Monday, 19 April 2010

The Terminator: A Mini Review

Judgment Day was inevitable. Like an unstoppable storm the clouds rolled over mankind and extinguished it's light, giving rise to the time of the machines. But not all hope is gone, before humanity ended Big Head Games and Dark Horse Comics worked together to produce a final battlefield where humanity would stand against the machines and win it's right to exist. It is the year 2010 and Drew has been sent back in time to fight on this electronic battle ground and deal with the machine menace one and for all...

Well that was a mistake. I'm not sure that I was sent back in time to save mankind from annihilation (sometimes the lines between reality and fantasy get a little blurred), but if I was, I would rather let the bombs drop then play The Terminator. I'm sorry guys, but it really is that bad.

However, before I move on to give this game the sound, public panning it deserves allow me to get those of you who have not been introduced to Big Head Games' shooter up to speed. Back in February The Terminator, a top down shooter produced by Big Head Games, appeared on the Playstation store as one of the systems new "mini" games. The concept was fairly simple as top down shooters have become a mainstay of digital games, but The Terminator appeared to offer greater appear because of it's link to the franchise of the same name and the apparent involvement of Dark Horse Comics who produce the Terminator comic book line.

Throw in the £3.99 price tag and the Terminator should be a promising prospect. It's a simple shoot 'em up set in the Terminator universe with endorsement from a cool, gritty comic label and a low price tag to boot. Apart from somehow being the worst game in all creation, what in Cyberdyne's name could go wrong?

Just that. It's t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e. I actually find my self at a loss with where to begin with my execution of this game because it has so many faults for me to exploit it's like I've been given every comic, game and movie ever for free and I have no idea what to do first. I guess I'll do things the other way around and mention the games one redeeming feature and then go on to rip it's horrible little glass eyes out. So hear goes...


I quite liked the fact that in the game you can "salvage" terminator heads in the same why that they do in the films/comics giving the game the tiniest shred of association with the source material. That's it. Out of the entire game the only thing I like is that you can walk over things and pick them up and even this has it's down side. You see, normally pick-ups and collectibles are a good thing but when you pick up a health pack your character, I assume it's Kyle Reese, makes this odd sound which sounds like Macho Man Randy Savage taking a particularly pleasing dump. I'm sorry to lie that image on you but it truly does. It made me laugh the first time but after that it just reminded me how terrible the sound in the game really is. The few sound effects that there are sound dull and flat while the background music cuts out after a minute stripping away what might be called a layer of depth if the games developers had any idea of what depth actually is. 

Then there's the fact that the game is just ugly to look at. Eye bleeding ugly. Now I know it's meant to be a small portable game (it appears on the PSP was well as the iPhone) so I can understand a little fuzz when shown on a full sized television screen, but anyone who has used a PSP or iPhone will tell you that these devices a capable of some impressive graphics. The Terminator's graphics are murky, simple and frankly an insult to the machines intended to play it. One particular gripe is that the firing animation is a single frame that looks to have been drawn in paint. It doesn't even flicker, I mean top down shooters in the 90's had better animation, come on Big Head put a damned flicker in there!

Usually bad graphics and sounds can be over looked with the advantage of good game play so we should be thankful that Big Head are at least consistent. The controls stink. In many was am thankful because I don't have to back peddle about all the nasty things I have said because like the rest of the game the controls are essentially toilet water so I can continue to flog it until either I get fed up or it dies. The Terminator is clearly an attempt to create a dual stick shooter on a console that has no dual sticks which has been ported to the PS3, which it does with no change to the games control system. You basically move with the d-pad or left stick and shoot with the face buttons which depending on which one you go for fires in a different direction. Yuuuurk! It's incredibly lazy that when the game finally does find a duel stick platform that no change was made. I have no idea how this works on the iPhone and I refuse to even think about it. The saddest thing about this is that if this were even 5% of the games that Killzone: Liberation is then Big Head could have copied that control system but alas.

So that's it, The Terminator in all it's feted, stinking evil, putrid glory, you may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the games' features or the inclusion of Dark Horse, well this is mainly because they don't exist. Apart from the campaign there is a free play mode but after seeing the campaign you'll never want to play it and the inclusion of the Dark Horse Comic brand it just name dropping, which is probably the biggest insult to fans.

My only advice for anyone who has paid for this game is to take the three hundred and ninety nine pennies you just wasted, sharpen the edges and fire them out of a cannon into your PS3, PSP or iPhone and terminate it. It's what your console would want you to do to save it's soul.

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