Terminator: Dawn of Fate Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 8.0
Gameplay : 6.5
Multiplayer : N/A
Overall : 7.0
Review by Thomas Cap

Terminator is perhaps the very first movie that made actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron famous over night. Terminator 2: Judgment Day came a few years later and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (or short T3), still in production and supposed to be out in 2003, is rumored to be the most expensive movie ever - of course featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger again.

The recent game from Infogrames, published under their Atari label, doesn’t cover any of those movies; instead it is supposed to be a prequel to the first movie “The Terminator”. The year is 2027. Supercomputer Skynet has taken over the globe and tries to eliminate any trace of his former masters: the human race. You are Kyle Reese, a member of the human resistance in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Your goal is to find a way to go back to the year 1984, following a relentless T-800 Terminator and prevent him from murdering Sarah Connor, mother of resistance leader John Connor. The fate of humanity lies in your hands - if you fail there will be no one left to oppose the machines.

Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a title that got less PR attention than I expected. With a new Terminator movie just around the corner I expected a lot of hype around this game, but not too much was seen before the release itself.

One thing to start with: The game is all about action – nothing more, nothing less. No puzzles, no riddles, no jumping nor long conversations - it’s just trigger this, blow up that and shoot them down. The three playable characters (although I didn’t note a difference between them besides their appearance) play through 10 large levels destroying every cyborg in sight and in the end save the future. Story is not the strongest point of this one.

Although the game lacks story, the general atmosphere is something totally different. Post-apocalyptic Los Angeles was brought to life just like in the movies. Destroyed buildings, unstoppable waves of emotionless cyborg killers going after you and the few lucky - if you dare say lucky - survivors hiding in the shadows of the crumbled remainings of what they used to call homes - atmosphere is something the game surely doesn’t lack. Neither unnoticed by me was that the music that sticks to the movie themes too – two thumbs up for porting the atmosphere to the developers. The only thing that disturbed me a little is that the developers chose not to obtain the rights for using the original cast. Neither Kyle Reese nor the T-800 reassemble the real life actors even a bit - no blowing holes in Arnold himself, sorry.

Besides this fact, that isn’t really a graphics issue at all, the graphics of Terminator: Dawn of Fate are quiet good. The (human) fighting machine you control can not only perform various hand-to-hand combat maneuvers (although I still think that floor sweeping a steel cyborg results in a broken leg, not in the cyborg collapsing), but can choose from a nicely rendered arsenal of futuristic weapons as well which are all very useful to blow things up with nice light and explosion effects. The levels are not only atmospheric but detailed as well and you can spend quiet some time exploring them if you want to go sight-seeing.

Like mentioned before the game itself is not too complex. After a tutorial where you learn basic attack skills and how to handle your booms and bangs, you are thrown right into the action. The starting levels are covering your hazzle with a large scale attack launched by Skynet to once and for all wipe out the resistance. To make things worse not only the command bunker is under attack but units from Skynet's newest cyborg series now perfectly resembling humans have infiltrated the resistance. Only by sheer luck you can save your commanding officer John Connor (people who have seen the movies know very well what connects them) from one of those abominations and for the rest of the level you have to get General Connor out of the battle zone. Basically you enter one room after another eliminate a large amount of enemy cyborgs, sometimes hit a switch to proceed or even have to turn back to find another way – it’s really that simple.

Conclusion:

Action fans will enjoy this title but the developers could have done more with the Terminator license. But at least the atmosphere was brought to life very well, and the game by no means lacks in the graphics and sound departments.