|Genre: Strategy||CDs: 1|
|Publisher: Electronic Arts||Released: September 5, 1996|
|Developer: Key Game||UPC: 0 14633 07692 9|
|Sony ID: SLUS-00205||PSRM: 002180|
|Players: 1 Player||Memory: 1 Block|
|ESRB: Teen – Animated Blood & Gore|
Cleanse and Burn…
A huge and out of control derelict spaceship is racing towards the Imperial Planet Delvar III.
The honor has befallen the Blood Angels chapter of Imperial Space Marines to board this gargantuan Space Hulk, battle through hordes of Genestealer Aliens, divert it from its course and save the planet from certain destruction!
The Space Hulk “long box” was a mysterious oddity in the lore of the long box collection. During the initial compilation of released games, this one always came up as an unsure one. Rumors had persisted that it in fact did exist, but there was never a concrete picture or any physical proof. Even if the item did surface, was it an actual release or an unused relic?
The trail was cold until a random eBay auction…
It was a bidding war for only the game and the long box, but there was no manual. Without the manual, the eBay auction was nothing more than a display case. Game-Rave was the first to research the possibility of the item’s existence, including contacting Electronic Arts on the matter. The official word was that, “It was never released, and only exists as a double-jewel case.” Obviously, that reply piqued my curiosity. Having lost the auction, I instead hit the magazine archives and original websites that existed during the early years of the PlayStation.
Two pieces of information came forward; the PlayStation Galleria stated the retail date was September 5th, and this was confirmed in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. This proved a very important clue; September 5 would have meant a long box version of Space Hulk had been released almost 2 months and 15 game releases later than the final long box, which was Tecmo World Golf. With this in mind, the ‘missing manual’ theory was still the only piece that would allow anything to fall into place.
The journey continues…
Almost half a year passed, and suddenly another long box appears, again without the manual. This time, the seller shows the long box to have the real barcode and the official SLUS ID number on the case. More importantly, it said in the auction that the seller’s source claims, “…no manuals were ever made, and that all of the long boxes should have been destroyed.” No reasons are given for this claim, but since I knew the seller, it was more than hard not to believe. A chance of fates allows me to grab a hold of a separate copy of the long box. That means at the time there are either 2 or 3 confirmed Space Hulk long boxes floating around, including mine.
Upon obtaining the box, there were 4 tests that had to be passed for it to be officially a “real” retail box. The first two, the retail barcode and the SLUS ID number were already confirmed; but Pre-Order boxes were notorious for being the real case ahead of schedule. The third, which one wouldn’t know of unless they had Sony’s Identity Manual, was the white square. In a bumpy long box such as this one, if there were no artworks on the inside of the case, there would need to be a small white square on the inside lid, a printer’s mark to show there was no artwork needed; That was confirmed.
Finally, there is the 4th and smallest marker of them all – the Electronic Arts’ part ID tag. Not the SLUS number, but a small, 6 digit number usually buried next to the Copyright info on the back of the box. On a long box, they end in 201, on a jewel case version they end in 220. The long box does indeed have its proper ID number, which means that this is an official long box case…that was never sent to the retail markets.
So what happened during those two months between the last long box and the release of Space Hulk? A shipping delay, for whatever reasons you could fathom.
That makes this an officially UNRELEASED long box case style. The key word of course being unreleased; this is not part of the official variant release list, but is instead a hell of a collector’s item.
Here’s the entire theorized timeline of how it happened:
- As proven by another ‘unreleased game’ long box, Electronic Arts sends out ‘dummy’ long box cases for retail Coming Soon sections. The game is scheduled to go on sale sometime in late June / early July.
- Sometime before the game’s original release date, Sony announces they are switching over to the standard Jewel Cases that the music industry uses, as well as their Japanese counterpart. The final long boxes, ending with Tecmo World Golf, are released to the general public.
- For whatever reason, Space Hulk is delayed, possibly due to production issues, the long box itself, or poor reviews (the average score was a 5 out of 10). This may have been specifically for packaging reasons; Space Hulk’s disc’s final file was done in early June.
- Electronic Arts, in the process of converting Triple Play, Wing Commander III, Road Rash, and NBA Live 96 to the standard jewel cases, decides to completely scrap what long boxes have been made for Space Hulk to just move it to the jewel case immediately.
- The long boxes sent out as pre-order cases are then used as stand-ins for copies of the game, be it used ones or if the display box went missing (in the case of EB Games / Babbages opened copies).
As of this updated page creation, at least 5 to 7 Space Hulk long boxes have been discovered, with the latest one – in a horribly worn condition – appearing on eBay in July 2016.
- There are no known misprints, but the unreleased long box had a typo corrected in the final release.
- There is no review for this game yet.
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Final Score: NA – No Review
- There are no screenshots for this game yet.
- There are currently no videos for this game.
- Space Hulk was not the only game with an unused retail released box. NFL Quarterback Club ’96 had the same treatment, except it’s game was cancelled in favor of turning it into a ’97 edition. Currently only one known version of that game’s long box exists. Sadly, it is not in our possession.
- WarHammer has lead a steady, if mostly quiet life on game consoles. Various releases on multiple systems have come and gone, but it really picked up during the 360 / PS3 era when Warhammer: Space Marine released.
- If you’ve never followed the table top series, Games Workshop have their own set of stores where you can often see game pieces beautifully hand painted and huge game board / play areas on display. While I’ve never been able to get into it, I’ve stopped by during game sessions just to check out the craftsmanship of various players – some pretty incredible stuff.