Genre: Action Developer: Probe Software Publisher: Flying Edge Players: 1 Released: 1993
Terminator 2 is one of my favorite movies of all time. In fact, it’s in my top two. True, this is based only on personal taste, but to me it’s the perfect movie. Action, adventure, drama, comedy. The ending is still the only film moment that has ever made me cry and, huge Arnie fan that I am, I consider it to be his finest on screen moment.
Of course, video game adaptations based on Terminator 2 were going to be made, right? After all, the original Terminator saw video game adaptations on both the Genesis and SNES years after the film’s debut. Surely a 16-bit T2 experience would be produced. And it was. Now, just to be clear, this review isn’t on T2: The Arcade Game. That’s of course a separate review, also featured on Sega-16. I enjoyed The Arcade Game, but it glossed over a lot of story and important action scenes from the film. That’s where Terminator 2: Judgment Day for Genesis comes in.
Also released for the SNES, T2 is part typical action side-scroller and part vehicle driving. If you choose to let the game introduction play through, you’ll see a cool little intro of the nude Arnold Terminator (thankfully covered) arriving in the present day and making his way towards the familiar bar fans of the film will recognize. The first thing you’ll notice in this game are, of course, the graphics. While they’re definitely nothing great, they’re passable given the era of the game’s release. Arnold’s not a spectacular likeness, but it’s definitely him, decked out in accurate leather and sunglasses. Later on, when you encounter John and Sarah Connor, they too resemble what they’re supposed to. The T-1000 has his police uniform, of course, and his liquid metal nicely reacts to gunfire. He’ll also morph his arms into blades, disguise himself as objects, and seep through walls, just like in the film.
Anyway, starting at the bar, a few things will become apparent to you. One, bikers really want to kick your ass, and there happens to be a million of them at this bar. Two, shotgun blasts directly to the chest are somehow non-fatal. Actually, you start off with just punches and knee attacks, but quickly you’ll acquire a handgun and rifle. The collision detection for the punches and kicks is definitely suspect, but thankfully you won’t be using them for long. The handgun has infinite ammo but is weak; the rifle and its subsequent upgrades are where the real power lies.
Each level presents you with a few objectives. The most common is having to retrieve “future items” – boxes that contain Terminator heads. Er, yeah. Implemented just for the sake of gameplay, each one must be found before you can complete the level. Besides the future objects, a few movie specific objects are presented in each level, and I was kind of impressed as a kid how closely the game followed the film. I mean, sure, Arnold’s shooting the hell out of everyone here, but you pretty much have to if you want to have a fun game. But the objectives range from finding John’s home address in a phone booth to finding a photograph of his appearance in his home, to getting Sarah Connor to follow you (accomplished only if you have John with you) to destroying CyberDyne research files. None of these are especially hard and I thought they were all nice touches that lent themselves well to the gameplay.
What doesn’t lend itself well to the gameplay, though, are the driving stages. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh; I can expertly whiz through these levels now, but they were an extreme challenge to me as a child. With tiny graphics, peculiar controls, and the ability to bump into cars and make them explode, they can be frustrating if you’re not sure of what you’re doing.
In going hand-in-hand with the mission objectives, I really liked the levels in the game. The biker bar, John’s house, the mall, Pescadaro, CyberDyne, etc., they’re pretty large in scale, and non-linear in that they’re made up of different rooms you can go around exploring. Now, I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the game’s early difficulty, but truth be told, it can EASILY be avoided until at least the mental hospital. The most common complaint I here is about the mall. My tip? Don’t shoot anything the entire time. Go around getting the future objects (shoot when there are no cops around), go pick up the machine gun, and THEN go get John. The T-1000 doesn’t show up until you go to get John in the arcade, anyway. By this time you can just pick him up and stroll to the exit. Easy.
The other complaint I hear – and it’s a miniscule one – is the T-1000 being encountered at John’s house and how it’s not like the movie. While I could argue this with “it’s just a game lol,” there’s an easy way around this, too. If you shoot the alarm above the front door, enter, efficiently pick up what you need and exit – it should take no more than three minutes, you won’t have to deal with the T-1000, police, or scavenger bikers. Again, easy.
The police car level after Pescadaro is, without a doubt, the hardest level in the game. This level is where it becomes really apparent how frustrating the driving controls are. Still, it makes me think it’s cool how they have all the T2 locations mapped out on an overhead map for you to drive around in, very faithful to the film, as there were a lot of driving scenes too.
One of my main complaints is how damn slow Arnold walks. I know he doesn’t run in the movie (well, except for him chasing after Sarah and Reese in the first film), but a run button would have been a little useful here. As it stands, you’ll be lumbering through levels at a slow pace, blasting threats. A few levels involve you trying to shield John and or Sarah from the dangers of the T-1000 and dick cops who don’t care about shooting them. It’s especially frustrating how John or Sarah will walk right into explosions – a lot of environmental objects can be destroyed (even couches somehow erupt in explosions) and since most of these damages are accidental, John and Sarah will just walk right into the explosions and take some damage. It’s not much, but still frustrating.
Sound wise, there’s not much here. The music is repetitive, but I strangely like it, probably because it’s so familiar to me. You’ll hear, of course, gunfire and explosions, but nothing about it will really make you take attention. There are no voice samples, disappointingly.
If I can just take one moment here… non-fatal? Seriously?! I shot this guy in the head and he’s just immobilized? I know Arnie’s a “good” Terminator here and he swears he will “nawt keel” anyone, but like… give us an option to shoot their kneecaps then. There’s no way I’m merely immobilizing this poor police officer by gunning through him with a mini gun.
All in all, I really enjoyed this game as a kid and I still do. Sure, it has bland graphics, and the sound’s not much to write home about, but a little admiration can be given to it for its faithfulness. Its non-linearity and movie specific locales impressed me, and I think it’s a fun little game. Not an amazing blast of a game to play, as it surely has many faults, but if you liked the movie, maybe you’ll like this.
SCORE: 5 out of 10