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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.


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.
  • 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).
    • Vehicles were included in the game but poorly implemented. They were only available in a few missions, and could only move about in very open terrain. Furthermore, the Rhino, an APC available in only one mission, was not very tough and, if destroyed, would cause all your marines inside it to die as well.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cool Ship: The Battle Barge, your base. A well-armed cathedral with a crew of badass superhuman warriors - in space!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Drop the Hammer: The most powerful (non-artefact) melee weapon in the game is the Thunder hammer. It is usable only by your Terminators.
  • Eldritch Abomination: the various daemons.
  • 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 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 it can get only one per battle. Its Chaos marine counterpart, the Reaper Autocannon, is even more dangerous because it has a longer range.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Your Assault Marines can use these to good effect - e.g. jump-pack in, throw grenade, jump-pack out.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. Also a Combat Medic, but he is armed only with a pistol.
  • 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.
  • Perma Death: 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.
  • 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: Multimeltas 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.


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