Spacehulk is a first-person shooter similiar to games like Doom or Po'ed or Wolfenstein 3D or Killingtime, etc.,etc. The list goes on and on these days. Many would look at it or any of these others and call it "a Doom clone", but Spacehulk is different from most of the others, even if it's in the same basic genre. Yes, most FPS games are different in some way, but Spacehulk goes out of it's way to not be confused with your standard FPS fare, if you investigate it enough. In this game, you are a soldier in a chapter of space marines(nothing new so far) and your job, along with the rest of your team(a new twist here) is to board a huge alien deralict craft that has been floating aimlessly through space for eons. The problem is that it is now heading toward a planet called Delvar 3, on a collision course that could wipe out millions. But unlike most FPS games, you are not the last survivor or the only hope as in Doom or Killingtime or many others. You are a part of a team of marines that go into missions together, and must work together to accomplish the missions. You start out as a grunt obeying orders, but with successful completions of various missions, you can increase in rank and eventually be the leader of the teams. At this point, not only do you make the decisions and direct the other space marines, but you can also switch between any of the marines in the troop and control anyone of them personally. There are a variety of missions, from destroying aliens to retrieving important items or many different types of missions. Other than the main story mission, you can also go on training missions, or do a host of individual "classic" or "famous" missions of your choosing. Becoming the space marines of legend.
The only thing keeping the graphics from being a perfect ten, is that things don't move real fast. It's not that it has a bad frame-rate, it's just slower than some games. But you probably won't believe the graphic detail of this game, especially if your used to the other 3DO games like Po'ed or even Killingtime, yes, it's much better graphically than even Killingtime. Creatures do not get blocky as you get close to them, in fact, they get even more detailed and hand to hand combat is a common occurance in this game, up close and personal. It looks good. The Fmv sequences are very sharp and clear, a bit long, but they actually have an interesting story and information to give, you don't want to miss them, at least the first time around.
The sound effects in this game are fantastic. Surround sound capable, of course, but there is no in-game music. There isn't supposed to be. This is a game based on atmosphere, the distant hissing of pipes or the melodic thumping of distant machines, screams in the dark, bumps in the night, etc. Your character as well as the other space marines also interact with the sounds, screaming "did you here that!" or "I here them!", "what was that!?" and on and on. Very impressive. Shoot a bolt of flame and it sounds like a bolt of flame, the sounds are right on!
The game can be a bit hard, but not at first, it gets hard just about the time you have to take command, and by then you should know what your doing. It does take a while to get used to giving orders and what orders to give, using the menu system, but in the end, if you give it some time, it will become second nature to you. This game's gameplay is just a lot different than other FPS and is more of a thinking man's shooter rather than a "throw caution to the wind , run in and blastem' all" type like Doom. Strategy is all important, especially when you get to the point where you have to come up with the strategy instead of following orders. I love it!
The control basics are what you would expect in a FPS game, although there are a few button combinations that you have to get used to, like lookin up and down, but it's just stuff like, hold rightshift and push up or down, etc. One button shoots, one opens doors or retrieves items, one uses the alternate weapon. In hand to hand combat, one would be attack while another is parry, etc. You are in a huge, bulky, space marine suit though, so sometimes turning around in a narrow corridor can be a problem; if you get stuck on a wall, turn the other way around, your to close to the wall. Otherwise, if you give it time, you'll get used to it and it becomes second nature to you.
This is a must have game for 3DO fans that like both shooters and strategy games, or if your a huge fan of Doom type games in general. It grows on you if you give it time. This game was not rated highly in the playability department by the reviewers of it's day, but then most of them don't spend any longer with games than to get a basic overview for the review. If it's not instantly playable to most reviewers, they down grade it. Something I have always detested about professional reviewers that I avoid. I believe this game to be a real sleeper title that deserved much more than it got by the hordes of Mario World critics. This title is also avialable on the Saturn and Playstation, I have tried the Saturn version and it is not as good graphically as the 3DO version. I don't know about the Playstation version. Go get it!