All types of combat within Space Hulk comes down to dice rolls, no matter how well equipped your terminators are. In general, close combat is all about whoever gets the highest dice roll, while shooting guns require you to get a certain number for it to actually kill. Genestealers are generally allowed to roll three dice each time that they get into close combat with one of your terminators. The number of rolls that they are allowed to do can be decreased by certain conditions, such as putting the game on easy or if they are going against a terminator equipped with a shield. All sergeant terminators will always add +1 to their best rolls while in combat, and weapons like the hammer can add an additional bonus point. The different types of guns and equipment, and the librarian psychic abilities all incorporate their own ways of rolling dice.
The units that you will be controlling during the course of Space Hulk are the terminators. There are basic terminators, sergeants that get a slight bonus in combat and allow you to reroll your CP, and librarians that have a few psychic abilities at their disposal. All terminators can perform 4 actions every turn. If you still have left over action points, you can order them to go into defensive mode which will let them reroll their close combat rolls when attacked if they lose the first roll, or overwatch mode which will cause them to automatically fire when enemies move in front of them. Each turn will randomly give you 1-6 CP, or command points, that you are able to use between any of your terminators. Having at least one sergeant still alive on the level will allow you to reroll your CP, such as when you only get one.
There are a variety of weapons that your terminators can have equipped on them, differing in how their dice rolls work. The storm bolter and assault cannon roll either two or three times, and require a certain number for kills to be registered. A bunch of melee weapons exist, such as the power fist that doesn’t do anything special and comes equipped on most terminators, to the hammer and claws that either add bonus points to their roll or can do additional rolls. Special weapons such as the heavy flamer allow you to cover large areas with flame killing everything inside, or the force axe that allows your librarian to cast psychic abilities such as increasing your CP or puting down an area of effect to kill genestealers.
There is only one type of enemy in Space Hulk, along with a stronger variation of it. Genestealers are simple melee only aliens that can do two more actions than your terminators. Broodlords are stronger than their genestealer counterpart, from being able to get bonus points on their rolls and being immune to fire and psychic abilities. They are all very weak if you can manage to shoot them from afar, but are very dangerous when they get close because they are able to roll the dice a lot of times in just one attack.
Most levels in Space Hulk are relatively the same. They incorporate a spawn location, narrow hallways, and small rooms at times. The objective on each level is generally just reaching a specific area and you’re done, while others require multiple objectives. Genestealers enter the level through areas on the outer edges, while you are usually teleported into the middle of them.
Multiplayer in Space Hulk Works by letting one person be the terminators, and the other person the genestealers. This can be done over the internet, or locally with other people on the same computer. Other than someone being able to control the genestealers, there isn’t anything else special about multiplayer.
The available options in Space Hulk involve volume sliders, very basic graphical options, options that affect gameplay elements, and sadly no way to rebind your keys. Even if you max out the graphic options, they aren’t pretty compared to modern games. The anti-aliasing feature doesn’t seem to even work, since everything is still all jagged. There appears to only be one song in all of Space Hulk, and it will only play while you are in the main menu. This means that you get to listen to nothing but terminator foot steps and guns going off the whole time during combat. Your goals for a mission will be spoken to you when you first look at the overview of it, while also explaining the important areas of the level. Your terminators will make combats while moving or engaging in combat, but there aren’t very many variations of them and you may end up hearing the same ones over and over.
Pretty much everything that exists within Space Hulk feels unfinished. Graphical options don’t appear to currently affect the graphics, and there’s only one song in the game which is the main menu. Gameplay feels very sluggish and your clicks don’t always register. Even if everything in the game felt polished, the actual combat and gameplay still needs a lot of improvements. When you only have one type of enemy that does nothing but gets close and melees, the various weapons at your disposal seems pointless when a simple gun does just as much good when you set overwatch. The difficulty settings need a rework, since no matter how hard or easy you make the game, it is still all about dice rolls. Simply putting the difficulty on easy won’t prevent your assault cannon terminator from being destroyed on his first move. The fact that terminators die any time that they lose a roll makes the fact that they wear heavy armor almost pointless, especially with how slow they move. If they were in normal soldier armor, they could easily run to the exit on each level while being able to shoot the genestealers before they ever get into close combat.
It is based on an old board game of the same name, but that is no excuse for a video game years later to abide by the same rules. This fact wouldn’t be so bad if everything else not regarding dice rolls was better from graphics to slowness of the game. With that logic, releasing 30 year old games that got perfect scores in the past would mean they would automatically get perfect scores again, when they shouldn’t.
Even if you put the game on the easy difficulty setting, you will still have to deal with a lot of luck with dice rolls. Just make sure you turn the timer off, or else you will only be allowed to spend 2 minutes deciding to do on each turn. So in essence, the game itself isn’t hard, you just have to know how to get the best dice rolls to stay alive. As you progress into the campaign, the levels will take longer to complete. You can expect most levels to take 10-30 minutes, depending on how quickly you can order the terminators around. The slow movement of your units doesn’t help the long level situation by any means.
Putting the game into hard mode does add a few layers of difficulty, but just like on the easy setting most of what happens in the game still comes down to what numbers are rolled. Less CP, the chance to jam, and a forced marine timer are what you can expect on the harder settings. The only current thing in Space Hulk that you can complete and collect are various banner customization options that you unlock from simply completing the main missions. There are also achievements that are specific to each level that you can try to accomplish, such as not letting any terminators die.
Space Hulk costs 30 dollars along with a 2 dollar piece of DLC which adds different colors to the genestealers. In its current state, it is hard to justify 30 dollars for Space Hulk. You should only buy the game if you are a big fan of anything Warhammer 40,000 related. It is actually based exactly on an old board game called the same thing, but it just doesn’t translate well into a modern video game.