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'Space Hulk' Review: Games Workshop Classic Returns, Dice And All (VIDEO)

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Whether you left behind miniatures and polystyrene scenery in the early years of your teens, or still troop down to Games Workshop stores for weekly battles, nostalgia is a pretty big part of the Warhammer hobby. That nostalgia - and rich narrative background - is also key to the appeal of the video game versions, which have variously impressed or (more usually) disappointed in recent years.

So in one sense 'Space Hulk' by Full Control (Mac/PC, £22.99 on Steam) should be the perfect Warhammer game. Because just like 'Warhammer Quest' and 'Talisman', both released for mobile devices earlier this year, this is pretty much the exact storm-the-space-ship, kill-the-bugs battle you remember. Dice rolls and all.

In the game you take control of squads of heavily armoured 'Terminators', and march through dark corridors to complete objectives, kill Alien-like 'genestealers' and, hopefully, not die. The turn-based rules are taught but unforgiving, and the game rarely strays at all from the established mechanics. It even shows you the results of virtual dice rolls in the bottom-right corner, in case you're interested. Each turn you have to manage your action points, manouevre into excellent formations and deal with mishaps, exploding guns and the like. And *then* you have to kill nasties.

Fact is, you're going to lose. A lot. But individual games skip along nicely, and you won't feel the pain of each loss too badly. Real experts might scoff at the relative lack of different strategy options, but for average players it's a replayable, enjoyable and focused experience (if a bit fiddly at first - you can't swap characters while each one moves, for instance, which slows things down).

space hulk

When you boot the game up, it's fantastic to have everything you remember realised so perfectly. The graphics are sharp, presentation is right on message and the Space Hulks themselves look brilliantly gloomy, depressing and claustrophobic.

Admittedly, given the fact that the game takes place exclusively in depressing, tight corridors there isn't a huge amount of visual variety on show. And some of the animations could use some work. Yes, they're wearing ridiculously massive armour, but when the Terminators walk in 'Space Hulk' they look like waddling elephants stuck in a giant chocolate mousse, which isn't that threatening.

Similarly, while there are multiplayer modes included - both local and online - and 12 full missions (plus three tutorials) there isn't a massive amount of content. And at £22.99 on Steam, that's quite steep. Add-ons will surely arrive, but you might have hoped for more.

If you're a Warhammer novice or never played Space Hulk, this might not be the game for you. It's not tremendously thrilling narratively, and games like 'X-Com: Enemy Unknown' have recently used similar turn-based mechanics to come up with more varied and tense experiences - and aren't that much more expensive.

But if you love Warhammer, or especially if you owned Space Hulk, it's a fun, worthwhile trip back in time. And there's no painting, stepping on plastic Genestealers or losing of dice to worry about.

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