perjantai 4. helmikuuta 2011

REVIEW - Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Genre(s): Action
Released: 1991
Available on: Amiga, Atari ST, C64, GB, GEN, GG, NES, PC, SMS, SNES, ZX
Developer(s): Ocean Software, LJN, Bits Studios, Probe Entertainment, Arc Developments, Dementia
Publisher(s): Ocean Software, LJN, Flying Edge, Acclaim Entertainment, Arc Developments
Players: 1

Everyone who has been patient enough to spend a good part of the last 20 years with me, can tell you that Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of my all-time favourite movies and that I remember each line from it. Movies like T2 are simply not made anymore. As expected, game developers were drooling over the Terminator 2 movie license when the film hit the screens in 1991, and unfortunately the dynamic duo of Ocean Software and LJN got the biggest chunk of it; you know what's even more unfortunate? I am now going to review a total of three games entitled Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And, they were all conceived by the unholy alliance of two of the worst and most uncaring movie licensees video game history has seen. Sadly, I cannot self-terminate.

Bad to the bone indeed

Sarah Connor has been labelled criminally insane and is locked away at a mental hospital, while her now 10-year old son John is ruining his life on the outside, completely oblivious to his mother's warnings and stories of the Terminator. An advanced Terminator model dubbed the T-1000 is sent by Skynet to kill John - as a countermeasure, the resistance sends a reprogrammed T-800 unit to do what he can to protect John and find a way to outlast his notably superior model.

First up, we have the PC version, and that's a quick one. The graphics are... hmm, OK, I guess, in a slapstick comic book sort of way. I like the idea of adding digitized movie scenes between the stages, but they're over so quickly that if you blink, you can't even see them. There's virtually no music at all, and the sound effects are just absolute murder to the ears.

Did it quite look like this in the movie?
The first stage is the scene in which Schwarzenegger and Patrick have a showdown at the mall. The controls simply suck ass. The idea here is to shoot at T-1000 until your bullets run out, and if and when they do, you need to get as close to the liquid metal menace as you can and kick his balls until the game flat out tells you that "T-1000 has been terminated". Well... OK? We're in the beginning of the game, and all it needed to destroy the most persistent villain in movie history was kick him square in the nuts a few times? Or get him to fall off screen by shooting him? Hmm. Awry. Two seconds later, we're in the next stage, racing for our lives.

John looks older than he was in Salvation.
The second stage is quite impossible to beat. It's the scene with the rampant truck and we're playing from a top-down view, with obstacles, water hazards and explosives everywhere. Each solid obstacle and explosive drains the Terminator's health, while getting too close to the truck kills John instantly. There are some arrows on the ground which are supposed to guide you through some sort of safe route, but they're not too accurate and the stage lasts forever. One death, and it's game over. No continues. We're back in the beginning... and at the same time, reminded of who in the hell would ever come up with hectic, useless crap like this. Ocean and LJN, together. The gods did not smile the day this game hit the shelves.

Even if it would only take me 20 seconds to get back to the second stage - the first one's a joke - I have no interest in wasting any more of my time. Terminator 2: Judgment Day on the PC is simply a laughable "game" that has no value whatsoever to even the most dedicated Terminator fanatic. Without further due, let's move on to the console versions.

Graphics : 6.5
Sound : 2.0
Playability : 2.5
Challenge : 2.5
Overall : 2.5


The NES version is one of the only games LJN ever actually developed - and it shows. I simply don't understand why it was made in the first place. If it was done correctly, the previously reviewed home computer version would've at least made for an interesting, unique game. The NES version is just plain useless. Not the most awful waste of time, but pretty close.

Once again, it was 1992 and I find it very hard to believe the graphics couldn't have been better with just a little more effort. Well, the game is not exactly ugly like Mindscape's The Terminator was, it's just bland all around, and the sprites are tiny and repetitive. The cutscenes look decent, except for the exoskeleton model, which looks like whoever built it was lethally drunk while doing it, and Schwarzenegger looks like an anorectic version of himself. The music is totally secondary and the sound effects are not even worth a mention at this point.

That's our Terminator? So long, human race.
It's been a pleasure.
The best way to sum up the gameplay in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is to compare it to any version of Sony Imagesoft's Last Action Hero, which came out a few years later - also a game based on a Schwarzenegger flick, imagine that. I'll also have you know that Last Action Hero is one the worst games I've ever played, but let's save that story for another time, since this game is nearly playable. You're T-800 and you're supposed to run from point A to point B, and punch the living daylights out of anyone that comes your way. That's right, basically T2 on the NES is a beat 'em up game. In a few stages, you're allowed to use the T-800's trademark broken shotgun, but most of the time, you're using your fists on hordes of guys in white shirts, that are after you for one reason or another. There's no point in following the "plot" - let's just say that your first mission is to get to the bar in the beginning of the movie and get yourself some clothes, a pair of boots and a motorcycle. The funny thing is that your ugly-ass Arnie sprite is fully clothed from the very beginning of the game. From your point of view, you're just heading to the bar to beat up some more people. And a boss that's twice the size of your killing machine - what's that, like 14 feet? - and takes a million punches to finally yield. For a Terminator, your guy is remarkably weak. I guess John Connor can kiss his juvenile ass goodbye.

Arnie probably forgot to ask money for fuel.
Towards the end of the game - if you're lucky and patient enough to make it that far - you'll have had endured a vehicle chase similar to the second stage in the PC version, which is actually the most fun stage to be played amidst all the boring slug, not one but two confusing multi-level stages in the vein of the Plaza Hotel in Home Alone 2, and one of them has a time limit, and the final stage, which involves a lot of platform jumping and you can just imagine how "difficult" that stage is with these lacking controls. That's it, though - five stages. Just a few lives to spare, but five stages is all that the game asks of you to bear. You'd like to think that it's not a lot to ask... but again, this game was brought to us by LJN, so...

Another one bites the dust. One more version of Terminator 2: Judgment Day to go, and I'm already bushed. By far, the only thing keeping me going is that the versions so far have not been the absolutely worst games based on movies that I've ever played. I'm hoping the SNES version, which I've never played before in my life, wouldn't be one either. I've given up hope for even a mediocre game, but the next few hours will tell...

Graphics : 5.1
Sound : 4.8
Playability : 3.8
Challenge : 4.0
Overall : 3.9


One quite irrelevant human brain farted on February 4th, 2011. A survivor of enough bad Terminator games to last a lifetime called it Judgment Day. He lived only to face a new nightmare: the truth, that there was a SNES version of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The central processor that controls the SNES, was unfortunately able to withstand yet another horrible game by LJN. Its mission: to destroy every ounce of hope that I might've had of a playable Terminator game. The first one for the SNES was programmed by Mindscape to strike at me in the year 1993, before I knew all Terminator games sucked. It succeeded. The second one came to pick up the pieces, just to strike at me again. As before, LJN was not able to create a good game to compensate for all the shit that ever left the conveyor belt with their ridiculous rainbow logo on it. Now it's just a question of which I'll catch first: a bullet to grant me eternal rest from shitty games, or the poor bastard who designed this one.

The game has almost exactly the same pastel-coloured, plain look as Home Alone. It's kind of like a mixture of the two games. I don't know why I keep bringing Home Alone up, but I guess it's just the simple fact that it kinda represents the bad movie licenses of all time - what's ironic, is that lately, I've come to realize that neither one of those games on the SNES are even close to being the absolute worst of their kind out there. The music is irritating, to say the least. The same kind of non-stop, badly sequenced, generic rock 'n' roll... Home Alone... had. The theme song is quite good, it's not even close to the actual Terminator theme song, but at least it has some of that same spirit in it.

Dude, I'm so sorry, I guess my shotgun just
went off by accident while it was aimed at your
head! "Non-fatal", thank God!
Perhaps I was exaggerating a bit with my Sarah Connor speech there: actually, this game is the best out of the three games simply entitled Terminator 2: Judgment Day I have on show here. Make no mistake, it's almost just as bad, but at least in this game, you have objectives and it kind of feels authentic from time to time. Count out the Arnie sprite that looks like a caricature from Mad Magazine and dozens of identical sprites wanting a piece of your metal ass, including a huge amount of clones of the bar owner from the movie, and the small interesting fact that shooting a guy square in the forehead from a point-blank range with a broken shotgun results in non-fatal wounds at the most, and a few other laughable subjects, and you might have yourself some fun, at least for a total of ten minutes.

In the first stage, your objectives are to find weapons and John Connor's home address from the bar. First off, the controls are absolutely horrible. Your jumping ability is not much of an ability, and since you don't have any weapons in the beginning, you need to force your way through a hail of bullets or throwing knives to get close - like intimate - to enemies and beat the shit out of them with your bare fists. Once again, it's amazing how a human being can withstand punches from a guy that's made of solid steel. Well, beating up a bar owner might (that's MIGHT) yield a shotgun, and the going gets much easier from that point on... or it would, IF the shotgun would react every time you try to fire it. Some lesser enemies yield Scoremaster pistols. The enemies respawn at a very random, but also very high rate, and there's absolutely no end to them. You have the weapons, so now you need to go outside and destroy a phone booth - why you couldn't just open the door and walk inside is beyond me - and find John's address. After you've done that, you've completed your objectives. You still can't exit the stage, though - you need to find these exoskulls scattered around the stage, marked as "future objects". I won't even try to comprehend what's the meaning behind these objects, I guess it kind of relates to the Terminator parts salvaged back in '84 that were stored at Cyberdyne Systems, collected by John, Sarah and the T-800, and destroyed in the end of the movie to botch the possibility of Skynet ever being built. See? I tried. Anyway, after finding these items, you're ready to go. Next up, not much of a surprise anymore, is a stage which involves Arnie on a motorcycle.

Only this time, your purpose is to find the house John lives in. There are some angry gang members following you from the bar, but they can be easily evaded, once you figure out how to use the bike controls, which are even worse than the standard ones. Once you reach the house, the Home Alone vibe really kicks in. The T-1000 awaits for you in just about every room in the house, timebombs keep spawning out of nowhere, and suddenly, there's a bunch of cops as well as those gang members from the bar following you around the house and its frontyard. All hell is loose in the Voight household, and considering that Todd and Janelle hadn't even been killed yet at this point of the film's storyline, I have to wonder what they have to say about all the damn police department wrecking up their garage, not to mention a guy made out of liquid metal oozing across the floors, invading just about every fashion of privacy there is. The police don't seem to mind him either. You're the suspect here.

Uh... officer? Are you sure you can't see a very
suspicious liquid metal form between us?
Well, this is how the game progresses, for a total of eight stages. You have unique objectives in each stage - which, however, are always simply about finding items and those "future objects" - and when you're done, you ride your bike to the next destination. Not too bad, but boring, and moreover, frustrating. Your health regenerates to 100% (actually 150%) after each stage, but it's the only health you have. Yep, it's the same as the home computer versions: one life, no continues. I can easily bet my microchip that if you fail during the late goings of the game, you will not try it again. The game is simply not fun to play.

Yet, it could've been worse. I have to end this on a high note, since I love the movie so much and the 16-bit version is the most faithful video game adaptation of T2 there is. And, it's the last game I ever have to deal with in relation to the best science fiction film of all time... or so I'd like to think. I wish this was a Star Wars game, 'cause then my Yoda quote "No, Luke. There is another..." wouldn't go to waste like this. Anyway, Probe Entertainment, Acclaim and *sigh* LJN were involved with another wholly different game based on the same movie, and it was also released on the Super Nintendo. Unfortunately, I have no choice but to go at it.

Graphics : 5.5
Sound : 5.8
Playability : 4.5
Challenge : 5.0
Overall : 4.7


a.k.a. T2: Judgment Day

GameRankings: 68.50% (GB), 50.00% (GEN), 52.00% (SNES)

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