Warhammer Fantasy And 40K: GOG Add Three Old Games

When it rains grimdark, it pours. Following the announcement of Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor, an action-RPG being made by the Van Helsing lot at Neocore, GOG have dug up and released three old Warhammer games. The virtuous virtual vendors of vintage video games now stock for your purchasing and subsequent playing pleasure Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate, Final Liberation: Warhammer Epic 40,000, and, from the Warhammer Fantasy line, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat.

Chaos Gate is a turn-based strategy game about the Ultramarines off to duff up some Chaos blokes. This being from the ’90s, it’s got oodles of units and customisation to make your dream Space Marines before you chuck them into the meat grinder. GOG are selling it for £6.59.

Final Liberation is a turn-based tactical 40K game, but in the Epic subset, which is where Games Workshop roll out big armies and honking great Titans. This, unsurprisingly, is also a tricky one. GOG have it for £3.99.

Lastly, Shadow of the Horned Rat is an RTS set in the world of Orcs and Skaven. Would you believe it’s difficult too? It’s £3.99 on GOG.

As a sprog, I had a friend who adored Horned Rat, which is the closet I can come to offering a personal judgement on any of these games. I always thought Warhammer such tripe, and it was only Dawn of War that made me realise how fun and silly the whole thing can be. Orks sold me on 40K, I suppose. Though I hear Warhammer Fantasy has become tediously serious as of late.

Anyway, perhaps you’ve played ‘some of these games and can tell your fellow readers about ’em?

62 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Al__S says:

    I’ve still got Chaos Gate on CD. Never did finish it, but that was mainly because I was rubbish. It’s ace. Buy it. Play it. Curse daemons.

    • Darkheart says:

      It’s about 15 years since I last played it, but those are the best turn-based tactics memories I have. I did finish the game and yes, sometimes the RNG is against you, but hell, how great did I feel when I successfully defended my base against an onslaught of Khorne Berserkers!
      If they made the game playable on modern rigs you HAVE to give it a try!

      • harmlos says:

        I have the original disk for Chaos Gate, and it works fine on my Windows 7 (64bit) setup *if* you do the following (to avoid having the game crash the moment a cultist fires his laspistol):

        1. Open WeapDef.dat in the Data folder under the Chaos Gate folder.
        2. Find the section containing the Laspistol.
        3. Change “PlazPistHit.wav” to “PlazpistHit.wav” (note the lower case ‘p’).
        4. Save.
        5. Start a new game.

        (Credits to whoever came up with this fix; unfortunately I forgot your name and can’t credit you properly).

        I also start the game off of a disk image, not the physical disk because I don’t want anything to happen to my Chaos Gate disk – this is one of my favorite games ever, due in large part to the atmosphere it manages to create.

  2. niksus says:

    Shadow of the Horned Rat is not turn-based, it is rts, was pretty good back in the days. Chaos Gate was also good game, but what i really remember it for was the music, best tracks i heard in a game ever…

    • CaidKean says:

      If one wants to really nitpick it is RTT rather than RTS. And yes, it is pretty good but also pretty damned hard. At least it was on the PlayStation. I adored the cutscenes though, shame the ones in the sequel were nowhere near as neat.

    • XhomeB says:

      Chaos Gate’s soundtrack is incredible for one reason – I can totally imagine it being played WITHIN the WH40k universe, it’s as if it’s been pulled right from that world. It’s so believable, so fitting. No other WH40k managed to convey that feeling so well.

      • cpt_freakout says:

        When I played this as a kid I loved the music so much (weird kid, I know) I just put it everywhere in Windows. You know, instead of the soothing Brian Eno clip or whatever it played at startup it would thunder into these eerie military-religious chants that always gave my mom the creeps. At the time, we only had one ‘family computer’, and out of all the family only my dad and I knew how to tweak those things, but since he found it super amusing he never did anything about it. I guess he enjoyed the sight of my siblings turning the computer on and running away for like 5 minutes until the music stopped playing… that is, until they did something like open windows explorer, which burst into yet another of the game’s tracks. Fun times. :)

    • Ace Rimmer says:

      I still pine for a proper turn based WFB game, not least as the current incarnations of the table top game seem less and less appealing. I remember Shadow of the Horned Rat as being fun, if bastard hard, but my increasingly shitty reflexes and plodding thinking means I’ll be lucky to make it through the tutorial.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      I have this vague displaced memory of a persistent dwarf informing me of “trouble t’ mine!”, was this from Horned Rat?

    • Zephro says:

      Shadow of the Horned Rat was amazing, the battles are like pre-cursors of the first Total War games. So Total Warhammer might be quite special for once, as the other new games they announced look rubbish.

  3. XhomeB says:

    All three games ROCK. All three should be played and appreciated even today, because they’ve been unfairly forgotten, even though they did not deserve that fate.
    Now – Rites of War, Dark Omen and Armageddon, please.

    • CaidKean says:

      Armageddon is already available DRM-free via the Humble Store in case that is the reason you want it on GOG.

      • XhomeB says:

        It doesn’t require Steam to launch? Really?
        Makes me wonder why they decided not to sign a deal with GOG in this case.

        • CaidKean says:

          At least that’s what I’ve been told, buying it on Humble Store nets you a DRM-free version to download as well as a Steam key to redeem. But you should contact Humble Store to be sure before purchasing!

          • qrter says:

            It doesn’t have the ‘DRM Free’ logo on their store page, only the Steam one, so I doubt there’s a non-Steam version.

        • Twigzy12 says:

          For anyone wondering if there’s DRM free versions of Armageddon, go to slitherine’s website and you’ll find it. It’s my first post I know, but I just wanted to dispel the illusion that the game was Steam exclusive :)

      • JiminyJickers says:

        Armageddon is a Matrix/Slitherine game. So, it is available DRM free from them with a Steam key also included. It won’t be available DRM free from the Humble Shop. Unless they mean DRM free on Steam, which I personally don’t consider to be fully DRM free.

  4. blastaz says:

    Where is dark omen and what on earth is that epic game are the real questions that need answering.

    Think I will buy chaos gate just for the soundtrack. The Gregorian chant was awesome. But six quid is a little steep so will wait for a sale.

    • Chiron says:

      All 3 are great games, the Epic game features a wonderful Commissar taking names and shooting faces. I still maintain that no Warhammer game since these have been anywhere near as good as these.

      Dawn of War was… ok, but it was an RTS and suffered from the drawbacks that come with that, I for one cannot stand base building and eternally pumping out soldiers from nowhere. Asset management and points are much more my sort of thing.

  5. CaidKean says:

    Where is Space Crusade, Space Hulk and Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels?

    • AriochRN says:

      I think the upcoming Space Hulk Deathwing looks a bit Vengeance of the Blood Angels-y though it just wouldn’t be the same without “Pluvious…GET OUT OF MY WAY!”

  6. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Looks like ULTRASRARMES to me.

    I reviewed Shadow of the Horned Rat for Abandonia ages ago. I thought it was good, but found it very difficult. I think I cheated to finish it, otherwise I’d never have finished that final battle. It was also quite difficult to get working (and I think very difficult or impossible on Win7+), so I’m very glad GOG has sorted these out.

  7. bills6693 says:

    I’m still hoping we’ll see a Mark of Chaos digital release someday. I actually really enjoyed that game but its odd that its not available digitally even though its not that old.

    • Cyroch says:

      Same here, I loved the game. Can’t for the life of me find my old boxed version tho.

  8. DarkFenix says:

    Why the hell hasn’t anyone started making a modern Chaos Gate yet? Or better yet some kind of XCOM 40k game.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Depends on what you mean by an XCOM game? In WH40K technological advancement is held back by bureaucracy and religious ideology which means the research element is out the window. Space Marines employ quick strike tactics that make base building a no-go. These are the core concepts that separate XCOM from traditional Tactics games.

      Now if you mean Tactics instead of XCOM them there is Mordenheim on Steam Early Access.

      • DarkFenix says:

        I just mean a similar tactics game with a grand campaign style rather than a linear and finite set of missions.

        • iucounu says:

          Hello! Are you me? You sound like me.

          I would like an Inquisitor-themed version of XCOM, basically. Procedurally-generated missions on randomised worlds, in which you recruit, nurture and deploy your Inquisitor’s team against the forces of Chaos. A morality system that lets you choose a more radical or conservative path depending on how much you want to bend the rules and use the baddies’ weapons against them. This would be ace. The WH40K Inquisitor rules are a lot like XCOM’s in any case (two actions per turn, run and/or shoot…)

          • DarkFenix says:

            Yes, yes, yes. I’ve been saying they should use exactly that theme too, it’d comfortably give the most diverse gameplay possible for such a game. This needs to exist.

          • Spiralling says:

            I can dream of a Shadowrun mod that would do this.

      • pepperfez says:

        “Research” would consist of increasingly specific and lavish bribes to the Mechanicum and the Inquisition.

      • blastaz says:

        You could fluf your way round the fluff easily enough.

        Upgrade a thunder hawk or battle barge, perhaps it has become damaged and you need to repair certain rooms?

        And instead of research have imperial favour which allows you to unlock new kit/troops you weren’t trusted with before.

        Or just don’t play as a lame race like the marines… Could have an awesome xcom inversion where you play as the orks trying to defend your world from an imperial purge. That would maintain the tech superiority of the aliens and allow you to research more dakka to counter it!

        • Volcanu says:

          Eldar would work well too.

          Squad could start off as boring Guardians and then specialise as different aspect warriors as they levelled up. For the last mission you could sacrifice your best warrior in order to get the Avatar of Khaine. Perhaps dead warriors could be brought back as Wraithguard if you fulfilled the right criteria.

          Your base could either be in the webway or could be an Eldar ship.

  9. mattevansc3 says:

    Hopefully this is either GoG staggering the GW releases like they did with the Lucas Arts games or they could be testing the waters. Either way buy these games just in case!

    • shadybearfaced says:

      I had them all sitting in my GOG cart, trying to justify spending $20 on a bunch of games from the 90s I’ll never have time to beat, let alone learn to play decently. Then I read your comment.

      Goodbye, Andrew.

  10. Chris Cunningham says:

    GOG’s weird obsession with flipping you to US currency means that SotHR is a trifling £3.97 right this minute. Easiest £3.97 I’ve spent in years. Dark Omen will be gladly purchased as well, even though it’s spoiled somewhat by being beatable by mere mortals.

  11. Thurgret says:

    I beat Shadow of the Horned Rat as a child, without cheating. Something inspired me to stack my army with all the ranged units I possibly could, the increasingly bizarrely powerful Black Avengers (I think they got armoured up in Zhufbar), dwarf infantry and those knights you pick up if you take the underground road to Zhufbar. Sure, sure, you miss out on Ragnar’s Wolves and the mortars, but the path to Zhufbar if you go that way is insanely hard, whereas the underground bit just has squig hoppers, which caused me to reload about ten times before the random number generator finally favoured my crossbowmen and wizard.

    As an adult, I am flummoxed.

  12. Rymosrac says:

    You really can’t accuse Warhammer Fantasy of being overly serious in the same year that they remove all point values from units and give you bonuses for pretending to be riding a pony that you talk to.

    • pepperfez says:

      Ah, but that is not Warhammer Fantasy Battles but the fully separate game Age of Sigmar. Quite different, you know.

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        WFB has rat-men with gatling guns, catapults that fire goblins with arm-powered wings, gigantic bouncing blob-beasts called squigs… I could go on.
        If it takes itself seriously, it’s in spite of everything about it.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          Lets not forget the elite Dwarven unit that was formed because their world famous brewery got burned down. Or the Goblins that get high as a kite then start spinning about while swinging huge balls on chains.

  13. fuggles says:

    Horned rat – impossible without guides and knowing where all the hidden wargear was. Good manual though.

  14. MrPyro says:

    I’ve just purchased Final Liberation and started playing: I had forgotten the cut-scenes.

    Live
    Action
    Cutscenes

    With crunchy guitars playing over the top.

    link to youtube.com

    That’s worth the purchase price right there.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      This cutscene both taught me how to pronounce “Waagh” and informed me of what orc voices are supposed to sound like: inhumanly deep and guttural. I dunno WTF went wrong in 40K: Space Marine, where the orcs all sound like high school kids whose voices just broke, yelling “SPOICE MARINE! IT’S A SPOICE MARINE! SPOICE MARINE!” as if they’d have the patiences for anything with more than two syllables anyway.

    • Kollega says:

      Oh… my… Ratchet. This cutscene is so cheesy and so cheap. Brilliantly cheesy and gloriously cheap. It’s like if Red Alert 2’s trashy cutscene style had a child with the original Starcraft’s dumb aesthetic direction, and then tasked Nineties Kid from Atop the Fourth Wall with raising it. And if the game itself follows suit, then I can’t help but give it two thumbs up. “Deliberately dumb, cheesy, and cheap-looking” is everything 40k should be. Much better than the “lavish CG depictions of facism, war crimes, and Spess Mehreens ALL GRIMACING ALL THE TIME”.

      In short, this cutscene is hilariously dumb and awesome. I approve.

  15. Haplo says:

    LOOKS LIKE IT’S CHRISTMASTIME FOR HAPLO

    So I played Chaos Gate and Final Liberation -tons- a lot as a kid, even though my computer couldn’t really handle it. This is fantastic.

  16. drewski says:

    I enjoyed SotHR as a wee nipper but it was so balls hard I never got very far in the campaign. Shame, it had a real flair.

    Chaos Gate, on the other hand, was immediately and compulsively addictive. Possibly the first game I ever finished twice apart from stuff like Civ. Highly, highly recommended.

  17. heretic says:

    Oh my god Chaos Gate!!!! This brings back memories, I remember playing the demo to death when I was a kid – only finished it once I think, it was hard!

  18. Skeletor68 says:

    I played Chaos Gate as a young un but bounced off it pretty hard in terms of difficulty. Was I stupid or do I need to understand the tabletop mechanics to play? Just trying to figure out whether to purchase or not!

    • Volcanu says:

      No you dont. Familiarity with the tabletop helps in terms of instantly knowing what different weapons are good for etc, but the game gives you all of that information too (How good it is against armour, range, damage etc).

      If you’ve ever played an X-COM alike you’ll be right at home. More so the old X-COMs but even if you’ve only played the new ones you will find much that is familiar.

      A few tips: marines are far more effective once they level up, so keeping them alive is important otherwise the campaign will become too difficult (but thats par for the course with the kind of games).

      Also in the early levels especially, overwatch is your friend. And always try to end your turn with marines in cover, crouching helps too.

      It’s awesome and to be honest holds up surprisingly well.

      • drewski says:

        Pretty much this.

        Keep your marines alive, spread out their experience, shuffle your wargear and equipment and overwatch, overwatch, overwatch.

    • Volcanu says:

      A few more tips if you do take the plunge:

      In the early levels your heavy bolter guy will do most of the killing. Chaos Marines are best dealt with by him, or by hurling krak grenades in their faces from your tactical marines.

      Once you get the assault squad you should use them to take out high priority targets in turn 1 or 2, using their jump packs to get into melee. High priority being anyone with a heavy weapon. Basically normal bolters are pretty crap and heavy weapons and close combat rule.

      On a side note the Assault Cannon is hilariously OP once you get Terminators.

      • Skeletor68 says:

        Ok you have me sold, thanks for that! Buying later this evening. I remember loving the aesthetic without knowing much of the universe.

        I adored DoW2 and enjoyed the Dark Heresy roleplay on YouTube while it lasted.. If I wanted to read one of the books in the 40K, where should I start?

        • Disco Stupac says:

          The best starting point for 40K fiction I’d suggest is Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn trilogy, either in omnibus format or if you can’t find that they’ve started reprinting separate volumes of the three books, Xenos, Malleus and Hereticus. (The omnibus is better because it’s got a couple of extra short stories in it). This is about an inquisitor and is easily the best 40K fiction I’ve read. His Gaunt’s Ghosts series about a regiment of Imperial Guardsmen (the standard human grunts of 40K) is also enjoyable.

          However, if you want Space Marines, the best place to start might be Graham McNeill’s Ultramarines series.
          The Horus Heresy series is also good, but it’s set 10,000 years before the standard 40K setting and is different in lots of ways – might be better to get more acquainted with the setting first before diving into these.

          • Skeletor68 says:

            That’s great man, thank you. Why is the Abnett omnibus so expensive? Jaysus.

        • Volcanu says:

          Disco Stupac has pretty much just said what I was going to say.

          Non current 40k rulebooks and codexes (available cheaply on ebay) often have good artwork and bits of fiction for good flavour too.

          The ‘Titan’ graphic novel was also very good and atmospheric but is possibly out of print.

          Graham mcneill’s stuff is good ‘bolter porn’ but isnt as well written as the Dan Abnett stuff, so that’s prob the best place to start (unless you really want some Marine stuff).

        • Chiron says:

          See if you can track down a copy of the Codex Imperialis (you should be able to find a PDF somewhere)

          Its a magnificent book and though its a bit outdated its one of the things that really said “this game and setting is special, you will love it”

          link to eternalhunt.wordpress.com

  19. Chiron says:

    Please release Dark Omen, soon, please dear god I loved that game. All it needs for me is a skirmish mode or a decent MP and I’d play it today.

  20. Darth Gangrel says:

    “which is the closet I can come to offering a personal judgement on any of these games” Perhaps you should come out of the Warhammer closet, Alice?

    • Skeletor68 says:

      In the grim darkness of the far future there is only sexual equality.

  21. postrook says:

    someone should figure out a way to mod shadow of the horned rat to make the controls not completely terrible, if that’s possible