Terminator, The
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7  |  Not Much Like The Movie, But Who Cares?
Darryl B. , 6/4/2005 10:45:19 PM
A lot of video games that are supposedly based on movies usually don't have much in common with them, like for the millions of us that could have sworn there wasn't one single pit in that E. T. movie -- unless you count that one time Elliot found E. T. in that ditch, which I don't -- unlike the dozens in that 2600 game, nor do I recall a scene from Total Recall where Ah-nold was attacked by what appeared to be a bunch of midgets in red outfits (which a friend of mine, Rebecca, told me about, as I've never played that NES game...but then, I don't think I really want to know anyway...).

However, in the case of The Terminator, that doesn't really matter, since it's still a good game.

At the time of this writing, in 2005, we've barely been shown any of the nightmare future world of the Terminator series in it's three movies so far (although the fourth one, whenever it's going to come out, looks like it's FINALLY going to dive into the apocalyptic, post-Judgement Day environment that has been promised for a while now), just brief flashbacks of the future-to-past time traveler/hero Kyle Reese, as about half of the game takes place in the future.

During the first several stages, you control Reese in the ravaged future world that is controlled by machines (and I'm not talking about the machine-like beings of today, like Al Gore). In your typical, standard scrolling shooter, you run around, collect grenades, power-ups and rifles, shoot Terminators and machines, find hidden areas with power-ups and extra lives, etc...which it's a bit too typical, as this game barely got a 7 from me, since it reminded me too much of Flashback, especially the club stage on here really rips off the club stage in Flashback! Luckily, though, when I was getting an in-game photo recently for Stage Select, I had forgotten how fun it actually was as I was going through it, rather than just being a rip-off and rating it lower than I choose to do now.

It's also funny how SegaVisions proclaimed this as to really taking the (at the time) new cd gaming world by storm, as it's gameplay elevated us all to "the next level", as they said this was due to the cut scenes (which are grainy), yet for some reason they lack the drama of the movie and are boring as hell to me. The Sega CD was capable of soooooo much more than this, especially since Flashback was so superb as just a Genesis game alone, even before the CD version came out!

I was also a bit worried when I first got this and the back box cover proclaimed the game as to having 10 "huge levels" (which would take up a lot of my time), yet, upon skimming through the instructions, there's no mention of any password or game saves; argh, it's like a Sega product where they refuse to do this (32X Doom, Tomcat Alley for the CD, etc.), making us suffer by going through it over and over again!

Well, if the levels are so damn huge, how come several hours after I first started playing I was already on level 5, and therefore nearly halfway through the game already? (Flashback, on the other hand, made no mention of how big the levels were [or not], yet it took me THREE rentals before I could beat the game!)

So much for that "next level" nonsense.

Anyway, don't mean to get off track (I just think it's funny to expose companies of their self-promoting, exaggerated b. s.), since, even with my gripes, the sound, controls, and graphics are very good, although at times the animation suffers, like when you blow up these big machines that magically disappear into thin air, no debris flying off or anything when they explode (making sure they won't "be back").

One of the future locales we're taken through in the game is a look into Skynet itself, which is a bit creepy, with what looks like cryogenic casings for future Terminators to be created and some kind of exo-skeleton Terminator dog things, until you get to the part where Reese is sent back to L. A. in the 80s to protect Sarah Connor and her future unborn child (who becomes a leader against the machines in the future), where it starts to fit into the movie theme, as Reese is stripped down (ha ha, sorry!) of his fancy grenades and futuristic rifles to his trenchcoat and shotgun like in the movie.

From there you battle street punks (which there's only about four basic kinds, with hordes of them looking like those basic four punk groups), go to the Flashback ripoff level of the Technoir Bar and an extremely ridiculous police station level (that contains all kinds of building code violations of holes in floors and loose, sparking wires, not to mention you have to take these weird lifts to get from one level to another) until you finally happen upon Connor and the Terminator himself, and the very last Terminator battle on the last level ends pretty much like in the movie; clever. Punch that button, Connor!

I can only imagine how much this game cost Virgin, due to the movie license, the real-life models that were used to represent Connor and Ah-nold himself, not to mention the usual array of programmers and even musicians for the soundtrack (which, even though it's mostly decent hard rock and heavy metal, it doesn't really match with the gloomy, brooding movie theme), plus the Sega CD didn't exactly set the gaming world on fire in sales, which Virgin's not even making video games any more right now (plus this might have been due to several of their complex polygon puzzle games like Out of This World as well that might have cost them plenty).

Still, this game's probably worth picking up, as long as you've either never played Flashback, don't mind another version of it, or you're just trying to get all the games for your Sega CD collection possible, just as long as you don't pay any more than five, maybe even ten dollars for it, as it's still a bit fun, although the brief ending sucks a bit.

And one last thing, though: why the hell does Reese kick his legs whenever he jumps? God, that's annoying; I didn't know I was playing a futuristic version of Frogger! ("Hasta la vista, frog-face!" [Blam!]) 7 out of 10

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