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Video Game / Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate

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This 1998 Warhammer 40,000 game was one of the earlier PC games set in the verse and one of the more obscure.

A Turn-Based Tactics game using a movement grid, each Space Marine has a certain number of action points per turn, used by shooting, opening doors, moving etc. As per the game, firing off a rocket launcher will use most of your points, while you can fire a bolt pistol and move a fair bit.

The game came with a campaign, pitting an Ultramarine force (led by Captain Krueger) against Chaos Word Bearers (under Lord Zymran). Notably in this campaign, you had a limited number of Marines (which could gain experience and improve their stats) and if they died, they were not coming back. You also only had five-man squads rather than ten.

As The Lexicanum notes, this game came out before the third edition of the tabletop game came out, so many elements of the mechanics and backstory have been changed since then, making Chaos Gate an interesting window into how 40K used to be for modern player.

Over two decades later, a sequel Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters would come out in 2022, featuring a completely different squad to play as against yet another different enemy.

This game contains examples of:

  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Averted. While Krueger and Zymran start out powerful, they don't actually gain any experience advances, nor can they use artifact weapons. So when they actually appear in the last mission, they'll probably be no stronger than most of your Marines — and they'll have weaker weapons... On the other hand, the Librarian and Chaos Sorcerer become extremely powerful with experience.
    • Another example is your Chaplain, whom you only get for the last two missions... meaning he will be less experienced than most of your marines in the final mission.
    • Can be played straight in custom missions. While you can adjust the general experience level for your Marines, your Chaplain will always be a Hero, and the Captain will always be a Major Hero.
  • Artificial Stupidity: While enemy heavy weapon troopers and snipers have a passably intelligent AI, the same cannot be said for their assault troops, who will often charge in without even trying to use cover or smokescreens. Sometimes they'll even run straight into a Vortex! (which instantly kills anything it touches). Of course, them being Khorne Berzerkers, that is actually their common and expected behavior in-universe. The Greater Daemons are a story for themselves - see below.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Star Thrower Plasma Gun is a really neat weapon, but can only be used by your weakest type of squad (the Tactical squad). While far more powerful, it also shares the same drawback as other plasma guns — very few shots per magazine.
    • Vehicles are included in the game but poorly implemented. They are only available in a few missions, and can only move about in very open terrain. Furthermore, the Rhino, an APC available in only one mission, is not very tough and, if destroyed, will cause all your Marines inside it to die.
    • Plasma Pistols are stronger than Bolt Pistols, but have a pitifully low ammo capacity.
    • The Righteous Fury Power Sword gives you two extra attacks each turn. However, you only get it late in the campaign, and it lacks the punch to efficiently kill the tougher enemies you'll be facing then. A simple Power Fist is usually more effective.
  • Ax-Crazy: Whenever they spot your troops, Khorne Berserkers will invariably rush forward to engage in close combat, screaming "Blood for the Blood God!". Around half of them even wield axes (Chain- or Power-Axes that is).
  • Badass Army: Both Ultramarines and Word Bearers count; being Space Marines makes them superior to the vast majority of other troops.
  • Baldof Evil: Lord Zymran and the Chaos Cultists are bald and don't wear helmets, which makes them stick out. And they're evil, of course.
  • Big Bad: Zymran, lord of the Word Bearers you're fighting against.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The master-crafted Bolter and Bolt Pistol are gold-plated.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Heavy Bolter might not have the AOE of the Melta, the anti-armor power of the Heavy Plasma Gun, the morale effects of the Flamer or the raw damage output of the Lascannon, but it is more than powerful enough to cut down cultists, berserkers and standard marines, and the "sustained fire" rule means you will get enough shots per turn to chew up and spit out entire squads with little trouble.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy:
    • The Bloodthirster is absolutely unmatched in melee combat, but he doesn't get the chance to show it, because his starting area is enclosed with aqueducts, that he cannot walk under (or fly over, despite having wings), and ends in a single flight of stairs, that he also, for some reason, cannot traverse. Your Marines can just shoot him to death with impunity while he stands there, looking stupid.
    • The Lord of Change is a less extreme example: it won't move until you enter the room it is in or you successfully hit it with a ranged weapon. However, the designers apparently forgot that you can shoot it from the stairs leading down to its room. In effect, this means you get a full turn of shooting before it reacts to your presence — and it's not tough enough to survive a turn of pounding from your heavy weapon troopers.
  • The Captain: Captain Kruger, captain of your Cool Ship. He's of the rarer, second variety since he stays in the background giving orders, not directly fighting until the very last mission.
  • Chainsaw Good: Mostly inverted, if you're using a Chainsword in a fight against Chaos expect to lose or take a ton of damage. The only exception is the Terminator Chainfist and the relic Vindicator Chainsword (which hits a lot harder than a standard power sword).
  • Cool Ship: The Battle Barge, your base. A well-armed cathedral with a crew of badass superhuman warriors — in space!
  • Combination Attack: If you have more than one Ultramarine in melee against a single opponent, you'll do what the game calls a Beat Down attack. The first marine to attack gets their normal number of attacks, the second marine gets an extra attack on top of their normal set, and the 3rd or more marine(s) get two extra attacks in addition to what they normally do. Even if your marines only have Combat Knives, most enemies will go down.
  • Covers Always Lie: Zymran is shown using a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword on the game's cover art, but in-game he uses a Plasma Pistol and Powersword.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Your Apothecary is amazing at keeping your marines in perfect health, but the poor guy only has a Bolt Pistol to protect himself. That said, with a lot of Save Scumming even he can end up reaching Mighty Hero status.
    • The Techmarine's only role is to do some hacking/repairs on a few specific levels. Otherwise he's just a low-grade hero that can only use a Bolt Pistol and Power Axe (though his Servo-arm does give him one extra attack), equipment that'll be over-matched as early as the midpoint of the game.
    • Lascannons are very powerful, but fire slowly and can hit only a single target. They excel at destroying vehicles, but those appear only in a handful of missions. Otherwise, they're usually left home because other weapons offer more versatility, fire faster, and/or can hit multiple targets.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played straight — your characters can function perfectly even if they have only 1 hit point left.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The loot you find during side-quests is random, so it's possible to find a Multi-Melta, the most powerful weapon in the game, quite early.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Chaos Daemons count, as they flat-out ignore some of the rules that apply to mortals — for example, their armour cannot be damaged, and they cannot be set on fire. They also have a supernatural ability to cause fear in nearby mortals — Ultramarines are usually disciplined enough to resist it, but may occasionally lose their nerve when faced by a Daemon.
  • Everything Sensor:
    • Your hand-held Scanners. You'll definitely want to use one semi-regularly as it detects all units including the ones behind walls, and can even distinguish mortal enemies and Daemons. It'll even detect the otherwise invisible radiation field left behind by a Rad Grenade.
    • The Librarian can take a psychic power called "Scan", which works like a Scanner, but has an even greater range.
  • Evil Gloating: Zymran does this in one cutscene. And all the Chaos Marines like to taunt you during battle (e.g. "I will crush the life from you!").
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Both Ultramarines and Word Bearers do this. Sometimes leads to Narm.
    • Ultramarine examples: "Farewell my brothers, fight on!", "Long live the Emperor!"
    • Word Bearer examples: "I die for the dark gods.", "Let the dark ones take my soul" and of course the narmtastic "I die!"
  • Gatling Good: The Assault Cannon. A 30mm minigun that can, in the hands of an experienced marine, mow down as many as 7-8 Chaos marines in a single turn! It does have two weaknesses, though: mediocre range and the fact that you're limited to taking only one, which must be carried by a Terminator. Its Chaos marine counterpart, the Reaper Autocannon, is even more dangerous because it has a longer range.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Listening to Zymran and Kreuger hurl pork products at each other is something to behold, even by Warhammer 40000 standards.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Your Assault Marines can use these to good effect — e.g. jump-pack in, throw grenade, jump-pack out. Ditto for the Land Speeder, which is a fast, lightly armoured but heavily armed skimmer.
    • Everone can do it with the "portal" spell. Put the exit point right in the middle of the enemy lines, send a marine with a heavy weapon through, shot the enemies point-blank for maximum damange, return, pass the weapon to the next marine, repeat.
  • Implacable Man: A Terminator buffed by a Librarian's "Iron Arm" psychic power is incredibly tough, easily able to shrug off anything except hits from dedicated anti-tank weapons.
  • Isometric Projection
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Your marines use Bolters as opposed to the much weaker laser pistols used by the Chaos Cultists. However, the energy-based Las(er)cannon and Multi-Melta are two of the most powerful weapons in the game.
  • Large Ham: Both Kruger and Zymran have a flair for drama in the cutscenes.
  • Legendary Weapon: Any of unique relic weapons you find are famed weapons from the Ultramarines' legendary past, such as the Star Thrower Plasma Gun and the Vindicator Chainsword, etc.
  • Magic Knight: The Librarian and Chaos Sorcerer are just as tough as the other marines. In addition, the Librarian wields the powerful Force Axe in close combat.
  • The Medic: Your Apothecary's specialty is that he can heal any marine, including a Terminator. He is also technically a Combat Medic, but being armed with only a Bolt Pistol, he shouldn't be expected to fight anything tougher than a Chaos Cultist.
  • Mighty Glacier: Terminators can hit ridiculously hard... if you can get them into battle before it's all over.
  • Mini-Mecha: Dreadnoughts. Basically suits of Powered Armor twice the height of a Space Marine, which also double as the life support for a mortally wounded Space Marine hero.
  • Mooks: Chaos Cultists — they're used almost exclusively as a distraction. In the later missions they might surprise you with a Plasma Grenade or two though.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: You can't play the Chaos Marines at all unless you have two human players.
  • Permadeath: If you lose a marine, he can't be replaced. You have only 50 for 15 main missions and many optional side missions.
  • Powered Armor: There's 3 kinds: the standard Power Armour worn by all Space Marines, the heavier Terminator Armour worn only by veteran Marines and finally the Dreadnoughts, which are twice the size of a Marine.
  • Power Fist: Terminators can get Power Fists or the even mightier Chainfist for each member. These weapons make Terminators the masters of melee combat. Assault Marines and Khorne Berzerkers can also wield Power Fists, and these are the best choice for them, except for the unique relic weapons.
  • Side Quest: You could gain more experience, but risk losing your irreplaceable Marines... Some of the later side missions are almost Schmuck Bait — you'd face a huge horde of Chaos troops who'd start very close to your troops. It's very likely you'll lose at least one or two of your irreplaceable Marines for experience or weapons you probably don't need. If you don't use Save Scumming, of course.
  • Shoot the Medic First: The Chaos Marines really like to pick on your Apothecary.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Multi-meltas are so powerful, it's not even funny, and they deal damage over large area, meaning one or two Marines can evaporate a whole squad with them. Only their limited range (barely) prevents them from being GameBreakers.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: In one mission that involves your Assault Squad taking a Chaos fortress, one of your marines will be kidnapped by teleporting Chaos Marines. Further in the game, you'll be rescuing him but all the gear he had will be lost and he's so badly injured in his captivity that he won't be able to take part in any further missions (this is actually a bug — he's supposed to rejoin you, but he usually just disappears instead, and some players have reported they get a "clone" of another marine instead of the captured one). Hopefully they took your worst Marine in that mission.
  • Space Marine: Most of the characters in the game are this. It's Warhammer 40000 after all.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Chaos Marines! Only Terminators and bunkers have actual spikes though (the others have horns, blades or bones).
  • Stone Wall: The standard Ultramarine or Word Bearer. Their bolters and combat knives won't do much against anything other than a Cultist, but between their high Toughness and very effective Power Armor they can take a ton of damage from anything that isn't a heavy or special weapon.
  • Storming the Castle: Some of the missions involve taking over Chaos fortresses, and one has you fighting to reclaim a fallen Ultramarine firebase.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: When they've gained experience, your Marines can sometimes completely shrug off bullet hits despite having lost all their armour.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Inverted, even the weak Hand Flamer can One-Hit Kill Chaos Marines and most Daemons. Even if they survive, non-Daemonic enemies will be set on fire and will run around in panic until the flames go out or they die.
  • Zerg Rush: A few missions feature cramped rooms where swarms of Chaos Cultists will ambush you, usually from balconies. While Cultist's weapons are weak, getting hit by dozens of Frag Grenades can wear down even your toughest Marines — including Terminators!