The Terminator: Dawn of Fate
|a game by||Infogrames, and Atari Co.|
|Platforms:||XBox, Playstation 2|
|Editor Rating:||6.1/10, based on 4 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.4/10 - 5 votes|
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|See also:||Terminator Games|
At the beginning of both Terminator films, we're given a brief glimpse of the future: America in 2027 is a grim, war-torn wasteland packed with brave rebels fighting giant war machines. As a prequet to the first film, Dawn of Fate thrusts you into this post-apocalyptic setting as a band of fighters serving under General John Connor. The crux of the game centers on stopping the evil supercomputer Skynet from sending a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah Connor (John's hottie mom). Of course, if you've seen the film, you know how well that plan turns out.
The gameplay mixes elements of gunplay, hand-to-hand brawling, puzzle solving and mini-games into a genre-bending cocktail reminiscent of recent titles like Dead to Rights and Devil May Cry (PS2). Multiple characters and customizable upgrades (like health and ammo boosts) add an RPG flourish to the action, and tapping into your adrenaline reserve gives your hero a burst of superpower when you need it most.
On the surface, Dawn of Fate captures the gritty, dramatic feel of the classic sci-fi films remarkably well. But while the graphics and sound draw heavily from the movie's excellent production design, the basic gameplay can't quite measure up to similar games in the genre. If you're a huge fan of the flicks, give it a rental. In other words, terminate your desire to buy this game.
Download The Terminator: Dawn of Fate
Prepare to swallow the bitterest pill ever concocted: Arnold only thought he'd be back. When Infogrames snagged the rights to make a game based on James Cameron's violent movie The Terminator, they were unable to secure likenesses for the film's stars. As a result, the third-person shooter Terminator: The Dawn of Fate will most definitely lack a Schwarzeneggeresque quality.
No matter. Developer Paradigm, which once toiled mightily on the very excellent Nintendo 64 launch title Pilotwings 64, seems poised to make game fans forget old whatshisname. Dawn of Fate, a true prequel, ends where Terminator starts and begins in that most-troubled year of 2027. Amid the backdrop of a terrible human-robot war, a ragtag human resistance, lead by hero John Connor, uncovers a fiendish plan hatched by the no-goodnik automaton Skynet. Skynet, a shadowy villain in the finest mold of Arthur Conan Doyle's Moriarity (only with electronic guts), hopes to send a fearsome new terminator back to the past to whack Connor's mom before she can give birth.
Fortune favors the brave, and also those who pack heat in excess. Players take the role of humans Kyle Reese, Justin Perry and Katherine Luna as they attempt to thwart the vile Skynet's schemes with extreme prejudice. Mission-based play initially sees the humans on the defensive, slugging it out with Skynet's forces in a shattered Los Angeles, but shifts gears as the game progresses and, ultimately, the fight ends up on Skynet's doorstep. Though still early in its development stage, Dawn of Fate may hold magic in the mold. New and never-before-seen Terminators such as the hulking, rusted-out T-400S and the more modern T-8oos haunt the game's levels. These formidable foes quickly learn to raise their arms to deflect bullets, teleport in a gorgeous flash of pink and blue, and explode brilliantly when stabbed by the humans' plasma baton. A rather intriguing storyline should keep players hooked like trout--the developers have created a new faction of cybernetic men called the Digihumans and thrown in a subplot involving a human traitor.
"This is a relentless action game," says Lead Designer Ken Tabor. Battles can be fought in close quarters mano a mono or with any one of the game's 15 or so long-range weapons. To ensure a cinematic feel, Paradigm opted for a third-person perspective and a dynamic camera that currently, to put it mildly, makes us want to chuck our cookies. ("We're going to be working on the camera until they tell us to stop and the game ships," Tabor says.) Here's hoping.
What happens when you take a great sci-fi thriller and have Atari, one of the oldest and greatest video game companies of all time, release a game based on that concept? The answer is a crummy pseudo-game. Much like Skynet, The Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a great idea gone horribly wrong.
Today's game developers seem to follow the tenet of 'this is an interactive movie, a work of art, not a game.'? The Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a prime example of why this sort of thinking just doesn't work when it comes to creating a good game. They completely wrecked what was a great potential for a really cool game. First and foremost this game falls victim to the dreaded camera angle disease - you can't see where you're going most of the time. To make matters even worse, you have absolutely no control over the camera at all. The most frustrating thing is when the viewpoint switches between various cameras (and angles) while trying to move through a room. This happens so often that it's very easy to get confused and even lost in a single room! A map in the corner attempts to help but is virtually useless. Aside from that the control isn't too bad. There is a first-person mode but since you can only use it when standing still it's virtually useless. It's also useless for fighting enemies since there's a button to lock on to enemy targets in normal third-person mode that allows you to hit any target perfectly at all times, even if it or you is moving, as long as nothing's blocking you. About the only redeeming quality gameplay-wise is using the stationary turret guns. This does require some skill in the first-person shooter sense although you're a sitting duck if anyone decides to fire at you.
You can go wherever you want in a level but the gameplay is very linear. You must complete certain tasks before moving on otherwise you'll probably end up in an endless firefight. Enemies never just appear or surprise you, there always seems to be a cut-scene showing them come in. The graphics, sounds, and music aren't too bad for an Xbox game but they also don't seem to showcase what the hardware is capable of either.
Once upon a time Atari was known for being the pinnacle of creativity, originality, and great gameplay. Clearly this isn't your father's Atari. The Terminator: Dawn of Fate just isn't fun and you can attribute almost all of that to the camera angles and bad control. Perhaps if a patch were released that either turned this into a first-person shooter or let you control a free-space camera then it would have a chance. As such I seriously wouldn't recommend that anyone actually buy this title and those of you with serious interest should do nothing more than rent.
Terminator: Dawn of Fate takes us back to the original Terminator movie story line in the year 2027. Skynet's robots have waged war against humanity and were winning until John Connor took control of a renegade group of men and started gaining victories. A new problem has arisen however as Skynet has developed a time machine and a new T-800 model that looks human. In an attempt to send the T-800 in the past to kill John Connor's mother, Skynet hopes to eradicate John before he is born. With Kyle Reese chasing the T-800 back in time it's hoped he can protect John's mother and save the future.
With a great license like The Terminator, hopes are generally high in anticipation for the end product. Unfortunately, Terminator: Dawn of Fate_ has a number of issues that are distracting, inadequate, and frustrating. The biggest problem that immediately comes to light is the camera angles. It becomes extremely distracting, as the camera doesn't follow behind you consistently. Sometimes you're running at it, sometimes it's stuck on the side, but often it doesn't give an angle that allows you to see enemies or even hazards that are in front of you.
Another issue is the controls. Tied to the camera angle problem, the controls are difficult to use. Just figuring out which way you're going can be difficult enough as the camera angle changes on its own, but moving and firing are also problematic as aiming when not in first person mode can be challenging at best.
Overall, Terminator: Dawn of Fate has a number of major and minor problems that make the game questionable even for rentals. Those who are fans of the Terminator will also want to make sure they know what they're getting as it may take a truly die hard fan to appreciate it.