The Terminator close to terminal

Posted: May 20, 2009 in Shooter

In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper panned the upcoming “Terminator Salvation” as an epic waste of time. I wouldn’t say Big Head’s “The Terminator” is an epic waste of time, but it’s certainly lacking in terms of challenging gameplay and offering any variety in the environments.

The player is Kyle Reese and the objective is to help him progress through several levels to access Skynet’s core. Visually, the environment is virtually the same—a desolated area full of wreckage and debris. In addition, an intense soundtrack is included as well as the weapons fire and explosion sound effects.

The game offers two modes: story and quick play. Story mode has 5 missions with only the first unlocked. Each mission involves a combination of destroying terminators, locating communications relays and transcoders.

5 Missions in Story Mode
Stage 1: Clear out Terminators (unlocked)
Stage 2: Navigate mindfield and clear all rocketbots
Stage 3: Access Comm Relay
Stage 4: Locate Bazooka and Acquire 3 Transcoders by destroying Hunter Tanks
Stage 5: Activate Emitters and access core

In Quick Play mode, the objective is to rescue soldiers in the battlefield, while fending off terminators and robot tanks.

Two control options are available: joystick and drag with accompanying fire button, and the game can be played in portrait or landscape mode. You also have the option of turning on/off auto-targeting. In terms of weapons, Kyle has several at his disposal: pistol, Gatling machine gun, rifle and bazooka each with limited ammo with the exception of the pistol.

In the game screen, a healthbar is located in the upper left corner and a pause/menu button in the upper right corner. Two control areas are located below: joystick/drag on the left, and fire button on the right. In the middle is the weapon in use, which you can toggle by tapping.

The gameplay offers minimal challenge at best and at times, I could literally spin around in a circle with my finger on the fire button and clear out the terminators. While moving around, you can pick up salvage for bonus points and additional ammo in order to reload. Most of the time when completing a mission, the action simply stops and “Mission Completed” appears. I was able to complete all five levels in about 45 minutes, telling because I don’t think that’s every happened to me before.

Is The Terminator a terrible game? Not completely, but it feels very uninspired for a game with a movie tie in. I was expecting something more upscale considering we’ve seen other games with movie tie-ins (e.g. Terminator Salvation and Star Trek) that offer high production values with better gameplay. The Terminator offers uninspired gameplay, which is a shame considering the movie franchise it’s supposed to emulate.

Albie Meter: 2 Stars (unmet potential combined with ho-hum gameplay and lack of intensity seriously inhibit this game)

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