Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the galaxy...

Released: 17 November 2003
Developer: Kuju Entertainment
Selected titles:
Microsoft Train Simulator (2001)
Sensible Soccer 2006 (2006)
Battalion Wars 2 (2008)

There's a part of me that I both love and hate. It's giddy and excitable and often feels kinship with small yappy dogs. It's the part of me that honestly thought I would enjoy Fire Warrior. I find that part's naïveté endearing, but also face-palm-worthy. Warhammer 40,000! Boy, that looks like fun, all spaceships and machismo and sweaty, unwashed armour plates. I can't even complain about being a Space Marine: they're the bad guys! I'm a Tau, which is sort of what would happen if you crossed a samurai with a Gray from Deus Ex. We're plucky underdogs, and the Imperium bullies are trying to flush our civilisation's head down the bog.

Fire Warrior looks its best on its Wikipedia page. Then I did the worst thing that could happen to Fire Warrior: I booted it up. Bink video, splash screen, menu screen. Mouse? Wiggle wiggle wiggle. It's crashed! Oh, wait, I need to use the arrow keys. Video customisation... err. Apparently not. Fire Warrior is a console port from a time when "console port" became a rude thing to call a game, it's badly made and even more badly made for the PC.

Considering the game, however, I can understand the lack of effort. FW's failure is absolute: it is not fun to play. It's a monotonous slog, the weapons are dull and weedy (and can be effectively recreated by holding an arm straight out in front of you, your hand in a ball and your index finger pointing forwards, cupping your elbow and yelling "pew" while pretending to wrestle with recoil), checkpointing is brutal and it has appalling, crippling difficulty spikes, which all too often bring progress to a jolting halt. Combat is not compelling in the slightest; the noise of your mouse clicking when pretend-shooting bullets/rockets/lasers seems loud, harsh and faintly mocking.

I tried to find a redeeming feature within FW to salvage something positive out of the hours I spent playing it, so I don't have to admit I wasted a day of my precariously short life-span on something so entirely useless. The best I've come up with is "the voice acting is pretty neat". Sean Pertwee, Brian Blessed and Tom Baker all boom out lines in a magniloquent manner, giving the soldiers of the Imperium of Man the sense of affronted dignity they require, but they sure as hell aren't worth all the rubbish in between cut scenes just to hear them grumble about aliens.

Fire Warrior Gallery

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