The Terminator's Greatest Hits
November 01, 2019
The Terminator just won't die - both the T-800 killing machine and the franchise that it spawned. The sixth film in the series, Terminator: Dark Fate is in theaters now and it tosses aside the newly established continuity from the fifth film, Terminator: Genysis, which threw away the continuity from the fourth film, Terminator: Salvation, which dumped the continuity from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (not to mention the television continuity of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Thanks to the timey-wimey ball, all sorts of Terminator media has been disowned from its parent franchise. These Skynet-style erasures from history do not impact the various Terminator video games because, like most tie-in media of their eras, nobody ever expected the games to officially tie into anything. Luke McKinney at Den of Geek recaps the Terminator games spanning from the original film all the way up to Terminator: Salvation. What I found strange was that the games based on the original 1984 film are not for Atari or contemporary hardware from its day, but hail from the early 1990s. I had no idea there was a Terminator game for the Sega CD, for instance.
This isn't just the best original Terminator game, it's one of the best Terminator anythings. In 1993, this truly felt like future technology had been sent back in time to kick our human asses, and was so good at the job we enjoyed the process. It didn't waste then-revolutionary CD storage capacity on overlong FMV (Fuzzy Massive Video). It knew we were playing because we'd already seen a great movie and we wanted to kick ass. It filled all that extra space for explosions and rock music, and both blasted big holes in the timestream.
If this games' version of Kyle Reese had been in the movie, he'd have blown the Terminator apart, leapt over the pieces, slam-dunked grenades into Skynet's central processing unit, and carried Sarah Connor into a future where the only "road of bones" was their honeymoon. If John Connor had had this Kyle for a father in Terminator 2, the kid wouldn't have been such a wise ass.
Of the Terminator games I have played over the years, none of them captured both the essence of the films and a fun gaming experience. I put more time than I should have into Terminator: Salvation for the Sony PlayStation 3 because I'm a fan of the franchise and the developer behind the game, the late lamented GRIN of Bionic Commando fame; plus the game awards nothing but gold trophies. No bronze, no silver, just gold for completing each level. Sadly, it's really not worth the effort. The game is a grim bullet-sponge shooter with little to redeem it. The strange thing is that I don't know why I own the game. I don't remember buying it and it's not the kind of game I would purposefully acquire because of its poor reputation. GRIN was already circling the drain by this point and purportedly rushed the game to shelves which explains its half-finished nature in places. I didn't review it for Kombo according to my records. It's just on my shelf without an explanation. Clearly this is Skynet meddling with time again. The futuristic AI has already erased one Terminator game from history.