Warhammer 40k was as much a part of my childhood as A-Team and Knightrider was; I got into Games workshop games way back in 1989 playing Blood Bowl with some friends in the library after school.
Blood Bowl eventually led to Warhammer 40k which quickly became my game of choice and I spent many hours painting figures, reading the magazine ‘White Dwarf’ (not a specialist porn mag!) and shaving down pieces of foam to make scenery for the board game battles that often ensued between various friends and I. However, nobody could hold a candle to Angelo and his love of all things Games Workshop.
Angelo and I were always to be found in Games Workshop on a Thursday night during the early Nineties; Angelo’s Dad used to get dropped off in Croydon on a Thursday night (My Dad never gave me a lift anywhere!) to have a mooch around the shop and take the piss out of all the socially backward people in there; probably without realising the irony that |WE were every bit as socially backward as they were with our own love of turn based gaming and all the other crazy shit that we did during our school years. Manga, learning every word to outrageous films such as Robocop and the Running Man, as kids do!
Angelo’s bag was probably the ‘Epic’ version of Warhammer with the battles on a much more….epic…..scale involving tanks, support airships and the legendary Titan hulks with their unbeatable harpoon missle arsenals that Angelo would often make his own rules up about. Napoleon Takis! Just kidding Ang, just kidding!
I loved Epic too, but Warhammer 40K (40000 as they like to call it these days!) was a much more personal and focused game because you had to control an army of individual marines and support vehicles to overwhelm your opponent rather than. I honestly (and I mean honestly!) never lost a game down at the shop which I was very proud of that fact.
Just as I was proud to have a squad of Dark Angel Space Marines. Everyone picked their Space Marine ‘Chapter’ of choice back then; most people picked Space Wolves or Blood Angels because they were the cool chapters with ‘champion’ figurines like Logar Grimnar. Dark Angels were the pariahs of the Space Marine universe and part of me identified with that!
Angelo loved the Ultramarines, indiciative of the fact that he’d been into the whole thing since day one; luckily for him, the games developers chose to keep their focus on the Ultramines (as the film developers did in the animated Space Marine Film) because Games Workshop have been very odd in how they’ve kept the franchise going. There isn’t even an ‘epic’ anymore, much to Angelo’s disgust!
Anyway, enough with nostalgia, I have often said it that Xbox Live is stagnant with people overdosing on Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3; so it was great to rip off the selophant wrapping on the 40k game and try out the team deathmatch mode and the ‘Exterminatus’ survival mode too.
The game is very well designed and the team deathmatch mode provided a solid representation of what I knew to be the 40K universe, so much so that part of me felt 11 years old again. You can eventually chose from ‘Tactical’ ‘Devastator’ and ‘Assault’ classes which have their own strengths and weaknesses when facing off against other players; most of whom seemed to be of a ridiculously high rank and took full advantage of running around with Plasma Cannons whilst I had to get up close with the chainsword because my bolter was so inneffective. Incentive to rank up!
The Maps are fantastic, the perk system is well done and the style of gaming suits the genre; but I can’t help but feel that the game is very under-valued and anonymous behind the unfairly hyped first person shooter games that have stollen all the glory; whether this means that this is the last 40K game we’ll see for a while remains to be seen!
The Exterminatus game mode was good fun, Angelo and I faced off against hordes of Orks before he eventually died several times. Can’t hide behind your tape measure and made up rules now can you old boy!? hahaha! All joking aside, this is a fantastic game, go and buy it!