Retro Review: The Terminator

The Terminator

Released: 1993

Platform: Mega CD

Publisher: Virgin

Developer: Virgin Games USA

Following on from my look at Cliffhanger, I thought I would check out a video game based on one of the best films of the 80s. It’s time to utter those iconic words and say, “I’ll be back” with a retro look at The Terminator on Mega CD.

Whatever you think of The Terminator franchise in recent years, I think you can safely say that Terminator 1 and 2 are undisputed classic movies! Not only did they help make Arnold Schwarzenegger one of the most successful action stars in Hollywood, they were also damn good movies. I remember seeing Terminator 2 at the cinema and like many others was absolutely blown away by the special effects! The CGI at the time was revolutionary, but let’s not forget the incredible make up effects from the sadly departed Stan Winston.

I would have probably been 9 years old when I first saw The Terminator and like most movies from that era, I watched it with my Nan. Predator, Robocop, Bloodsport, Kickboxer and many more were all watched at my Nans house. My Nan was great! I can hear Reverend Lovejoys interfering wife, Helen Lovejoy, from The Simpsons decrying this sort of behaviour with her catchphrase “won’t someone please think of the children”, but let’s just say that it was a different time compared with today.

The Terminator is a run and gun shooter where you play the role of Kyle Reece fighting against the murderous machines. The game follows the movie very closely and is initially set in 2029 as you fight your way to the time travel device which will send you back to 1984. As you would expect there is some grainy FMV but I was impressed with how well it was used to enhance the story. Rather than put loads of film clips of the movie into the game, some actual thought has been used to link the FMV to each level.

The Terminator poses a stiff challenge even when playing on easy difficulty, luckily though you can find upgrades to your standard weapon as well as extra grenades, health and body armour. The controls are nice and responsive and I was surprised just how much fun it was to play.

Even though the gameplay and graphics are both great, my favourite thing about The Terminator on Mega CD is the soundtrack. Not only does it have the classic score from the movie by Brad Fiedel, but also an absolutely stunning brand new soundtrack by Tommy Tallarico. The music is right up my street full of melodic and crunching guitars. It is so good that I could see myself listening to it in the car!

I played The Terminator upon its original release on the Megadrive and thought it was decent with my only criticism being it could be completed quite quickly. I was pleasantly surprised that the Mega CD version appears to be a massive improvement in every department and is well worth checking out. For more movie cross over goodness, please also check out my review of Robocop vs Terminator

Graphics – Excellent representations of the different machines and Terminators. The setting follows the movie very closely and although the FMV is grainy it links nicely with the different levels. 7

Sound – An absolutely stunning soundtrack that not only features the classic Terminator theme but also a superb original score. 9

Playability – You will be challenged even on easy difficulty however, The Terminator is a really fun game with responsive controls and fun gameplay. 7

Re-Playability – Despite the difficulty, I can definitely see myself playing The Terminator in the future. 7

Overall – The Terminator on Mega CD is an excellent movie tie-in with great gameplay and amazing music. It is definitely one of the best movie licences I have played and is well worth seeking out. 8

Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With)