Ever since Bethesda Softworks' Terminator: Future Shock fans of this hugely successful film franchise have longed for more quality games. This however was something that was never delivered. Last year gamers were given Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, this was an unjustifiably bad title and shot down many hopes for a good Terminator game.
Atari saw just how disappointed fans were and truly listened to their concerns. Already in development while Rise of the Machines was in its final stages, Terminator 3: The Redemption was Atari's last hope to give to the fans what they expect from a Terminator game, what they deserve. A fast-paced action orientated pulse pumping extravaganza.
So did they deliver the goods? For the first time since Future Shock I can safely say yes.
So what kind of game is The Redemption anyway? Well it's an entertaining mix of hand to hand combat and vehicular driving and shooting. You'll find yourself for the greater half of the game in a vehicle of some sort blasting away the masses of opposing tanks, robots and even police cars.
Set before, during and after the events of the film Terminator 3: The Redemption retells the story with a few added scenes and some even altered ones. You're the Terminator, mankind's last hope for survival against the very thing it is. You've been sent back in time to protect the man and woman who will one day lead the humans against the machines who will take over the world. You've got company though in the form of the female robotic assassin, the TX, whose mission it is to kill those two future leaders.
Hand to hand combat serves no purpose other than to rob your opponent of their weapon (and look cool while having fun wielding two assault rifles slowly decimating everything in your path). This however becomes impractical when your enemies can be disposed of from a safe distance using the just the one rifle. Also available at close combat are various sign posts that decorate the post-apocalyptic world beautifully rendered here on Redemption's versatile engine. The game paints the mood of the films Future War scenes perfectly. Chaos. Frenzy. Hopelessness. They're all captured here to great effect.
During the driving missions you'll find yourself being able to jump between a truck with a mounted machine gun to an all terrain armored tank which you can commandeer in a similar fashion to Sony's Jak 2: Renegade. Each of the vehicles represent different advantages and disadvantages, for instance the Rolling Tank's are fast but cumbersome and don't pack quite a punch in the artillery department yet the truck will provide excellent maneuverability and excellent weaponry but is a fair bit slower. Jumping between vehicles will provide to be the key in surviving the onslaught of SkyNet's advanced robotic army.
Gameplay is simple enough, race through a level and destroy anything that gets in your way. Though it may be a simple concept it's far from easy. I guarantee that you'll find yourself repeating levels at least a dozen times over just to pass it. The reason for this is that there are no checkpoints whatsoever, and minimal health restoration points. Though this sounds frustrating it isn't entirely, the fast frenetic fun of each mission will appease you and the gorgeous cinematics make you realize how it's worth it.
A new feature added to the mix is the ability to upgrade your Terminator. At a levels end you accumulate points in regards to how well you do. These points can in turn be used to upgrade attributes like strength and recharge and more importantly Terminator Vision. The red glare of the machines vision allows you to inflict more damage and attack more accurately. The more points you invest in this upgrade the longer you can use the vision mode for.
Early parts of the game will have you in the future as a newly reprogrammed Terminator. These levels are hallmark entertainment but as you progress you'll come to levels in present day. This is where the games major flaws lie. Frame rates will begin to jar and environments will look a lot less detailed.
Graphically, this game is hit and miss, on one hand you have richly detailed apocalyptic backdrops early in the game then come to poorly designed levels in Los Angeles. One of the nicest things to behold however is the real-time damage your character takes. Just like in the movies the more the Terminator gets shot and damaged the more of his endoskeleton is exposed. This creates for an eerie effect when you see Robotic limbs and half a metal face exposed on a human body that's barely there. But clipping issues and some odd explosion effects can really detract from the experience.
Arnold gave his voice and likeness to this game to make it a more authentic Terminator experience. It would seem however that he only recorded half of his lines and left the rest to a voice actor. This has probably got something to do with Arnold running for office at the time of recording. All the same the Voice Actor does a reasonable job but it's still a pity that Arnold isn't delivering all those great one-liners in the game. Other than some sounds not being played on queue the audio is quite impressive, moreso if you have the right equipment to output it on. The bass pounds and the blasts thump.
With Terminator 3: The Redemption hitting the shelves at only $59.95 NZD it's a must buy for all Terminator fans, however if youre no fan this maybe one left best for rental as you should be able to finish it within ten or so hours.