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In the wise words of Four Leaf Tayback from Tropic Thunder, “You must put those boys in the s**t.” Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s the idea behind THQ and Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. No longer will you be able to play the role of armchair general from your comfortable view atop the battlefield, nor will you be able to hide behind the barrel of a gun. Instead, in this expansion into yet another new genre for the "Warhammer 40K" franchise, you will take on the role of Captain Titus, a Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Warhammer’s sci-fi sister franchise is venturing into yet another new genre. Games Workshop’s often evangelical series has covered many genres already, including real-time strategy (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and its expansions), turn-based strategy (Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command), RTS/action hybrid (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II and expansions), first-person shooter (Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior), and of course, tabletop games. With such a successful mix of genres already, it does come as a surprise that it took this long for the franchise to explore the possibilities of a third-person action game. Perhaps there was some fear surrounding the scrapping of StarCraft: Ghost, or perhaps the developers were simply busy with other projects. Regardless of the reason, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will be here in less than a week, and with much anticipation.
In terms of the gameplay, Space Marine’s single-player campaign features a third-person mash up of melee and ranged action as Captain Titus makes his way through hordes of Orks and the insidious Chaos Space Marines. The game will be chock full of classic Warhammer 40,000 weapons, enemies, and ridiculous dialogue, as well as some newcomers that will keep fans and first-timers happy. Captain Titus will be accompanied by Sidonus, an old veteran, and Leandros, a young gun. It’s presumed that these characters will be playable in the co-op campaign multiplayer mode that allows for 4-player mayhem.
Space Marine has another multiplayer mode involving 8v8 class-based competition in “annihilation,” a death match mode, and “seize ground,” a king of the hill type mode. There are rumors that capture the flag will be made available through future updates, but nothing has been confirmed yet. None of the multiplayer modes were available in the recent demo that was released, but based on the single-player gameplay they are expected to be an absolute riot.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine will be available in stores on September 6th for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. There are collector’s editions available for all 3 platforms ($99 for consoles, $79 for PC) which include a box set packed with information cards on important characters and enemies, an art book, game soundtrack, and a commemorative Jonas Brothers purity ring. Check that last one – it’s a purity seal, described on the game’s website as being “awarded to those who show themselves to be honorable in battle. [This] authentic poly-resin purity seal with double cloth ribbon and magnetic attachment is a replica of those worn in-game by Titus.” Whether you plan to pick up the regular version or the collector's edition, you'll soon have the pleasure of dispatching the enemies of the Imperium in any way you wish.