I know this is going to sound surprising. Trust me, I’m as amazed as you are about to be. Ok, here it goes: Terminator 3 isn’t that bad of a game. There, I said it, a game based off of a movie is a lot of fun. It’s simple fun, but it’s fun. The game is pretty linear and straightforward. It’s basically a romp through the movie complete with cutscenes from the actual film.
Something that guaranteed a good review for this game early on was when I opened the box. That magical box contained three red shiny Atari stickers. Free stuff is great. Video game companies, give us more free stuff!
The games graphics are fairly good. You can tell that the guy who made the water in the cutscenes really liked making that damn water, because, it’s good looking water. The in game graphics are nothing to rave about but they are serviceable and everything looks good enough when exploding. That’s the other thing. Everything is always exploding. It is a game based off of an incredibly explosive action series. Everything explodes. But more to the point, the in game graphics look good and in no way make me want to claw at my eyes. That is an important quality for a game to possess.
The game is fast paced and totally action oriented as a result of this the control scheme is fairly simple and easy to pick up. You target enemies simply by moving your retcile on or near them and then a target circle surrounds them and you can begin shooting them till they don’t move anymore or explode...generally they explode. The beginning of the game has you in your roll of the Governator running through the streets of a post-apocalyptic future Los Angeles. You help out groups of different resistance soldiers as you make your way towards the Skynet bunker and your pass to the past.
You also possess a sort of advanced targeting system that involves the use of power ups you can buy for your character between levels. This system allows you to do extra amounts of damage to enemies causing them to explode much more quickly. You can purchase upgrades with points you gain by killing things and accomplishing certain goals. What the upgrades get you is a faster recharge for your targeting system as well as more damage and more time for it to be turned on. Again, simple, but does what it needs to.
After about 10 minutes of getting the hang of killing things you enter what is about 80% of the rest of the game: riding around on vehicles and shooting things as you move by them very quickly. This is the fun part of the game. It’s very linear and you are basically following paths, but they are paths with little side routes and alternate ways to go, but still very straightforward. It’s a fairly intense game, very arcadey in feel not too hard, not too easy. You won’t find yourself in a situation that you can’t get passed, but you will be playing through a lot of the sections several times before actually getting through it.
Another great facet of this whole vehicle, fast driving, explosion combination is that you can switch to basically any of the other vehicles around you. In the initial level you have various robot tanks that you can take over and use, later on, once in L.A, you are able to hop from police car to police car in your madcap dash through the past. There are a good variety of vehicles that you can commandeer throughout the game, so in a game that is fairly simple in its goals you are given some variety.
The weaponry in the game is fairly static, you don’t have the ability to pickup and discard weapons. You also don’t run out of ammo. This all works in favor of the speed of the game. If you were having to spend time hunting down ammo or looking for neat new weapons to use you would be busy losing time on whatever goal was currently set for you. The only time you change weapons is if you hop into a vehicle that possesses a different type of weapon. The weapons that you can end up using possess a variety of strengths, ranges and firing rates.
The multi-player version of the game is a very simple arcade shooter. You and a friend ride around in a helicopter that navigates through various areas and you shoot things. It’s fun a few times. That’s really about all there is to that.
A final note on the game is the voice of the terminator. Initially I thought maybe they had actually gotten Arnold to do the voice over as it sounds quite a bit like him, but alas, it is simply a very good impersonator. At first I found the voice to be funny, but slowly, over time, it became really annoying. Until, for some reason, we discovered that there is a button in the game specifically for making the voice talk. Once we figured out that we could pretty much continually make the Terminator talk it became hilarious again. It’s pretty great to blow up a police car and then hear “Arnold” say, “talk to the hand,” so, thank you Atari, for the talking terminator button.
Overall a pretty enjoyable game. Nothing that will be memorable and lasting, but definitely fun for a while. I’d recommend this if you’re, like, some weird person who is really obsessive about the Terminator movies, and, if you are, what the hell is that about? And also to anyone who enjoys a fast paced action shooter that looks good and delivers a fun time.