Wednesday, March 19, 2014

VGR Terminator Rampage

You thought Skynet destroyed, but the evil AI always find another way to go online...

VGR: The Terminator: Rampage or simply Terminator: Rampage
From Bethesda Softworks
Played on PC (DOS)
Also available on /

Type FPS/dungeon-crawler
Year 1993

In the early 1990s, Bethesda Softworks acquired the rights to the The Terminator franchise. What followed was a series of very original and early FPS titles that helped establish the young studio and even ground the basis of some of their future hits such as The Elder Scrolls series and even the later Fallout 3.

They actually owned the rights to the Terminator license as far as video games go, and actually sub-licensed the rights for the home console videogames by Virgin.

Terminator: Rampage is a direct follow-up to their previous game, and Bethesday's third Terminator-based game following the 1990 Terminator game and Terminator 2029.

It was released the same year as the original Doom but was much closer to Wolfenstein in terms of game engine and gameplay mechanic.

SkyNet is no more.

The commando you played in 2029 destroyed the core of the evil cyber-foe. But just before being blown up, it was able to copy a part of itself on a T-800 model. Using the last Time Displacement Equipment, it was able to send a module back in time at Cyberdyne Systems in 1984 - that's right, during the events of the very first film.

Hence the last remains of SkyNet were able to find a hidden complex bunker in the Cheyenne Mountain. There, the AI started copying itself over other programs, taking over the place and using the building to construct an army of machines!  

You play an unnamed Tech soldier from the Human Resistance.  

You were sent to the same coordinates to prevent the rise of this future alternative SkyNet and ensure a chance for mankind!

But there was a problem when you were sent back in time. You arrived too late. Four years later...!

During all this time, SkyNet has already built several machines, taken over the entire building, launch
T-800 Model 101 way too early and has some infiltrators amongst Cyberdyne! 

And more importantly, SkyNet has activated the "Meta-Node", a huge machine and SkyNet's last line of defense! And since any time displaced soldier would arrive buck-nacked, there's no chance in hell they would be able to defeat this piece of highly advanced future tech with today's technology!


There's one thing playing in your favor!

You just arrived were the very first prototype of what would be the A.C.E. Battle Armor from Terminator 2029 is being stored!  

But it's incomplete and since you're all alone to strap it on, it's not correctly plugged in your nervous system, therefore you won't be able to access all of its functions from the previous game such as the auto-repair or the medi-computer. 

Now the only last problem is... You need a weapon to take on this Meta-Node. Looks like you're going to have to build it from scrap!

The main objective to speak of in Terminator Rampage is to build the V-TEC Phased Plasma Cannon

That's it. That's all there is.

But to do so you need to gather all the pieces through the entire Cyberdyne complex.

The game is about 32 levels long. Every 4 stages you  get a new setting through the place. Starting in the main offices to the labs, then it's the cafeterias, security labs, the warehouse, storage and finally the sub-basement... 

And yes, you have a little map on screen to help you out. Although due to its confusing design it won't help much. And you will find yourself running blindly around the place.

You see when you find the stairs you can go to the next stage EVEN IF you missed some pieces! The game will simply tell you via a message you missed something. You can go back if you want to. And you have to, if you wanna finish the current set of stages. 

The idea is to look for keycards to open new areas. Sometimes that means you will have to backtrack back and forth stages to open more doors and find the missing pieces of the plasma gun.

Terminator Rampage is an early First Person Shooter, closer to maze-like 3-D labyrinth games. A genre that preceded the likes of Doom. It's not as much focused on action.

But you will encounter a small army, SkyNet kept itself busy all these years building a ton of machines.

Will exploring you will encounter a ton of Seeker globes, flying drones and even some T-800. Actually most of the enemies you will find are those globes and drones. On that front the game is certainly lacking compared to the hordes of monsters Doom featured.

There also are some people left in the building... but wait! It's actually Terminator Infiltrators disguised amongst the civilians! So blast every single thing that comes your way!

To do so you will find weapons, ammo and even health packs in some rooms. (always check the toilets!)

Going from one level to the next, you will have to skip some fights and avoid some enemies. Don't engage only if you really need to.

Your weapons consist of various guns from simple berettas to uzis, the AK-47, etc. And also a handful of type of grenades.

Your prototype V-TEC plasma rifle will only help you to defeat the Meta-Node.

It's all about exploring the various floors of this underground building complex while looking for pieces of the weapon that will kill the final boss.

Lots of backtracking, the early levels are all about getting used to the game then it's onto pure exploration in the next areas. 

It's a fun but very difficult game that will test your patience, endurance and reflexes. It certainly seemed a bit lacking compared to the advances ID Software brought forward, but still a very fun game all in all.

There's also some brief but kickass DOS-animated cutscenes, gruesome, in typical Bethesda fashion.

Overall, it's a pretty fun early 3D FPS. 

I don't think it aged that well, then it wasn't neither that impressive back then in comparison to similar titles. It's a fun simple game using maze-like gride-based 3-D and 2D sprites for every enemy and item on screen. It looks... decent.

The gameplay involves a lot of exploration and memorizing the environment.

Terminator Rampage is a nice but forgettable title in Bethesda series of Terminator games. Maybe it was released to late or simply considered as the game "before" some real innovative progress reserved for the sequel.
I give it:
2 / 3 Invaders!

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