Sluggish pacing drags down an otherwise faithful and entertaining recreation of the Games Workshop board game, that’s essentially the 40K interpretation of Aliens.
The same grid-based structure has been well-translated with a few light atmospheric touches, like a first-person, grainy shaky-cam in the top right-hand corner to show what your men see, as well as overly dramatic and unconvincing killing animations to make the most of the PC tech you’re playing it on.
This is only a few minor changes away from being a near-definitive digital version of a tabletop classic.
For those not familiar with Space Hulk, it’s a strategy game set in the corridors of an enormous ship of the same name. Players are either firepower-packing Blood Angel Terminators or vicious, archetypal sci-fi enemies known as Genestealers; the former’s role is to move through the ship towards objectives, checking their corners for alien life and using the limited resources of their men to keep corridors clear of opposition, while the Genestealers swarm on their enemies from all sides until they’re overwhelmed.
It’s not a lot more complicated than that, but it’s thrilling at peak moments, while the more complex trappings are detailed quickly and clearly in here. The dynamic of the original game is replicated effectively.
This very specific corner of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe is well-represented, too, with none of the accidental camp voice-acting of the Dawn Of War series and an appropriately atmospheric backdrop, as well as gorgeously weighty Terminator characters that are about as close to a set of well-painted miniatures as you could ask for.
Yet it’s the frivolous touches that slow down an otherwise quick-moving board game framework, as the sight and sound of Terminators lumbering about takes up an unwelcome percentage of the play time. This may be a deliberate touch to give players feedback as to the scale of the warriors at their command, yet it still makes Space Hulk far more boring than it actually has to be – a shame, when everything else in this package should feel ruddy spot-on for those who have ever enjoyed the board game.