you can directly control, you can tell him to shoot his gun, turn right, turn left, and open and close doors. In the bottom left corner of the screen is a radar map that shows the aliens, your people, and the hallways themselves. There is also on the bottom right corner a freeze button and a pause button. The freeze button is very important: when activated, the game is paused, but you can enter commands for the space marines to do. The players have only so much freeze time, and freeze time is used up when you have it activated. To accumulate (or recharge) freeze time the player must let real time go by. If you click on the map instantly a map screen comes up. This map screen contains on the right side of the screen a scrollable map of the areas that you KNOW. This means that if you do not know (or see) an area it is not visible on the map screen. This map screen is updated in real time so you will see blips moving on the screen and the marines will move on the map. The Map screen has all the commands that the player can use as selectable commands. At this point the player can issue up to five commands ahead to any space marines that he controls. That is basically the whole game. GAME CONTROLS This is mostly a simple point-and-shoot control method as described above. Not that bad. There are keyboard commands to select specific teammates and to issue the same commands to different terminators. Not very many commands after that. GAMEPLAY The game itself has four sets of adventure: A tutorial, an advanced tutorial, Space Hulk original missions, and the Deathwing Campaign. The game itself is hard. Very hard. Maybe just a little too hard. I can't seem to finish one of the advanced tutorial missions and I TRIED my hardest. I wish the tutorial were just a little more gradual. I always seem to die in under thirty seconds and then reload the whole mission back in :-(. DOCUMENTATION The documentation is in three books. Two of the books are general in their approach, and the third book is strictly for the Amiga. The documentation is very good and it explains ideas and concepts much better than I do. :-) The manual is very good and gives enough detail so people who have never heard of the Game Design Workshop game would be able to play this game effectively. Nice pictures in the book really give a good atmosphere for the game. LIKES AND DISLIKES I like the sound effects in the game itself, they are very appropriate. When you walk forward the view screen does not Immediately step forward. The view scrolls forward. The control system is not bad. And now, time for "Dislikes, or Why I Want To Kill Electronic Arts." I would like more freeze time. I overall would prefer to have a true freeze time where I can freeze indefinitely and take as long as I like to make any decisions on that map. I also have problems closing doors in the game. Sometimes the door closes, sometimes it doesn't: It is very touchy. The graphics are VERY dithered in the front view. In the manual, they state that they rendered the graphics originally on the Amiga in Real 3D. It looked like they render the graphics in 256 colors and ran it through a poor video software that was told to convert it to 4 colors. There is no voice in the mission briefing scene (there is a voice in the original IBM version). It keeps one save game at a time per disk. So you must copy disk 3 another time if you want to play another game. It will erase a saved game on the disk if you start another game up. Now, Electronic Arts in their infinite wisdom made Space Hulk for the Amiga in three non-copy-protected dos disks. Now this seems good, except that you CANNOT install the disks on the hard drive. I thought that I could live with this, but even on a failed mission the disk access to reload the same mission takes about two minutes! What is even worse with just two floppy drives you will still be swapping disks!!! This makes the game completely WORTHLESS!!! COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS It is natural to compare Space Hulk to Space Crusade. Simply put, Space Crusade is a license from Game Design Workshop. To describe it simply: Remove the three dimensional parts of Space Hulk. Play always on the map screen and give the player all the time in the world to decide. Space Crusade is a very fun game! Space Hulk isn't. Hired Guns is very close to Space Hulk. But, Hired Guns looks so much better, and in the long run I feel I have more control in Hired Guns. Hired Guns is a great game, Space Hulk is bad! BUGS Well, it does not run on an Amiga 1200 with a MBX030 board in it! I have tried everything.... It works with my 1200 without the MBX030 board but not with it in. Strange.... VENDOR SUPPORT I have twice tried to e-mail the vender and have received no answer. I have called Electronic Arts (American phone number) and got no useful response. CONCLUSIONS After two weeks of owning Space Hulk I went back to my local Amiga store and bought Hired Guns. I have not really touched Space Hulk since.... Overall, I really hate Space Hulk. Poor graphics, no hard drive support, swapping disks with two floppy drive, long load times, and not working on my 1200 with the MBX board in really kills this game in my opinion. If this type of game interests you, go out an buy Space Crusade or Hired Guns. Also after this experience, Electronic Arts have now taught me only to buy hard drive installable games that also state they will work on the A4000. Well, Electronic Arts, I used to buy a lot of software from you people but looks like you have lost a very loyal customer. (But I will always consider Racing Destruction Set and Mail Order Monsters as two of the top ten best games on all computer and video game systems for all time, even though they are made by Electronic Arts. Hey, where are the Amiga Ports of those two fine games?) I would definitely update the review if some fortunate soul figured out how to make it run on my 1200 with an MBX board, or to run the game directly from the hard drive. But since I have been trying off and on for three months I doubt it would be possible.... (See Patch info above) My rating is one and a half stars out of five. Space Hulk, Space Marine, and Genestealers are trademarks of Games Workshop LTD.