RELEASED: November 2003
AVAILABLE ON: GBA, PS2, Xbox
DEVELOPER(S): Black Ops Entertainment, Taniko (GBA)
2003 marked a very important turn in Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. The former bodybuilder, later legendary sci-fi and action film icon became the Governor of California - also known as the "Governator" - in October. The movie featuring Mr. Schwarzenegger in his last starring role premiered in July, and it was another sequel to none other than his final breakthrough in 1984, as well as the first film in which his catchphrase "I'll be back" was first uttered - The Terminator. Back in 1984, games based on movies were very rare. In the early 90's, they became a trend. Terminator 2: Judgment Day spawned several directly licensed video games, which were all horrible, but Bethesda Softworks garnered in quite a bit of acclaim with their series of first-person shooters, released exclusively on the PC, which weren't directly based on any of the movies. Well, in 2002, Atari got their hands on the video game license of the Terminator franchise. After publishing an ill-fated action game by the name of The Terminator: Dawn of Fate for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox, they moved on to the direct Terminator 3 license. First, they tried to repeat Bethesda's success in the 90's with a first-person shooter - also starring Schwarzenegger, in his first and last voice acting role. They failed miserably... but the "best" was yet to come. Just a week after the release of this version, Atari published one for the Game Boy Advance. No use asking why, I guess.
Chosen for termination
|For just a brief fraction of a nanosecond, I |
imagined I was playing vintage Fallout.
Let's start with the movie, which in my honest opinion was extremely underappreciated. OK, it was full of holes. OK, it was kinda stupid, all the way from the plot twists to the bone-dry, trendy humour, which there was a lot of. OK, it didn't hold a candle to the first two movies. OK, Arnie looked kinda old - which I guess he was. But, no matter how bad the movie was as a sequel, it was pretty good as a stand-alone sci-fi action blockbuster - I actually still prefer it over Terminator Salvation in many ways, and it was most definitely the best movie Arnold had done in nearly ten years; his career really hit a downward slope after True Lies. I know, I know, it isn't that hard to do a half decent flick after utter horseshit like Junior, Jingle All the Way and the God damn abysmal, blasphemous Batman & Robin, but still.
|Lol'd at "Syknet".|
The graphics are not that bad. Lame, yeah, but technically sufficient, taking into account how awful licensed games usually look, even in this day and age. At least they toned down on the use of scruffy character stills unrelated to each other, which are prominent in most games, and opted for drawn portraits. The storyboard design is what sucks and reeks, the graphical design is quite close to home. At least the game looks the part. I've never heard Brad Fiedel's classic Terminator theme song, or the even more popular T2 remix in a video game... and I still haven't, not even a semi-faithful version of Marco Beltrami's T3 remix makes an appearance. The music's clearly influenced by the original scores, I just wish it'd be little less repetitive. Same goes for the game.
|The flamethrower's a surprisingly good |
weapon, considering that I always thought
getting burnt into a crisp only made the
machines more aggressive.
Generally, the controls are surprisingly good, the game being isometric and all, but the invisible corners you might get stuck on as easy fodder for enemy cannons will make your life miserable all the way from the beginning of the game. Disregarding the occasional magic bullet that goes straight through enemies and breakable objects as a tiny glitch this one time, aiming in this game is made exceptionally hard by the camera angle alone. Auto-aim occasionally wakes from its slumber, but it sucks balls, especially when you're trying to stop the enemy swarm instead of a single enemy, by destroying a portal device; the auto-aim goes straight to the nearest single enemy. Also, any ammunition for a primary weapon you pick up will change your current weapon to that particular weapon, except when you're carrying the minigun. Look, a little thought for the player's wellbeing! That's good.
|The SWAT members act more like the |
Terminator than the Terminator himself.
Besides driving a car, you're mandated to take control of a turret every once in a while, to destroy large constructs (or bosses) that block your way to your next linear objective, and you can also remotely control small H/K's. What sounds pretty cool isn't - the H/K, once controlled by you, is utterly destroyed by one single lucky shot by an enemy. Usually, though, enemy fire is incredibly easy to dodge just by moving, it's so slow. Hell, I got through the whole graveyard mission without firing a single bullet except when I absolutely had to, to get rid of visible obstacles, and I survived by absorbing only two - and I absorbed those two bullets because of bumping into those INvisible obstacles I mentioned.
|The graveyard scene. Not only was it actually |
in the movie, it's my favourite scene in it.
Not only does a game have to reach a standard nowadays, it also has to exceed it by a damn lot to really have some meaning in the world. As far as gameplay's concerned, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines comes surprisingly close to the most basic standard of an action game, but in terms of entertaining the player, it's just hopeless, a piece of useless merchandise released for the sake of God-knows-what.
GRAPHICS : 8.2
SOUND : 7.0
PLAYABILITY : 6.5
LIFESPAN : 3.5
CONCLUSION : 5.2
GameRankings: 49.06% (GBA), 39.17% (PS2), 41.09% (Xbox)
The game was supposed to be ported to the Nintendo GameCube at a later date. Even most of the promotional material for the game was done, but due to the poor reception of all three games that were already released, the plans were cancelled.
Atari developed another first-person shooter based on Terminator 3, subtitled War of the Machines, for the PC. The game was released less than a month after this one, to even worse reviews.
Atari's third game based on Terminator 3, a third-person action game called Redemption, was released in September 2004 on the GameCube, the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. It was received fairly well by critics, but it sold poorly.