The Terminator (NES)
The Terminator is an NES game released in December 1992, loosely based on the 1984 movie of the same name. It was developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Mindscape and Bethesda Softworks.
You play as Kyle Reese, starting in the future, with a gun and grenades, fighting many enemies in order to stop the T-800.
Why It Sucks
- The game itself loosely follows its source material, as many points in the game conflict with the movie continuity wise. Notably, when you're in the computer factory, you don't play as Sarah Connor, as Kyle Reese should be dead by the time you face off in the final struggle with the T-800.
- Simply put, the combat system in this game is a joke. You only get to use a gun in the first level, after which all you can do is kick and punch. Aiming with the gun has it's own set of problems as they are only fixed on certain angles that make it very difficult to hit an enemy. There are grenades, but they are very scarce, and much like the gun, you only use the grenades in the first level.
- It almost seemed like the game developers at Radical didn't want you to control this game. Jumping itself is delayed beyond comprehension, which involves squatting for a whole second and THEN jumping; aiming your gun hinders you from moving since it has Kyle going into a stationary kneeling position, and the hit/collision detection is so abysmal that you have to be right on the mark whether it comes to jumping on a platform (which results in you falling through said platform to your death if you time it wrong) or hitting an enemy (which is almost impossible). Oh yeah, to top things off, the controls for jumping and attacking are reversed, unlike most platformer games.
- And to top off the terrible controls and unpolished detection, the game only gives you 3 lives at the start of the game, you gain an extra life with every 50,000 points, and only 6 lives maximum and no continues, as if Radical was treating this game as an arcade game. If you died 3 to 6 times in this game, you start at the beginning of the first level, so get used to seeing Kyle Reese jumping like a moron trying to avoid dripping sewer water that damages you. Yeah, that's a thing too.
- Bland, monochrome and uninspired. Despite the NES itself being capable of far more than what is presented in this game, The Terminator is just like every other bottom of the barrel NES game made by some 2-bit development team that didn't want to put more time or effort into making SOMETHING more colorful or appealing to the source material's aesthetic. Just simply boring.
- Radical should have hired a better composer for their games, because Paul Wilkinson, the music composer for THIS game, was either that talentless, or he must suffer from short-term memory loss, because the music he made for this game is so annoyingly repetitive that it's just series of notes being looped for around 5 to 10 seconds. Over and over and over again you hear this horrible, unmotivating soundtrack.
- The sound effects themselves are so generic and repetitive, it feels like they were recycled Atari 2600 sound effects. High pitched beeps, primitive crashing noises, and other bland sound effects. Contra, Metroid, and Megaman came out 5 or 6 years prior to this, and those had much better sound effects and music (and obviously superior gameplay.)
- This game also suffers from braindead AI for regular enemies as well as the Terminator: most enemies cannot attack you while ducking and when you duck the Terminator will jump over you, almost always right into a bottomless pit. The Terminator himself poses no threat whatsoever and can be killed very easily, even with kicks and punches.
- What the game lacks in formidable enemy AI, it MORE than makes up for in it's rather sadistic and unfair level design, especially when you take the game's aforementioned abysmal controls and collision detection issues into consideration.
- The developers at Radical were obviously fully aware of the problem of you falling through platforms because, in the final phase of the first level where you enter Skynet, the developers added sections where you must make precision jumps over platforms so ridiculously small that they're more narrow than your sprite. Keep in mind that this section takes place right after you struggle to outrun an HK-Aerial in a mediocre side-scrolling driving level where you barely make it out with only low health and presumably 1 life left.
- Next comes the Police Station level, which in itself is a maze where you run through corridors trying to figure out what you have to do while killing one braindead police officer after another, and the game doesn't even give you a clue on what to do at all. Then there's the added bonus of aspects in the game where the game developers expect you to be psychic: there are 2 instances where you have to pick up a random box and throw it in just the right part of the level to use to platform across to the literal end of a level, most notably the police station and the first phase of the Computer Factory.
- To top off the level design sadism, in the last phase of the Computer Factory with the steel press, you start right on top of an electric current, meaning that unless you duck as soon as the level begins, you will take damage. You also have to time luring the Terminator into the steel press just right because there's a bottomless pit right on the opposite side; so if you're not careful, you'll fall right off and die.
- It's just a mess, that's all there is to it. A boring, frustrating, and mindbogglingly awful experience that at certain points even defies belief. There's nothing in this game that makes it unique, colorful or even remotely interesting when you play it. All you feel at the end of the day is probably a headache after listening to the same repetitive music and sounds over and over again, jumping on platforms and hoping to ACTUALLY LAND ON THEM, and other horrible flaws that really ruined this game.
- And after you beat the game, all you're treated to is ONE LOUSY ENDING SCREEN.
- If the game developers and publishers actually cared about what they were making, they would no doubt delay the game's release until they actually ironed out the problems with it and it would have been very fun to play; it could even be as fun as Contra, Metroid, or Mega Man. #Unfortunately, that was not the case, as it is painfully clear that the people at Radical and Mindscape wanted to release a Terminator game as soon as possible while there was still some relevance to the franchise after the release of the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day. They wanted as much money as they could, and they hoped that people would buy this game while the Terminator craze was still somewhat alive, oblivious to the cold reality that games like THIS are a result of rushing a game too quickly. It's truly a shame.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- There's a cheat code to make the game slightly less frustrating. You'll need two controllers: the first to play the game, and the second to key in the cheat. On the second controller, press the following sequence of buttons - B, B, Left, Up, A - and then a sound effect will be heard, confirming correct entry. What does it do? It grants you unlimited lives and allows you to skip any level with the push of the Start button.