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SummaryA rarity of the past - a movie license used correctly.
The GoodFrom the gameplay to the music, The Terminator is all about speed - keep moving and firing or you're dead. Luckily, the control is as tight as a game of this type calls for. Kyle reacts with precision as you jump, fire, and run. The only extra button in the control scheme is one used for the detonators in the first level, which becomes useless thereafter. From then on, it's you and your shotgun, which can fire as fast as your finger can tap B.
We all know that Kyle didn't fight off armies of molotov and pistol wielding punks in the film, but he always ends up combating them in the games. While that may sound like a complaint, it isn't. Given the setting and the need for filler, it works well here. Outside of avoiding the cops and shooting at the T-800, he didn't have a lot going on. Reese looks like someone who's either looking for trouble or simply is trouble, so it's easy to just take it stride that someone out there wanted him hurt.
Excluding taking out cops and punks, the game pretty much follows the movie to a T, with digitized stills from the movie between levels. They may not look like much today, but when the game was released, it added some wow factor. From Tech Noir to the factory, you'll visit plenty of familiar territory. The graphics in each level are generally well-done, as are the characters. The artists did a great job of making the Terminator and Sarah look very much like their real-life counterparts. You're not going to see massive face detail or anything like that, but the overall shape and look of the characters is spot-on. As far as Reese goes, I seem to recall a bit of a funny look to his jacket as he ran, as if they weren't consistent with the shading of the folds. A minor gripe, really.
The BadThere's really only a few issues with the game, some of which may not really bother most people. The two biggest problems are a bit of a double whammy. First, you've got only one life with which to make it through. Secondly, the very beginning of the game is probably the most difficult. You begin with nothing more than grenades, picking up health icons and detonators from fallen foes. All you've got to fight off an HK and hordes of Terminators for about the first 1/2 of the level is the grenades, which gets frustrating when you're stuck at a door that you have to blow with detonators and the previously empty screen is now full of gun-toting cyborgs. Luckily, when the door goes, so do all the enemies. Of course, once you grab the gun, it's smooth sailing from here.
The sound effects aren't what I'd call stellar. They do the job okay, but you get the grainy digitized grunts like those in Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition and the shotgun sounds like a revolver. Still, that's a minor complaint, as nothing is actually annoying. The sound used for item pickups however is a lot louder than other effects, so be prepared to not crank the audio.
The length may bug some people, and I know it would have sent me into a rage if I'd blown $50 of birthday money on it in 1992. I love the Terminator and I do enjoy the game, but unless you're a major fan, you're not going to be replaying this as much as something like Contra.