A Lot Of Things Have Happened since Bethesda released Future Shock. The pc games market has been positively inundated with Doom clones of all descriptions. To make matters worse for Bethesda, two of these clones (Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, yes, I did say Quake) have been absolutely spoogeworthy in the extreme. So where does all this leave Bethesda with their sequel to Future Shock? Well, let's just say they're going to have to come up with something spectacular to impress the bods at Zone, who have probably seen more Doom clones than any game journalists on any magazine ever.
At first glance, SkyNET doesn't seem to offer much more than its predecessor (check out the screen shots). However, closer inspection reveals that the chaps and chapesses from Bethesda have been working round the clock to pack as many new features into the sequel as is humanly possible...
Okay, first things first. The graphics have been given a major overhaul and now have full support for svga. I haven't seen this version running yet, but if it's anything like the hi-res version of the first game, it will be absolutely fab. I know this because I saw the hi-res version of Future Shock when I visited Bethesda in the States, although the svga code didn't make it into the final version. Bethesda have made up for this enhanced graphics, there is another major new feature in SkyNET. Perhaps you can guess what this fantastic new improvement is. Perhaps you've been looking at the title of the game at the top of the page and seen the word net in bloody big letters. Yes, you've got it, SkyNET is going to be very, very big on the multi-player side of things. You'll be able to take on your mates in enormous battlefields and chase them about in jeeps, trucks or even aircraft. You'll be able to customise the multi-player environment completely by deciding how many vehicles and weapons are in the play area. Other Cenhancements' are the addition of lots of new weapons (17 in total), an enhanced version of Xngine (Bethesda's proprietary game engine) -although they haven't made clear exactly what the enhancements are -and support for various virtual reality headsets. In all honesty, I have very high hopes for SkyNET. It's still the only game of this type that lets you drive various vehicles and fly around the landscape, all in one game! Also, rumours are rife that the finished game will retail at about 30 quid which will do the game a lot of favours when it comes in for review. Don't miss the next copy of PC for a full run-down on what's hot and what's not in SkyNET.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
The post-apocalyplic carnage continues in Bethesda's latest Terminator-based game. A fresh set of missions featuring sharp new SVGA graphics offer challenging one-player action. As you criss-cross the nation in pursuit of a renegade nuclear weapon, you obliterate your enemies with the 17 weapons at your disposal. But without a doubt the coolest new feature is multiplayer mayhem over networks or modems. In death match-style action, you battle it out with hostile forces across the crumbling city of L A. You can even capture jeeps or enemy hunter/killers to put on the hurt in a big way.
Hang on to your shotguns, corridor-shooting fans. With intense polygon graphics, multiplayer options, and tons o' shooting', SkyNET, the sequel to last year's disappointing Future Shock, is actually pretty good.
The Sky's the Limit
In this latest Terminator extravaganza, you foray into the post-apocalyptic streets of Los Angeles, seeking out and blowing up Endrekeletons, Jlying Hunter-Killers, walkers, and more. The missfen objectives pose cool challenges like driving a jeep while shootrhg. and'even climbing into the cockpit of a deadly Hunter-Killer. Using the mouse (which allows up, down, and side-to-side movement for complete 3D immersion) is a snap, and the key-board kontrols are easy to remember.
The stages are gloomy, gory,find debris-intensive, some backgrounds, like the disco in Level Three, are pretty humorous (a la Duke Nukem). The definition is defirfftely better in the hires, 640x280 inodes tut the game ran choppy in that configuration--even on a souped-up Pentium 200.
The sounds try to re-create the movie's atmosphere, but suffer from lack of variety. The metallic clank of machinery and some fairly good explosions help things out.
You'll Be Back
SkyNET is a fun game for baby-Doomers who want a little movie history to go with their shooting. Although not as intense as Final Doom or as attitude-filled as Duke Nukem, SkyNET will keep you blasting into the wee hours of the next apocalypse.
- Never fly past alleys when in the jeep. Walkers lurk there, and they'll come out, follow you, and shoot you from behind.
- Get a fix on most enemy craft from a distance. As f soon as you see their outline In the distance, stop. They can't get a fix on you, but you can get one on them.
- The first tank you see when in the jeep is on a small ridge. Blo w it up, then drive the jeep onto the ridge, where a secret overpass will take you farther into the level, bypassing some serious firepovwer.
Being a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Terminator universe, I practically ripped apart the box Skynet came in when I got home. Skynet was one of my most anticipated games and I couldn't wait to feel the thump of the Terminator music and the adrenaline rush that comes with having to save the remnants of the human race from a mechanized-wrought genocide.
For the most part I was satisfied -- not disappointed, but not blown away either. An exciting opening cut scene, accompanied by the menacing Terminator music in the background, hints that rousing times are ahead. However, all the speed and intensity of the opening is lost when the first of eight full-motion video mission briefing begins.
Full of soap opera melodrama and stereotypes (like the beautiful woman who also happens to be a crack shot with any gun on earth), the briefing does much to awaken fears that can come with the purchase of a substandard game. But don't get me wrong, this game is not just another Duke or Quake knockoff. With extremely realistic 3-D settings, the thrill of being able to help John Connor save humanity, accompanied by a somewhat believable plot, and unique multiplayer abilities, Skynet far surpasses many others in the cluttered world of first-person shooters.
Puzzles, tricks and traps are abundant in Skynet. Missions are more integrated and sophisticated than simply annihilating the enemy terminators. Launch codes for a terminator-controlled nuclear missile must be downloaded, but only after trying to find the entrance in the heavily guarded Cyberdyne Systems building. After retrieving the launch codes, the secret entry into the terminator-controlled submarine base must be located. Along the way, expect heavy resistance from T-100 endoskeletons, biped armored walkers, turrets, tanks, the airborne hunter/killer attack plane, and many more enemies. But don't worry about defending yourself against terminators. Dispatching your enemies to the junk pile in the sky is as easy as choosing which weapon to nuke them with. Equipped with a useless metal pole, an Uzi, and the ever-present shotgun, you begin the game well stocked. As you progress through the game you come across grenade launchers, Gatling guns, different types of energy rifles and a very handy guided missile launcher that easily turns your enemies into confetti. Aside from projectile-type weapons, you also run across hand-thrown Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, grenades, even a time delay bomb that can pack quite the punch. But conserve your weapons and ammunition, because the programmers of Skynet didn't just leave ammo all over. You will have to search for it.
In a few areas of the game, worrying about where to find ammunition is not a problem. That's because during the course of the game you get to drive a jeep equipped with a powerful laser and rocket launcher and fly a stolen hunter/killer plane. These missions are a good way to mix up the type of action in Skynet, but I found them to be a little bland—the only challenge coming from having to learn to drive in one direction and shoot in another.
One aspect where Skynet definitely shines is its multiplayer ability. Unlike other games, where "deathmatches" consist of running around with the biggest possible weapon, Skynet allows you to commandeer jeeps and hunter/killer attack planes to assist you in the destruction of your best friends. This, added to the addition of a motion detector which highlights your enemy, brings a whole new level to multiplayer games.
The most powerful asset of Skynet is its extremely realistic and detailed 3D environments. Urban settings include demolished buildings that have caved in on themselves, potholes in the middle of the street that spew radiation, highway overpasses that actually go places, gas stations that explode when fired at (a very good way to dispose of enemy terminators if you're low on ammo), and even video and donut stores! Other 'bot infested environments encountered are a terminator-controlled submarine base and a sewer system equipped with working valves that raise and lower water levels within.
Another facet of Skynet that the programmers at Bethesda did a great job with was reducing pixelation of objects as they get closer. Even up close, terminators look menacing. Individual teeth can be seen in the skull of the T-100. Wall paneling and outside ground scenes look very convincing as well.
As beautiful as a game like Skynet is, I was sorely disappointed with the audio in the game. The ominous Terminator music from the movie is heard only in the opening scene. Unfortunately, in the actual game the heart-pounding music we all know and love is replaced by simple, almost 8 bit-sounding background noise -- I'll refrain from calling it music. I think they were trying to attempt either an ambient or mysterious sound, and all they ended up with was simplistic and boring. The sounds of the weapons are also not very inspired. The once-powerful shotgun now sounds as if the barrel is made out of used pop cans. Once, during a glitch in the sound while running it under Windows 95, the Uzi sounded more like an old electric typewriter than a snub-nosed instrument of death.
I have never been an advocate of playing games in Windows 95. In fact, I never thought it possible for a game to perform better in Windows than in DOS. That belief was shattered with Skynet. Loading missions in DOS took more than 20 to 30 seconds! To make matters worse, every time you enter a building and then leave it to go back outside you face another 20- to 30-second load time! However, when playing in Windows 95, loading missions and entering and exiting buildings is down to a more than acceptable few second wait.
Computer AI / Difficulty
For those gamers who are expecting to face an impossible mission in Skynet, prepare to be disappointed. Even at its most difficult setting, Skynet is not overwhelming. The computer AI seems to be good in some ways and poor in others. When they're out in open territory, all they really do is follow you and shoot. However, when they're inside buildings, the enemies are a little trickier. Many will wait at the inside of a doorway for you to come into their gun sights. This may be a cheap way to fight but hey, they're robots. Although faced with many enemies, most seem to be rather defenseless in the armor category. It appeared to me that even the largest tanks they threw at me were destroyed just as easily as a regular terminator. Unlike other shooters, Skynet doesn't leave a plethora of ammo lying around and there are a few difficult puzzles that provide more of a lifetime to the game -- a necessary factor, since your enemies are not very difficult.
486/66, 2X CD-ROM drive, 8 MB RAM, 20 MB available hard drive space, and either Windows 95 or DOS 6.0. A 3D accelerator and a Pentium 100 are recommended to reduce any slowdowns during major fire fights.
This game is definitely not without its share of glitches. The most noticeable would be clipping. Enemies sometimes walk and shoot through walls. Frustrating as that is, I found myself walking or driving through walls at times myself and then getting stuck. At that point all I could do was restart the level. Probably the most irritating glitch in Skynet would have to be the problem of enormous health penalties when falling only short distances. Many times during the game I have died from this problem. However, I was able to easily download a patch from the Bethesda website that fixed the problem.
As annoying as the acting, clipping, and sound glitches are, I cannot totally write off this game. In the flooded genre of the first-person shooter, games that truly stand out are few and far between. Skynet may not offer much in the realm of new ideas, but it does succeed as a game, and the multiplayer possibilities are enormous. It is enjoyable enough to waste a few days over and Terminator fans won't be disappointed. And since it only has eight missions, you may not spend more than a few days playing it.