I'll be back...on Sega CD this time...

The Terminator [Action Game/Run N' Gun]

Terminator Cover Front

U.S. Game Front

It still blows my mind that he is actually the governor of California...

Arnold As The Governor Of California

The Terminator

Can You Guess Where This Side Of
Arnold Came From? Sure You Can!

Kyle Reese's sprite could easily pass for Gillian Seed's look with a few modifications.

Gillian Seed And Kyle Reese May
Not Look Exactly Alike, But Snatchers
And Terminators Don't Have Too
Many Distinctions!

Male Terminator fans will definitely be pleased by THIS new addition.

The Latest Terminator Entry Now,
The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Is A Hit.

-General Information-
Version: U.S.
Year: 1993
Publisher: Virgin Games
Developer(s) and Others: Virgin Games, Bethesda Softworks (sublicensed)
V.R.C. Rating: MA-13, Mature Audiences
# of Players: 1
# of Blocks: None
# of Discs: 1
Estimated Market Value as of 01/18/2008: $7 - $20 (USD)
Other Info: This game was produced with its ROM Devbios by Malibu Interactive.
Quick Game Overview: Available HERE.

Ah, the Terminator...it was just one of the crowning achievements of James Cameron, and one of the most popular films that the current governor of California and action movie god (one of), Arnold Schwarzenegger, starred in. The Terminator was about an epic battle between a human named Kyle Reese from the future (2029 A.D.) sent to the past (1984 A.D.) to protect Sarah Connor, who would bear the child that would form a resistance to stop the menacing robots of a post-apocalyptic future. The main threat in the movie was "The Terminators" created by Skynet, an artificially intelligent computer that, in the near future, takes over all military hardware and launches a nuclear war against humanity. The main Terminator is starred by Schwarzenegger himself, as he kills anyone foolish enough to come in contact with him and his mission is to kill Sarah so she does not bear the child that would destroy the robots of the future. I remember watching this movie years ago and thinking it was so cool, and that's probably because it was (and still is today). The movie was highly praised, and there are loads of Terminator video games that were made, though few came even remotely close to living up to the movies' greatness. While James Cameron might not be the most decent human being on Earth, The Terminator movie is one thing I'm not gonna crack on. The games are a different story though...

The one up for discussion today is the Sega CD version, one of the last game conversions based on the original Terminator movie. There are so many awful Terminator games out there, so how would the Sega CD version be any different? Well, it isn't really. If it isn't the horrible Terminator games on the NES, SNES, Sega Master System or Game Gear, it's the few that are moderately tolerable, such as the Genesis version or the one currently up for discussion. While we intend to cover all the original Terminator games with time, I'm gonna hit this one up first since there is little information on the net regarding it.

One would think that the Sega CD version of The Terminator is the same as the Genesis game except with greater sound quality and awful videos tacked on for good measure...well, it is, but not all is lost. On one hand, it carries several core elements of the Genesis game, but on the other hand, the game has been COMPLETELY redone, for better or worse. The game has more than twice as many levels as the Genesis game (ten to the Genesis versions' FOUR), the graphics are completely different as well as the level designs, Tommy Tallarico's original Terminator tunes (which were recorded at Hollywood's Legendary A&M studios) have been quite nicely altered with Q Sound technology by Buzz Burrowes, and the gameplay mechanics have been adjusted as well.

The graphics are a lot different from the Genesis version. The game sacrifices the brighter tones for a darker setting that is more in sync with the theme of the movie. Kyle Reese animates nicely enough (and looks more manly) as well as all the enemies in the game, which helps distinguish this action game from the typical enemies with 2-3 frames of animation in most standard platformers of the era, though the Genesis game probably has smoother animation. While the backdrops could have used a little more detail and allure, the environments still accurately portray the state of desperation that the world is in from the attack of the Terminators. Burning debris, helicopters zipping through the background, storm clouds rumbling, Spider Hunter-Killers exploding (SHKs), everything is nicely illustrated and brings about what could perhaps be the best visual representation of the original Terminator movie in a video game. Fans of the movie won't have too many complaints here, other than the movie footage. The movie footage is admittedly horrendous...you might think games like Double Switch look bad, but have you seen a Sega CD game with BAD video? If not, look no further than The Terminator, which has some of the worst FMVs I've seen in a Sega CD game. They are from the movie and you can recognize the short clips...but only barely. Most of the clips remind me of the Game Boy Camera in terms of quality, only with a wider range of colors to choose from.

The musical score in the Genesis game was great, but the tunes done by Tommy Tallarico and Buzz Burrowes for the Sega CD version are amazing, in more ways than one. Besides pleasing fans of the movie with numerous high quality tracks (applied or remixed straight from the movie), the adrenaline pumping tunes and rockin' beats in this game would easily be some of the better tunes I've heard on the Sega CD in general, and I've heard a lot of Sega CD titles over the years. The game could have used a few more tracks, but the ones present definitely stand out, not to mention the experience can be enhanced further with Q Sound. It's also interesting how the music fades in and out as you progress through levels, so you don't hear the same tune cycle over and over on the same stage. The sound effects are mostly standard fair...Reese makes the "mandatory" manly groan when hit so his masculinity isn't in question, bombs sound like bombs when they explode, etc...nothing out of the ordinary. Still, it's WAY better than the ridiculous noise Reese makes in the SNES game when he jumps, which sounds like a tribute to Captain Novolin's generic sounds. If you don't know what Captain Novolin is, you're one of the lucky ones and should let it remain a mystery.

The Gameplay isn't all too different from the SNES or Genesis version of this game, though the altered level design can ultimately play a role on whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing. The good news is that there are many one-ups and the level design is good as a whole. The developers seem as though they placed weapons and restorative items at points on the levels where you would need them most. The game only pits you against one or two truly unfair segments, and with a little practice, you could almost beat this game blindfolded, though your first or second try may seem intimidating. The bad news is that the game is highly unoriginal with very little variation in how the game is played. Kyle Reese mainly has two options: To shoot someone or blow them up...and both get really old, really fast. Additionally, Kyle himself is not quite as versatile in this game as he was in the Genesis game. It will also disappoint fans of the movie to know that instead of telling the whole Terminator story or spicing this game up with lots of cool weapons and stuff, the developers mostly go and waste the potential of a CD again with lousy FMVs and NO spoken dialogue (other than one cool techno song), though this game follows the movie closer than most. While the game is longer and has a more visually accurate setting, this game could still have been a lot better.

All in all, the Sega CD version of "The Terminator" is perhaps the best version of this game out there. The only thing that would have been better is if they took the engine of the Genesis game and spruced it up with the added levels, cutscenes and CD quality sound of the Sega CD game. It doesn't have too many surprises, but this isn't saying much to the gaming populous that plays lots of games based off of movies. This game isn't bad at all as far as licensed movie games go, so fans of The Terminator will likely be satisfied by what this game has to offer. However, does it mean anything to the casual gamer? Not really. If I had to rank it with all the numerous action titles out there, both competent and incompetent, this game is relatively average. Still, as far as SCD-specific action games go, you could do worse than this. I'm impressed that it's a little more than a sorry port of a Genesis game with CD quality sound or an FMV style game gone horribly wrong (*cough*Mighty Morphin Power Rangers*cough*). Of the two opposable thumbs I have, one is up...the other is still undecided.

- Written by Bel Cain The Eternal -

Game Screenshots

Title Screen...I'll be back...a lot...because this game is pretty tough. This is one of the BETTER movie clips in the game. Don't let those menacing tanks touch you or you die in one hit. Every boss has a relatively simple pattern to defeat them. The levels are much harder than the bosses. The Terminator in the flesh, erhm, I mean endo-skeleton. So many Sarahs...so little time.

This review has 26 extra images.

See credits for The Terminator.

Audio Samples (MP3 Format)

SCD Terminator Tommy Tallarico - Taking To The Air [Size: 3.53MB]

SCD Terminator Tommy Tallarico - Desintationz Unknown [Size: 5.24MB]

SCD Terminator TeknoMan of Teknologic - CyberTek (Tech Noir) [Size: 1.63MB]

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