In honor of John Connor, we take a look back at some of the highs and lows of the digital representation of the Terminator franchise. James Cameron’s dream of Future War has been dragged through the mud by a number of videogame companies, but a select few have shown that Skynet is worth blowing up once or twice. Take a stroll into the time bubble for a few of these gaming installments.
Read part one of our Terminator game retrospective after the jump!
The Terminator – Sega CD (1992)
Sega CD brought us a great many gaming moments, in between all the grainy as hell cinematics. The short lived system brought us the best Sonic installment, Spider-man Vs. the Kingpin, the best port of Earthworm Jim, and a near arcade perfect of the first Mortal Kombat. The Terminator was worlds above the inferior versions on other consoles, blasting us with awesome guitar riffs and beautiful visuals at the time.
The story followed the quest of 2027 TechCom soldier Kyle Reese to go back in time and bump uglies with Sarah Connor. The game boasted that it contained 10 levels reenacting the scenes of the movie, however, most of the game actually took place before Kyle even made it to 1984. Kyle begins the game running through a post apocalyptic world, avoiding shirtless Arnie model terminators, skinless T-800 endoskeletons, mounted tripod gun turrets, and hunter-killer tanks. When he jumps through the time portal, things get a little strange for Kyle. Instead of keeping a low profile, Reese decides to blow away Mohawk sporting street thugs and bar tenders.
Eventually, once the player had made it to the Tech Noir stage, Sarah Connor and The T-800 Model 101 would start to make brief appearances. Much like the Governator’s political career, Arnie would rear his ugly mug to take a number of shots and blows only to show up the next time good as new. The game was your standard side scroller, but the action was fierce and fast paced. The only drawback was the lack of passwords or saves, meaning the player had to do all this work in one sitting. Also, one oddity, what I could only describe as “music box tunes” would play every so often during gameplay…the song itself ending with a little girl saying, “I love you, daddy”. I don’t understand why that was thrown in there, but the game itself is a little gem that is better than the later Terminator Dawn of Fate (which also told the same back story of Kyle Reese).
Terminator 2: Judgment Day – SNES and Sega Genesis (1993)
With everything that the Sega CD game got right, the videogame interpretation of T2 got wrong. As the story goes, John Connor sends back the T-800 back in time to protect his preteen counterpart from a Skynet liquid metal assassin. The SNES and Genesis versions are much uglier than The Terminator the year prior, and, unfortunately (to my knowledge), there was no Sega CD version for this movie. So players were stuck with this sh*tcan, where Arnold is forced to fend off bar thugs, cops, and the T1000 all to happy electronic tunes.
The game starts off with Arnold naked in a parking lot, where he must push and shove his way for some clothes. Once he gets his weapons, the game does not get much better. The side scrolling action is crude and boring, and Arnold is forced to scramble through a number of boring rooms and talk to a few characters from the movie. Even worse are the driving levels which play off like a mentally handicapped version of Paperboy. And hopefully I don’t spoil the experience of playing the game by ruining the ending, but Arnold blows up the factory at the end (presumably with John and Sarah still inside) and jumps through time. WTF?
Check back tomorrow for part two of our retrospective!