The Terminator (Sega Mega Drive)

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This was originally going to be a video review. However, because I don’t have the proper video editing software like Sony Vegas, it’s not going to be possible, so here’s the script which looks like a review anyway.

The Terminator was released in 1984, and it was a surprising hit for a slightly low budget movie, critics and nearly everyone loved it and spawned three sequels, with Judgement Day considered the best movie ever made, then the third one and Salvation took a nose dive to trash.

The story is about a Terminator, a cyborg created by SkyNet in the future who is sent to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor so she doesn’t give birth to the leader of the human resistance John Connor, but Kyle Resse is sent back in 1984 at the same time to protect her…and make John Connor.

I find the movie enjoyable, I love the story, it has some originality for a B-Movie, the effects look appealing even today, the characters are memorable, it has a lot of serious moments that are interesting, and Arnold is mostly quiet in this movie, that and his huge height and big build makes him more menacing and a pretty threatening being. I also love that theme song, I think it’s better than the sequel, while I think it’s good it feels more heroic, the first one’s just more

menacing and more tense.

There were many games released based on the first movie, there was the DOS game, the NES game, the SNES game and even the Master System game, but I’m playing the Mega Drive version developed by Probe Software and released by Virgin Games in 1992, they also released it on the Sega Master System and the Sega Game Gear. It was programmed by David Perry, an Irish developer who formed Shiny Entertainment, home of MDK and Earthworm Jim.

The story follows the movie well but briefly, the first level is set in Los Angeles, 2029 A.D in the future where the machines have ruled the world and only a bunch of survivors fight for freedom…or in this case, Kyle Reese. So the objective of the level is to avoid getting hit by the bombs, go into the base and shoot terminators in which they all look like Arnold…why?

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In the movie the future shows all the endoskeletons look like robot skeletons, not Arnold, I know what you’re thinking, maybe they couldn’t program something detailed like that, but there is an endoskeleton in the final level.

Anyway, when you get down to the base, you get the Uzi-9mm since I’m playing the easy mode, once you enter the base you get the gun right away instead of later in the game, it makes everything easy and using the bombs is clunky and you need to have the right distance to hit them and it takes time to get the right distance every time, but with the gun you just shoot everything that moves and it’s more fun and it doesn’t get annoying…for the most part. And you get explosives to blow up doors, it doesn’t hurt you but some remaining Terminators fly off the screen which is quite funny.

Another objective of the game is blowing up a reactor, problem is the game doesn’t tell you this and I don’t have an instruction manual, so I got stuck, mostly because I had bombs and it was frustrating, but after watching a walkthrough I blew up the reactor and had about seconds to leave the base before it blows up.

In true movie form you’re transported to the next level, Los Angeles, 1984. Your objective is to find and rescue Sarah Connor. You now have a shotgun and you mostly shoot punks to death, the police will go down only to come back to life and continue to shoot you, the only way to get away from them is to continue running until they disappear off-screen, the best way to kill enemies easily is to hip-shoot, crouch and blast away. You’ll spend most of the levels on rooftops while being bombed by helicopters because why not.

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The last part of the level is a boss, I don’t think it isn’t but it makes sense, you shoot The Terminator who has better firepower than you but keep a distance and shoot him down three times to put him down for a long period of time, enough time for you to walk pass him and save Sarah Connor.

Next level…West Palm Police Station, where you escape your jail cell and find out The Terminator has arrived. You just shoot everyone until you get to The Terminator, distance, shoot down three times and run pass, and rescue Sarah again.

The Final Confrontation, the last level, set in the final scene in the film, you find the terminator endoskeleton and you just shoot him until he flies off the screen, do this a few times until he loses his legs, dragging on the floor, it’s a simple maze of a level, but if you go on a platform, he’ll be there, but go down or up a level for example he’ll be there, you can change the terminator’s direction at your advantage, and don’t think of jumping over him because you can’t, you’ll end up dead.

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The objective of the level is to lead the terminator to a compacter to crush him, so Kyle and Sarah survive this game, Kyle dies in unknown circumstances, you can clearly see him in the final level alive so why in the final screen did it say he died it makes no sense whatsoever. We do get a fast paced techno version of the movie’s theme song, it’s so ridiculous but so catchy you can’t help but get jiggie with it.

Now let’s get with the technical side of things, the graphics are very good for 1992, it fits the settings well, the controls are tight and respond well, the gameplay is quite challenging without being overly irritating, but when you know what to do it can become a game that you can breeze through. It follows the movie very well; in fact it only shows the key features of the movie. But sometimes I felt they missed some moments that could confuse people who haven’t seen the film.

My issues are that beginners will have a hard time with this, even with the first level, using the bombs is just poor and makes the game too frustrating to play at times, even when shooting cops, they come back to life and sometimes they can resurrect when you’re shooting another cop from behind and you’re more likely to die. And the game is short…very short, in fact if you see a walkthrough and see 15 minutes, it’s not a two part set of videos, it literally takes 15 minutes to beat the game effortlessly, I feel it’s a waste of £30 back in the day.

But overall, it’s pretty good when you know what you’re doing, but its challenge and difficulty is sporadic and it doesn’t flow well, and although it’s short, trying to beat it first time will last a life time. I know, that was my scenario.

You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive.

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