Thursday, 28 May 2009

OPINION - Genestealers, what other monster is there?

By Suneokun

Back in the day (1990), I had been swept up in the plethora of board games that trundled out the Games Workshop lab. At the time, Devilin and I were twelve, playing D&D at school and absolutely gasping for something creative, innovative, exciting, violent and inspirational.

For the younger readers, it should be noted that in 1990, computer games were pretty basic at this time. Monkey Island had launched 'point and click' adventures at us (along with a remarkably funky themetune), while we were amazed with the movement and animation of the original Prince of Persia ... Flight Sims, the original SimCity games and even 'Battle Chess' topped the best games.

This was before the watershed year of 1992, When the following genres were invented:

RTS (Real Time Strategy) games - Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis (1992)

FPS (First Person Shooter) games - Wolfenstein 3D (1992)

... and the hugely influential Starwars beast rolled into the gaming arena with X-wing (1992)...

Multi Genre games would have too wait, now the dominant genre (Bioshock, Crysis, Fear, System Shock 2 ... et cetera ... first person/sci-fi/story led/horror/shooter would have to wait - System Shock (1994).

So 1990 was a pretty quiet time.

Into this arena rose Games Workshop, who in combination with Mattel released two clever combination games "Heroquest" and "Space Crusade" - and they sold like hotcakes...

I never owned Space Crusade or Heroquest, but many of my friends did. On the back of this GW managed a bit of a coup and subverted the Mattel monster with two detailed and hugely inspirational follow-ups, wittily titled "Advanced Space Crusade" and "Advanced Hero Quest".

We bought Advanced Space Crusade (ASC) - and I haven't look at another Fantasy model since...

Star of the Show - Genestealers

Any over 30 year old worth his salt will remember another great game of this era - Space Hulk. Luckily, you young bucks are about to experience the same genius with the game due for re-release this year! Space Hulk and ASC brought me the genestealers, and I've never looked back.

Genestealers, in my humble opinion, are the coolest model GW have ever created. They steal wholeheartedly from the 'Alien' films and the Space Hulk and ASC exploited this similarity by having the scuttling monstrosities clogging up the corridors.

Genestealer Cult Armies were very cool, and the fluff (including the Magus, Patriarch and the generational Hybrids) created one of the most colourful sub-armies in the 40k world. Check out BoLs Mini-Dex for a blast from the past! Genestealers are the reason I have always collected Tyranids and with the new upgrades available are one of the best fun models to field.

Nothing garners fear quite as much as a swarm of 'stealers!

Below are a series of photographs of the genestealers through the ages. The far left model is circa 1990 Space Hulk/ASC version - the detail for a plastic model of this period is superb - the whole ASC set was very well made. Next up is a Battle for Macragge version - note its tail is tied to the leg - definition is actually down on the first model and the genestealer looks a lot less frightening... finally is the modern version (kept basic) with the arms modelled for scuttling rather than "reaching" (they're not zombies you know!)