"An average first person shooter set around a blockbuster film"
Games based on movie franchises are usually ones to steer clear of. Atari in the past twelve months have had two major movie franchises to play with; The Matrix and now Terminator 3. Whether Enter the Matrix was a good game is sometimes still debated but recently the games based on the T3 film have been released to coincide with the DVD release. Has this game bucked the trend or is it heading to the bargain bin?
The storyline in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines obviously follows the storyline of the movie. The year is 2032 and the machines have risen up against humanity to fight a war. Set in California, the game begins in a world where everything has been destroyed by the machines and humans are fighting for survival. Before the storyline ends you will be sent back in time to change the future and defeat the TX terminator
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a first person shooter with many generic elements. Before each mission, of which there are twenty two, you are given various tasks to perform. This may be reaching an area, blowing up different enemies or structures or protecting a character such as Brewster. Whilst twenty two missions may sound like a lot, and give you the feeling this is a long game it can be completed in a day if you know what you're doing. Some of the missions are incredibly short. For instance in one mission we entered a room, cleared it of terminator robots and the mission ended.
Obviously to defeat the opposing forces you get to use some pretty sophisticated weaponry. The weapons are divided into two categories; present and future. The present weapons are guns you would find in a first person shooter set in the not to distant future or around the current time. Weapons such as a 9mm Pistol, RPG Rocket Launcher, Mini Gun and others. The future weapons are more sophisticated and include some Skynet weapons such as the Plasma Rifle and Lightning gun. Using the analogue sticks can at times make it difficult to aim the rifle but it doesn't take long to become accustomed to the aiming system.
The AI in the game is a mixed bag. There are three different levels of Terminator robots; Green, Yellow and Red. This indicates how tough and dangerous that model is. Most of these enemies will just walk towards you firing rather then take evasive action but this is to be expected considering they are robots. As well as this you take on some FK (Future Killer) units and further into the game law enforcement agencies. The Future Killer units such as the Fighters and Tanks are the ones most likely to cause you a problem.
The other unit you will fight in the game is the TX Terminator, the most advanced of its type. When you fight the TX, a mini game of sorts based around fighting games is started. Whilst the fighting game isn't basic (you can pick up and throw each other, kick and punch each other) don't expect the depth of a full blown fighting game here. When you defeat TX, you end up in a grapple hug rather then seeing her defeated in the fight which can seem strange.
One thing Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines does quite well is let you play and interact with some of the bigger scenes from the film such as the crane chase. As mentioned before the storyline follows the movie from what we can see, and to aid with this scenes from the film are cut into the gameplay. This transition works quite well with the in game scene picking up where the FMV scene ends. The game also shows the story from both sides at times. In one level you will be playing as a Terminator unit and must defeat the human forces from a level you have played in before.
This game is the first game where you actually get to play as the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The developers and artists have done a superb job with his likeness and the detail is quite incredible. He has also lent his voice to the game and busts out some cheesy lines such as Locked and Loaded etc. This also extends to the TX unit who was played by Kristanna Lokken. Whilst she hasn't lent her voice to the game, the actual model looks incredibly like her and is a credit to the artists of the game.
There are other bonus options in the game as well. As you progress through the single player level you will unlock film stills, footage from the film and exclusive scenes from the film. Also there are two classic Atari games to unlock if you can find them in the levels; Centipede and Missile Attack. Cheats are included with the game but be careful as it seems once they are enabled they can't be turned off.
As mentioned before there are twenty two levels and throughout the game you will visit many structures and environments. You will infiltrate Skynet, have to escape law enforcement agencies by destroying their vehicles, enter a military compound and others. The environments are heavily detailed but even so the graphics are a little disappointing for the PS2 version. Arnold and Kristanna look great but the rest of the graphics can leave a bit to be desired. The soundtrack of the game is the main theme used in the film promotions earlier last year and the sound effects are fairly stock standard except for Arnolds cheesy lines.
There isn't much wrong with Terminator 3 other then the fact there are better first person shooters on the PS2 already and the game has some fairly short missions. Fans of the film will like the way it follows the movie and the bonus footage but for those just looking for a new first person shooter to keep you happy, wait till this hits the bargain bin.