Thursday, 13 November 2014

Terminator: SkyNET - PC/DOS


T-800 is going to shoot you in the FACE!


The Terminator franchise has a lot going for it and sadly not a lot really been done all that well with it, arguably beyond the second film. The potential to have stories of multiple Terminators being sent back and forth to fight and protect various people has been played around with by the comic books and the films mash up a few things here and there that the TV series ignores and acknowledges in multiple incongruous ways. Terminator SkyNET, is the follow up to the original Terminator Future Shock (Of which I'll likely review next week).

Unlike the films, the shotgun is rather effective.

The idea is simple (ish...) enough, it's set after the wars, after the first two films and based in the future where you, Captain McNoFace and Generic Hero WITH a voice (little off-putting actually) are already in the Resistance and fighting alongside John Connor, Saviour of the Human Race from deadly robots. It pays a level of homage to the source material which makes slightly more sense with that context. Rather than pumping humans and robots back through time, this game deals with having to confront the eponymous SkyNET and stop one of its plans.

Battling robots amongst skeletons of old buildings.

You start with a selection of nice weapons from the start including grenades, pipe bombs, an Uzi, Assault Rifle, Shotgun and Plasma Rifle with slight zoom scope based on the first film. (This actually was ground breaking in that you began the game with more than Sweet Fuck All but more about that later). You're tasked with running into a robot compound filled with murderous robots that aren't too happy that you're alive and fleshy and will try to make you relatively unfleshy as soon as possible. It's here that you do a bit of snooping around with all the subtlety of a suicide bomber. Upon which you find the super secret weapon... A nuke.

Found it? Wasn't exactly well hidden now was it?

For those that don't know, nukes caused all this devastation in the first place and the super weapon is to use the same weapon again. So for a computer that can calculate how to traverse time and space, seems someone left the Read-Only option on for the "Learning Lessons" section of the AI. Either way, it's your mission soon to investigate which nuke this is (Like it matters?), find out how and where to disable it if possible, attempt to take it out and finally get yourself to where it is and disable it in a series of 8 or so missions. This will also involve driving cars around and flying one of the Hunter Killer machines to get this done.

There's quite a variety of Terminators in the game.

Terminator SkyNET uses and slightly improves upon the previous engine of the game with a little extra in the physics department (Bouncing grenades) and manages to also negate issues like game flags not triggering where multiple options are not performed in EXACTLY the right way and time. As such the missions in this game aren't exactly that difficult or taxing beyond "Find place, hit button, run for it" though some of the layouts require taking a BIG leap of faith (Looking at you level 3... and your bullshit building jumping madness) and some are just a straightforward slog through the environment.

Bigger guns please!

Given the time and capacity of the engine, SkyNET makes a very good go at giving a real sense of doom and gloom with the game's graphics and appearance. Locations look destroyed and the inclusion of pockets of radiation do take away any real sense of accomplishment in that if you win or lose, this planet is still looking like a Scorched Earth situation. Buildings can be entered to scavenge for supplies but will require a loading screen that takes the edge off the immersion a little while derelicts can be trawled through to find dead soldier's supplies here and there and to get higher vantage points in the game. Bonus points to the game for including the night club from the first film complete with hologram dancers and lots of dead bodies.

Yes, the legs WILL keep coming for you.

The music and sounds in the game compliment SkyNET with various remixes and rehashes of Brad Fiedel's famous composition for the film The Terminator. While the guns sound hefty and meaty and add to the feeling that you're packing a punch with these implements of robot-dismantling. It's a shame though that the graphics haven't fared too well over the years as this would be a good game to return to from time to time. Having said that it remains a solid game with a key flaw to it...

Get ready for bad acting in cutscenes.

Overall, the game is a patch that was released as a standalone. This set of missions should have been part of the original game and formed a cohesion in the main story rather than being as it is here, a set of side-missions masquerading as a full game in itself. Though having said that, it does remain a rather plot driven, plot focused game with no hints on how to achieve objectives beyond the initial blurb of the introduction to the mission, so there's no way points or guides on the HUD, you have to work it out for yourself. Not that THAT is a bad thing, it just would be nice if the game was longer or part of the original and followed the initial intentions laid out for this add-on pack turned full title.