Wednesday, June 24, 2015


In anticipation for the new Terminator film, let's have a look at the last decent Terminator game!

VGR: SkyNET also known as The Terminator: Skynet in Europe
From Bethesda Softworks
Played on PC
Also available on /

Type FPS
Year 1996

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 made by Virgin.

SkyNET also known as The Terminator: Skynet in Europe would be the fifth and last Terminator game developed by Bethesda, following the 1990 Terminator game, Terminator 2029 and Terminator Rampage and Future Shock.

SkyNET was originally intended to be an expansion pack for Future Shock. But due to the numerous upgrade and enhancements they brought to the game it ended up as a standalone sequel. 

The game was designed by Bethesda veterans Todd Howard, Morton Mørup and John Pearson.

The game runs on Bethesda's XnGine engine, which was the first engine at the time to be able to properly use full 3D perspective, real-time light sources as well as texture 3-dimensional polygons. Which means games could finally start to display some impressive levels and structures. Although it still relied on the use of flat 2D sprites for a few items such as weapons.

The game was released in 1996.

The story of this game actually acts as a prequel to The Terminator: Future Shock.

Like most of these Terminator games by Bethesda Softworks, the game places in you as a human resistance soldier in the future war following Judgment Day.

At the start of each mission you can view your mission objectives, robots data and get a full briefing. Also, these videos leaves the old DOS-style animations to be entirely told through FMV cutscenes (live-action "full motion video"). And it's glorious!

It all begins with a cheap looking B-movie-budget John Connor  introducing you to the rest of the team. There's this scientist guy, some military lass and this annoying kid sidekick.. waitaminute! It's noneother than a young Kyle Reese!

At first they need you for a few recon missions, but soon you find out about SkyNet's nearby's factories and prison camps...

Night progressing into daylight as the game goes on. This time you get to visit some pretty varied locations from the basement of the old Cyberdyne building, to a sinking nuclear submarine and so much more!

Terminator: SkyNET offers both singleplayer and multiplayer modes.

The gameplay is fairly standard and similar to the previous titles. It actually was one of the very first FPS to use the now-standard control schemes, a combination of both keyboard for movement controls and the mouse-setup to look at directions.

The game is about eight levels. You get a few objectives at the beginning of each level (which can evolve as you play). The goal is to either avoid or go through waves of enemies in order to complete those. To help you out you start with a few weapons (such as a standard pistol, a baton and a motion detector) and you can grab all kinds of guns and rifles around the environments. You can also enter most places to look for ammo. There's also a few types of grenades, which helps a lot against bigger machines.

Enemies are pretty varied, ranging from the constant presence of Hunter/Killer Bombers patrolling the skies to Scouts, the dangerously maneuverable Spiderbots, Heavy Tanks, early Terminator Series T-600, Raptors, Bethesda's own original recurring foe the Seeker and many more!

The terrain can be huge, and harsh. You need to avoid radiation in some places. 

Most of the game is played on foot, although to help you out there's some segments on a jeep and you even get to drive a HK fighter!

Like I wrote above, SkyNET originally began its life as a simple expansion pack for Future Shock. So on a first look it seems to be the same overall game.

The same basic control scheme. The same gameplay. Virtually identical graphics. And on some level, it's true. Nothing really radically changed between both titles.

In fact the game even shares some direct assets with it. Which makes the game seems like a glorified expansion... or a rather basic sequel.

But as for the settings they really improved the levels. The places you get to visit are a bit more diverse. The game just doesn't feel as much repetitive. Plus you get a decent incoming stream of SkyNET enemies your way. It can get pretty tense and stressful at times. There's always something to do. Something to find.

I mean, you even get to find an old nightclub apparently overrun by the machines (did SkyNET consider it a pivotal location to get their hands on?), complete with a fun secret easter egg!

All in all, SkyNET is pretty good. A really nice way to expand on the solid foundations established in the previous game. While it doesn't seem to innovate that much, it was still considered some of the best visuals offered in gaming back then. And it's simply a lot of fun.

The game even gets much harder near the end, when you'll have to face countless hordes of machines, Goliaths, until finally being able to reach a missile launch.

Multiplayer is basic, but it works. At least, it used to. It consisted of deathmatch which you can play up to 8 players via LAN. You get to play as either humans or Terminators. As human soldiers you need to try to be as silent as possible, you can only carry a few lightweight guns. As a robot you might be slower and make huge noises, but you're really strong and can grab any weapon you find. The multiplayer matches are entirely customizable, the maps can be edited, you can play with several variables including the time of day and a time limit. There's a few fun maps such as a city landscape, a freeway and even a valley.

Finally, take note that if Future Shock is installed on the same computer SkyNET lets you upgrades the graphics of the previous game. Bringing the enhanced models, textures and bigger resolutions.

Overall, The Terminator: SkyNET was a really great game. And it still is considered to be one of the best Terminator games ever developed to this very day.

It might not be as innovative as its predecessors but it was a really good game all things considered. The game sported more impressive indoor settings. You get to face the different primitive Terminator models. And the FMV scenes in all their cheesy gloriousness really helped make this game slightly stand out and more memorable over its predecessor in my eyes.

A cult classic fan favorite entry in the franchise.

Probably one of the few better Terminator games out there, well worth a look for any gaming enthusiast and fans of the series. Highly Recommended for any fans of old school shooters and The Terminator.

This game marked the last Terminator game that would be developed by Bethesda. While they would never get to develop any new Terminator game (so far), most of their later games would still be based on some of the ideas they first imagined in this series here. I mean, I personally think their Fallout games have a lot more in common with these first few "open world" FPS Terminator games than the actual original Fallout titles by Interplay Entertainment.
I give it:
3 / 3 Invaders!

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