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Computer Game Review – Chaos Gate

From SSI / Good Old Games (GOG)

With the imminent release of Chaos Gate: Deamonhunters by IGN, I thought I’d revisit my childhood and re-play a bit of the original Chaos Gate.

The new Chaos Gate – things have moved on since the 90s

Fortunately GOG (Good Old Games) has us covered and we can pick up the original Chaos Gate for a mere £7.59

So with a sense of risk (never meet your childhood heroes) I picked up the game, installed it and started running it (again). As with most GoG’s releases it has been updated slightly to allow it to run on modern computers and mine got up and running easily on my laptop. There’s not much strain on the PC here!

The game is a turn-based strategy where you take control of the Ultramarines against a Chaos incursion. The first mission starts with a mission briefing and then a selection of one of the tactical squads- you can choose which one. Each marine has some statistics which give action points, ballistic skill and health (amongst others). Once chosen you can chose the armaments – only one special weapon or heavy weapon per squad though, so I took a Heavy Bolter and gave each of my marines two more krak grenades.

There’s lot more actions once you go beyond the tactical marines

The game then takes you back to the main screen, and you can start the mission – the first one is an attack on a small building with Chaos Cultists and Chaos Space Marines (inside only), and your squad of 5 is severely outnumbered.

The aim in every mission… Victory will be mine!

Fortunately, the Cultists approach quite slowly in the open and give you practice with the bolters and heavy bolter and then I used the krak grenades on the Chaos Space Marines once I got in the building.

Mission 1 done, and nostalgia flooding back – hurrah!

At the end of the mission my Space Marines got experience based on what they hit, what they killed and whether they were the one that picked up the artifact. If they reach 500 experience points they are promoted and their stats increase… hurrah – progression!

Experience – and simple progression

I still loved it, and had great fun running around the marines, and hugging cover whilst hoping that the Chaos Marines with Missile Launchers miss! This is effectively the old versions of X-Com without the research et al and a much more linear narrative. Later on you can do random missions to pick up more ammunition and equipment and get some experience – but there is a risk of death… why the Ultramarines didn’t bring enough krak grenades is open to debate, but it’s fun to open the crates and find lots of new toys!

I’m not sure it’ll stand up to the standards of today, and it is a little slow because each model moves or fires based on action points (rather than the reboot of X-Com method of 2 action points per turn). It’s a long game, with a significant investment in time (36-48 hours) so be prepared to impact your painting and games. It also doesn’t do multi-player – you’re on your own here marine!

But I liked it, and it’s definitely one I’ll return to again (and again)!

— Declan