By Tom Tolios / January 13th, 2016
So for anybody out there that owns a Nintendo Wii U (there are a few of us out there, I know) and you’re looking for something that may be outside your wheelhouse, Nintendo has announced at their eShop site that Space Hulk is coming tomorrow, January 14, 2016. Those of you that are older or are into the board game scene know exactly what this is, but for those of you that aren’t familiar, Space Hulk is a turn based strategy game where you control armored soldiers known as Space Marines that explore derelict space ships that vanished thousands of years ago and have only recently returned. These dead ships, called ‘space hulks’, are rife with old technology and knowledge databases that would be of great benefit to the Empire, the governing body the Space Marines serve, so they send their finest troops to retrieve these valuable treasures. But when the ships came back, they brought dangerous aliens with them called genestealers and once these unspeakable hordes lock horns with the Space Marines in narrow corridors, it’s a fight to the death. If I had to compare it to anything in terms of its tension, claustrophobic environments and lethal brand of action, I’d say it draws some inspiration from James Cameron’s classic 1986 film Aliens, which predates the first edition of the board game (released by legendary tabletop gaming publishers Games Workshop) by three years.
Some may recall that there have been previous attempts to adapt Space Hulk to an electronic entertainment medium with varying degrees of success in the past. The first attempt was for the PC and Commodore Amiga in 1993. A few years later, Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels was released on PC in 1995 and for Playstation, Saturn and 3DO in 1996. Both offerings had their merits but were ultimately unable to capture the intense vibe of the board game. Another version of Space Hulk was released for PC and mobile devices in August 2013 and was, in this writer’s opinion, the most accurate portrayal of the source material to that point. Some criticized it for its slow gameplay, but as a tactical board game, methodical and strategic mechanics along with a painstakingly detailed implementation of the Space Hulk rules made it a worthy adaptation. 2014’s Space Hulk: Ascension raised the stakes with faster gameplay and the ability to customize your Space Marines and even specialize in various forms of combat based on which ‘chapter’ of the illustrious military organization you chose to play as. It appears that the Wii U iteration will be the 2013 edition, if the trailer at the eShop page is any indication. So if you’re a Nintendo Wii U owner and you like the atmosphere and tension elements of, say, Metroid, you might find Space Hulk to your liking. They’re not the same game and they don’t even play remotely the same, but there’s a similar feel in terms of the isolation and overwhelming odds you have to face. The game will be $29.99.
MetroidNintendo Wii USpace HulkWii U eShop