'I'll be back!' Or as it is in my case, I am back with another review/blog post. This time around I have chosen to go way back and discuss what is for me one of the best movies made into a game of all time....Stay with me on this one and I will explain why I feel this way.
First off I love Terminator 2 and as a youngster I was a massive fan of Arnie and just about every movie that he starred in; with the exception of the one where he gets pregnant...you know the one I mean right? Junior. Talk about ruining a man's image. The first instalment of the Terminator franchise was a huge success, which had me clenching my nether regions, too afraid to go to the toilet, as I first watched the T-800, rise from the ashes in all its shiny glory (as if Arnie as a Terminator wasn't scary enough). Then came the second instalment, Judgement Day, staring the unknown at the time Edward Furlong, who became a bit of a daydream character of mine, after I watched him being relentlessly pursued, by the seemingly indestructible T-1000, meaning, that in playground reenactments, I would take on his persona, believing that judgement day was indeed on its way and that I was the last hope for the human race.
So deeply touched by this fantastic film, which is still one of my all time favourites today, it was perhaps inevitable that I would have similar feelings about the game.
Originally I borrowed a copy of the game from a friend at school who happened to be a girl (way before girl gamer's became a thing) and played it on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) religiously until she started to ask for it back. As much as I tried to, I could not finish the game (as I had managed with the GameBoy version) in the relatively short period of time that I was allowed to borrow it (damn you Amy), so therefor, it disappeared into the back catalogue of games, that I stored in my memory to be replayed at the soonest next opportunity. Little did I know at the time that it would be a fast forward of my own time line and a massive jump in technology, before I would re-engage, with a game that I had never given up hope of playing again. Funnily enough, at the time of buying my PSP, (recently) with a massive library of emulators, I also found a copy of the GameBoy version of T2 in a charity shop. I will write a separate review for this game, as it is almost on par with the Mega Drive version.
So what makes this a game that is so special and still highly playable today? Well let's get into the game itself.
I will keep this short for all those who already know the plot of the film, as the game follows it closely. For the most part you are the T-800, modelled on Arnie's film character, tasked with the protection of both John and Sarah Connor, who are being hunted down by the liquid metal, shape shifting, T-1000. That's it, simple.
Game-play (Side Scrolling Action Adventure)
The game switches between side scrolling levels based on scenes from the film and driving levels where you must avoid your pursuers and get to the next level. The game itself is difficult to play, as was the typical fashion of the 16-bit generation of video games. Back in the days, before having save spots, you had limited lives and continues to rely on helping you to get to the end of the game, so it was often the case that with a game such as this, the replay value was based on having to master the flow of every level, until you could set up for a relentless race to the finish, pretty much in the fashion that enemies and the reappearing T-1000 come at you throughout this game. Persistent springs to mind, with patience paying off as you take a deep breath at the end of each level. Surprisingly it is the driving that is most difficult of all; it was on one such level that I couldn't progress in time to have a chance of finishing the game before Amy came knocking. Each level gets progressively harder, especially when it comes to having to protect John and then his mother Sarah at the same time. If either should die then it is game over and Skynet has succeeded, in eliminating the human threat to its plans of a world ruled by technology. As you control your T-800, enemies come at you from both sides of the screen with a variety of weapons. Your Terminator begins by only being able to duck, jump, punch and knee, but quickly acquires his own arsenal of weapons that makes level progression a little more balanced, but still rather challenging. From the third level onward, the T-1000, will also join the mix of bad guys attempting to stop you, with its shape shifting, stabbing arms. The T-1000 isn't difficult for the early part to deal with, but it will reappear as often as it disappears after you have pumped some slugs into it. You are tasked with objectives to complete before being able to progress to the next level, with the environments being destructible and often with a level of interaction that allows for finding hidden items. It's all pretty basic stuff; like opening doors and shooting things that explode; typical hunter, stalker, seek and find game play common in a lot of Sega Mega Drive games. Overall the game both delights and frustrates at the same time, leaving you with that grit determination, of not being beaten by something, you know you can do if you should just have one more attempt. Thankfully, today via the PSP, you are able to save at any point, making this an even more plug and play experience than the original release. The music of the game is your typical 16-bit pumping techno style, with little reference to the the film soundtrack. The in game sounds and effects are what you would also expect from this generation...comical at times, but it was much loved in the 90's. In terms of how the game looks, to be honest, I still like it. I thought it was nothing short of film like quality back in the day, but I did have an incredibly active imagination and I could of been playing it in 8-bit, in black and white and still felt the same. Going back today I would say that it is what it is and you cannot expect it to be anything more. The technology of the time had its limitations, but that didn't stop the games from being fantastic and highly playable. Just check out how big retro gaming is today and it is clear to see that this is the case still.
So, unable to complete this game back in the 90's, my Terminator adventure has begun once more. Admittedly I don't have the same drive that I did as a teenager to sit and go at this until the end in one sitting, but that doesn't mean that I am not having heaps of nostalgic fun when I do pick it up. At the end of each stage, in typical Arnie fashion, it is case of 'I'll be back!' And I would encourage anyone who has missed this game to do the same; go back and pick it up.
It's a little dated today but still worth a play, especially if you didn't back in the day, ha! Terminator 2 scores a 10 out of 10 minus 2 because of it's age and plus 2 because of it's impact on me as a child.