Genesis Reviews

Terminator 2: The Arcade Game

Genre: Light Gun Developer: Probe Software/Acclaim Publisher: Arena Players: 1-2 Released: 1992

Three billion lives ended on August 29. 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war judgment day. They lived only to face a new nightmare, the war against the machines.

In 1992, the film Terminator 2 was all of the rage in my childhood and with my family. I remember going to see it when I was only five years-old, with my dad of course, and I loved seeing all of the special effects and action. I remember getting this game when one of my friends brought it over to play and then left it at my house and then moved away all of a sudden. Let’s hear it for free Sega games!

T2: The Arcade Game, in my opinion, is the best of what the Terminator games has to offer. The graphics we’re above standard, and the gameplay was outstanding and for some two-player action; however, the game is not perfect and has a few flaws which many movie-to-game adaptations suffer from. For example, it does not stick to the storyline of the film enough to really convey that you’re really trying to save John Connor from the machines the whole time.

The graphics of the first level really make you feel like you are fighting right alongside some humans in the battle against the machines. The endoskeletons are detailed as perfectly as can be done on the 16-bit systems of the day. The humans are not very well detailed, but they can get away with that simply because they are supposed to be a “do not shoot” target. Every machine that is found in the movie is located in the game with some different ones added, such as the Silverfish and the orbs. The visuals will not disappoint any of the graphic enthusiasts of the world.

The gameplay is where this game makes its money. Immediately, the player is thrust into the action, fighting against some flying HKs (Hunter-Killers) and friends. If there are positives to be found, there are not any major letdowns in the entire game when it comes to the consistency in the action. The variety is mostly the same, however, and pointing and firing at a slow moving object can get rather monotonous as the game rolls along. There are seven levels in all – four in the future, two in the present, and the final boss level in the steel mill. Most of these levels are actually different from one another, with the exception of the most difficult ones.

The most difficult parts of this game are what I call the “cat and mouse” levels. For instance, the stage where you have to defend Connor in the truck and the one where the T-1000 comes at you with the helicopter are way too difficult for their own good. The former is really difficult for one player, because enemies come the bottom left corner and the top right corner at the same time and you get about three seconds to keep them off the truck or you fail. The latter is slightly easier because the helicopter comes only in three predetermined directions, so you get a second or two more to fire at them.

As I mentioned earlier, this game is the cream of the crop of the 16-bit crop when it comes to Terminator games, but it does have a few things that are not great and keep it from becoming a Genesis classic. For example, John Connor is nowhere to be found until the third level. Now, as a fan of the Terminator series I appreciate the back-story behind the first three levels. But in my opinion, two of them are not very well done. The second and forth levels, taking place in the human base (presumably either in the base from the first film, or the beginning of the second film) and then assuming the fourth one is outside of Skynet, are not detailed nearly enough to make the player feel like he is really there. I say that because the first level makes you feel like you are there fighting the machines with your human friends, but by the time you reach the later levels, it just feels like you’re playing a video game again.

Even with all of its flaws though, T2: The Arcade Game has provided hours of fun for me, both by myself and with a friend. On that note, the game really plays the best with a friend and a Menacer, and with the special cheat (up, down, left, right twice, then Arnold will say excellent. Press B and C while paused to skip a level) this game can be fun for people of all skill levels. It is a title that will not be on any top ten lists, but it is definitely worth buying and playing repeatedly.

SCORE: 8 out of 10


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