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When I first heard about this game I was amazed: you lead a group of marines from first-person perspective. You fight your way through hordes of aliens. Better than Hired Guns! You have a bigger screen for one you currently lead and small screens where you see look of other team-mates. Could it be better?
Well it wasn't really what I hoped, but the game is still unmatched. This is a strategy game with a lot of careful planning instead of first-person shooting. Nothing strange since Doom just appeared and game market was just about to be filled with its clones. So, in Hulk you can't run around freely. Every level is divided in squares and it is actually well designed board game with lot of action and adrenaline.
I guess my gaming part of life was influenced with older machines and games, so every time I hear the word "space" I think of shooting game with a story like: The aliens are attacking the Earth and you alone can save it. Only you and nobody else but you. Hulk takes place in the future when Earth is under an Emperor and the Terminators are actually looking for alien menace to destroy it before it is too dangerous. And they found Genestealers, monsters that look like the well-known "Alien". They don't shoot but are very fast, ugly and extremely lethal when they reach you. And off course, you are always outnumbered, way outnumbered.
At the start you can choose training, Space Hulk special missions or Deathwing campaign. In campaign mode you'll be able to choose your Terminators from time to time and every one of them has experience. Your group consists of five men max. In some missions you'll have two squads. Before every mission, guess what, the briefing. A mean-looking guy will tell you everything and will encourage you for the love of mother Earth and our mighty Emperor. In games like this, always remember that the only thing that stands between danger and certain death is - you.
In battle there is a Terminator view screens and planning screens. In a view screen you'll see primary monitor (very easy to spot, it's the biggest one), which shows the view of the Terminator you currently lead. In upper-left corner is the number of Terminators. In other four small monitors you can see views of other terminators and their numbers. Right-clicking on these monitors transfers you in their body or you can use hotkeys (F1-F10, depending on Terminators number). Left-clicking on a small monitor will make that one fire his weapon, but only straight ahead. In the primary screen you can aim with your pointier which becomes cross-hair when you can shoot. Moving is done with the cursor keys or with the mouse. Move the pointer to the edges of the main monitor and it will become a pointer that shows in which direction you'll move, then left-click. To the left is a small map. Right-clicking takes you to the planning screen.
You'll spend a lot of time in the planning screen. There is a map of the entire level which is quite useful. You can give orders to the other Terminators, thus making a plan of attack. The most important thing in Hulk is the FREEZE button. While it's on the time stops (only on screen off course) and you can catch your breath and think what to do. FREEZE is not the same as pause (that’s the letter P). You have an amount of FREEZE time which decreases while you’re in the FREEZE mode and increases while you’re in the Real-time mode, so you still need to be fast. Another important thing is about your Terminators: there is an Overwatch mode that can be turned on/off (default is on). In the Overwatch mode your terminators are more careful, they move slowly and if they sense any danger nearby they will stop and wait for a monster to shows up. They immediately react to any change in their sight and so on. They might even try to destroy closed door.
In the planning screen, upper-left button is for Overwatch mode (left-right mouse click, spot the points around pic of Terminator). Numbers from 1-5 are for Terminators so you can click on them without looking for them on the map. Letters besides numbers are for the weapons they carry. Some weapon may be essential for some missions so you'll need to protect their owner at all costs. As for other buttons, you'll find out yourself.
Hulk is hard, especially at start. Hordes of aliens against hard men. Actually you can secure places form where they arrive and hold them for a while, while someone finishes with mission goals. Don't hold one place for too long. Genestealers are very smart. They will lurk, attack single men (did I mentioned that it is wise to cover your man) and if they sense that you don't move, they will rush in hundreds until you are over-run. Your weapon can even jam from time to time. They are also much faster then your men. Overwatch is very useful, but don't expect too much.
At the end, this game probably deserves the best mark, especially when you remember when it was published. Still, there are some options (like moving couple of man like the team back-to-back, at least I didn't find it) that really should be here to make your strategy better while you make piles of what-it-used-to-be-alien. Danger comes from every side indeed. On the other hand, alone against much greater enemy can give you a real adrenaline flow. Whoever liked Alien 2 (I'm talking about the movie) was waiting for game like this.
And now something you wanted to read from the beginning: technical parts. VGA graphics (what else) are fine, but sound is above average (for it’s time at least). You'll hear the voice of your commander during the briefing as well as cries and comments of your Terminators. Screams of monsters shouldn't even be discussed. Everything else is made to bring the atmosphere up. Monster may see you from distance and rush on you, so you'll just hear scream from the gloom before seeing it. Is this enough for you?
My advice is to give it a try if you are action fan or if you had enough misjudgemant from your family and friends and want to show them what are you made of by saving the world in the impossible mission. Once again, if you were thrilled by Alien 2 you can't make mistake with this one. LONG LIVE MOTHER EARTH!!!
Game can't work in XP, but I managed to play it smoothly in Dosbox. If everyone has older machine with older systems, no worries.