Review by P. Lans

"Very good old turn-based tactical squad-level WH40K Space Marine wargame."

Why still bother with something as antiquated as an old turn-based sci-fi tactical squad simulation from way back in 1998?

1. Great depth of tactics.
2. A thinking man's game with moments of terror and action.
3. Halfway through the campaign you will start losing people, and you _will_ find yourself caring about it.
4. Seamless integration of the old venerable Warhammer 40,000 universe with music, character dialogue snippets during battle and well-made cut scenes.
5. Depth of material and units all faithful to the WH40K universe.

FYI the UK-based global phenomenon Games Workshop has been running the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 worlds for over 25 years now, and what started as a simple tabletop miniatures wargame with orcs, elves and the like has mushroomed into millions of man-hours lost dreaming up cool ways to forget about work and other drudgery. See their website for more info on games, a large amount of surprisingly good dark fantasy/sci-fi literature and spin-offs, notably an animated movie and MMRPG in the works. The company is also known for its very high standards in dark fantasy/gothic sci-fi artwork and imagery, specifically by the artist John Blanche.

Chaos Gate is based in the WH40K universe in which an all-powerful and near-immortal (and borderline insane) Emperor has used his psyker abilities to unite Mankind throughout the far-flung reaches of known space for several millenia. The elite military arm of his rule, the genetically modified and powered armour-equipped Space Marine Legions, were heavily involved in a rebellion against his rule thousands of years before the current game takes place, a time known as the 'Horus Heresy', in which some entire Space Marine Chapters turned on their brother marines and joined the dark forces of Chaos.

In the game the player controls a company of one of the Chapters that stayed true to the Emperor, the fabled Ultra Marine Chapter, in their quest to combat the forces of Chaos, specifically one of the traitor legions of their former brothers. All the action takes place in an isometric perspective on the squad level, with the player controlling all possible actions of each of the Marines in a turn-based system, either in a rather long campaign, single missions, random scenarios or head-to-head with other players over the Internet or via a LAN.

The graphics and gameplay are dated, but the campaign fits seamlessly with the high-quality gothic fantasy and ruthlessly dark science fiction from Games Workshop, and cannot be beat in terms of atmosphere, immersiveness and drama even compared to today's graphical RTS extravaganzas. High marks for tactical depth, artwork, music, digitized voices (some overacting) and mission design. Game includes very deep Mission Editor software. Missions for download available at The Portal, a geocities site. Some tech support available from Broderbund.com/TheLearningCo which took over Random Games. SSI has since been taken over by Ubi-soft.

Recommend novels _Deathwing_ and _Inquisitor_ for further reading. See FAQs at GameFAQs.com.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/27/02, Updated 01/27/02


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