The Terminator: Rampage

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a game by Bethesda Softworks
Platform: PC (1993)
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: First Person Shooter Games, Old School Games, Cult Classic Games, Terminator Games, Arnold Schwarzenegger Games
The Terminator: Rampage
The Terminator: Rampage
The Terminator: Rampage
The Terminator: Rampage

This is the follow-up to Terminator 2029, itself only released a few months ago. In it. you played a member of the human Resistance still battling it out with robots from Skynet. In order to achieve a little 'rpg factor,' it attempted to combine the 3D shoot 'em-up with a continuing series of missions which culminated in the destruction of the Skynet Orbital Platform. It had several faults, the most obvious of which was that you were restricted to moving about one square at a time like a Wizardry throwback, while your targets were tearing about in full animation. As a result, it didn't exactly take the world by storm.

Convinced that all the game really needed was one or two slight alterations to the playing style, game content, control method, plot, graphics and sound, they've made a follow-up which dispenses with all the unwanted baggage and concentrates on the shoot 'em-up elements. The plot to justify the game's existence is another one of those unutterably confusing jobs that exploits the fact that everyone gets confused by time travel and will drop their workable plasticine models of the space-time continuum in exasperation after the first paragraph. You know what it's like. As soon as we see anything to do with complicated theories of time travel our eyes go all out of focus and we're sick into a bucket. Here goes, though.

The plot

The Skynet Orbital Platform was destroyed at the end of the last game (I expect someone from Bethesda had to do it themselves, because nobody I know got anything like that far). Except it wasn't really. When the Orbital Platform was destroyed, it dumped a r-800 into the past, equipped with all the core data on events to date. (Kind of like a self-help book for budding computers, called How To Develop Self Awareness, Grow Arms And Legs And Wipe Out Those Soft Pudgy Bastards With Unsightly Body Hair.) This adapted T-800, known as a Meta-Node, infiltrated the headquarters of the Cyberdyne Systems Laboratory, downloaded all the info from the future, including how Skynet had been destroyed the first time, and started the whok bang all over again, only sooner. Back in t he mire, everyone started disappearing as this new n of events affected the past, uckily, (I'm paraphrasing here for the sake of own sanity as well as yours) there were some m.' bods working in 'null time' zones who lised what had happened and decided to dump back there to destroy the Meta-Node. Luckily Bcthesda (or there wouldn't have been a game) techie bods cocked up, and you arrive after the a-Node has started, but not completed, its evil don't know why they don't do the job vrly and just send you back a little further to ot Charles Babbage.)

The graphics

Each level takes place on a different floor of the ilding. The background graphics are good up to a point the point being that the stuff dotted around uive the effect of an office building is all mpletely flat. Desks face you straight on, no latter where you're standing in a room, basins in shrooms are clearly painted onto the wall, and on. You can walk right through chairs and lamps. Searching among them for bullets and stuff adds up to more of an annoyance than an environmental enhancement.

The walls, floor and ceiling are all texture-mapped. You can toggle these effects in a variety of ways: the floor and ceiling can be switched off individually; the 'lights' (which affect the flare from gunfire rather than the ceiling striplight effects) can be toggled, and the graphical detail can be set at a number of levels. You'd think that this would make the game playable on just about any machine.

The problem

It isn't. On a 486/33, with all the details on, it's disappointingly jerky. Using the sprint button down a corridor is like undergoing a series of fainting fits, and turning round (rather important in a game in which things creep up on you all the time) is like steering the Amoco Cadiz. We had to play with the details on their lowest setting and with either the floor or ceiling turned off in order to get a reasonable speed out of it - so any machine slower than this could be struggling somewhat.

The other problem

Each level of the building is big, and seems to have been designed by the man who did the labyrinth in The Name Of The Rose, only this time he was drunk. Since you have to search every single room (because it could well be the one with a V-Tec piece in it) it's very slow-going. You can only ever see a small part of the door plan in the map provided, and it's very easy to lose track of where you are and what you've visited, especially in the middle of a light. It's badly in need of some indication of whether you've already checked a room or not, and since you can't store up certain items and therefore have to go back for them, a way of noting the room's contents would also help.

The other other problem

The other, worse, problem is the imminent release of Doom, the follow-up to Wolfenstein. Rampage is trying to do what Doom does, and in direct comparisons between the two, Rampage comes off the worse for wear. The levels we've seen of Doom are fast and incredibly addictive and nothing gets in the way of the game. Rampage is slow by comparison and becomes tedious fairly quickly. The whole point of any 30 shoot 'em-up is speed, except this doesn't have much speed, either running speed or in style of gameplay.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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