Retro gaming, four of a kind: to commemorate Terminator Genisys, we look at the top Terminator games

Posted on 2 July 2015
By James Brookfield
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Terminator Genisys was released in cinemas this week and, just like the franchise, received mixed reviews at best. Unsurprisingly the film series has spawned many video games over the generations therefore Four of a Kind will look at Terminator’s gaming history. Give me your controller, your console and your time.

1. Terminator (Sega CD)

Released in 1994 by Virgin Games, Terminator Sega CD is an updated version of the original Sega Megadrive title. Though the game’s story remains the same, which in turn closely follows the first film’s plot, essentially the Sega CD version enhances the weaknesses of its predecessor. For example several brand cut scenes are added in order to incorporate more narrative elements.

The run and gun gameplay is vastly improved upon in this version to feel smoother and less rushed. Also, owing to the power of Sega CD, the sounds are a lot better in the ability to utilise Tommy Tallario’s score as well as full, new composites which makes the theme and overall tone compliment the atmosphere.

2. RoboCop vs. The Terminator (Sega Mega Drive)

Based on the 1992 four-issue comic book mini-series of the same name, RoboCop vs The Terminator is technology fan’s dream, developed once more by Virgin Games. Again another run and gun game, a popular genre in the early 90s, players this time control RoboCop traversing through several levels defeating multiple human and terminator enemies.

Gameplay is mixed, it is not as smooth as previous titles of the genre, at times the difficulty setting is too high and the control scheme is a little frustrating but the game is enjoyable. The main focus is on the action, which is good, and the gore.

Human enemies explode in multiple, gory ways earning the Bloodiest Game of 1993 award by Electronic Gaming Monthly.

3. The Terminator: Skynet (DOS)

Bethesda’s sequel to The Terminator: Future Shock this game was originally intended to be an expansion pack. Skynet is a first-person shooter wherein players solve numerous objectives across eight levels. Before each level a full motion video cutscene will brief the player. Gameplay is somewhat varied due to the game’s terrain, many areas contain too much radiation for the character to stay alive therefore splits into three navigation methods; on-foot, driving a jeep or in a HK fighter.

The visuals are basic but the button controls are responsive and a solid multiplayer mode makes for a pleasurable experience. Overall the game is a positive step forward following on from Future Shock.

4. Terminator 3: The Redemption (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)

Published by Atari in 2004, Terminator 3: The Redemption is a sequel to the commercial failure that is Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines video game. The sub-title Redemption is a laden meaning focusing on the redemption of T-100’s mission, mid-way through the plot, and a reflection on the franchise.

The game is a third-person shooter with elements of combat and vehicle based gameplay. Level pacing is quick and visuals are above average, detail specifically focused on building damage, but dated. Redemptions shooting sequences are pretty good but the hand-to-hand combat is slow, sluggish and tedious. A positive is that the game is a great improvement on Rise of the Machines in almost all aspects.

That concludes a look back at retro Terminator games. T-100’s foray in the gaming world is mixed but the aforementioned titles are the best representation.

Feel free to discuss the Terminator games listed above or ones that did make the list in the comment section below. Four of a Kind will be back…next week.

Honourable mentions: Terminator (Mega Drive), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Gameboy), Terminator 2 (Arcade), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube), Terminator Future Shock (DOS).