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Terminator 3
game: Terminator 3
two star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Atari
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 19th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 19th, 2004

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By Eric Qualls

When I got the GBA version of Terminator 3 to review, I expected it to be yet another thrown together side-scrolling 2D beat ˜em up created with no purpose other than to make a quick buck off of a hot license. The GBA library is filled with licensed games exactly like I just described, so I figured it was a good guess. Surprisingly enough, T3 isn't a side-scrolling beat ˜em up and is instead an action shooter played from an isometric perspective. It is, however, poorly put together and was obviously rushed out the door to try and make a quick buck, so I wasn't too far off. It is nice that Atari at least attempted to do something other than the usual for a licensed game on the GBA, but a turd is still a turd no matter what perspective you're looking at it from. Terminator 3 is a bad game that should be avoided.

In Rise of the Machines, you take on the role of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator as he fights to protect John Connor. The story loosely follows the Terminator 3 movie, but it doesn't go very deep and doesn't have much of an impact on the game. There are 12 missions in the game split between the future and the present but the game plays exactly the same no matter where in time you are.

The gameplay in T3 consists of shooting several different types of enemy robots while tackling various missions. The game was designed in an isometric perspective, so exploring the levels is made a little easier than it would have been otherwise but the combat suffers because it is somewhat difficult to line up your shots correctly. When you do get everything figured out, it is actually sort of fun going through the levels and blasting everything in sight with grenades and shotgun blasts, but the novelty wears off fairly quickly. The missions are usually nothing more than protecting someone or fetching a keycard or other object, and this lack of imagination in mission design coupled with the repetitive nature of the combat means that the game becomes pretty tiresome after only the third or fourth level.

There are a few cool things that the game does, though. If you press the select button, the screen goes into a red tinted scan mode? so you can find hidden items, people, and passageways. I also like that your guns are assigned to one button while punches and explosives are assigned to a different button. This means that you can do more than one thing at a time and you don't have to think about it too much.

The biggest letdown with T3 on the GBA is just how simple and easy everything is. None of the enemies pose much of a threat to you unless you just stand around like an idiot and get shot, and even the bosses have easily recognizable patterns that you can take advantage of. Some of the weapons in the game are also ridiculously overpowered and nearly every enemy in the game will drop ammo or health so you can just blast your way through the game without any real challenge. Something else that is just plain wrong is the fact that your punches do a huge amount of damage. You can literally play through the entire game using nothing but punches. The entire game can be completed in just a couple of hours and the repetitiveness and overall simplicity of the gameplay means that Terminator 3 really isn't worth your time.

The graphics and sound in T3 are pretty disappointing. Special effects for explosions or when an enemy robot is transported into the battle look sort of cool, but everything else looks very rough. The levels lack detail and all look pretty much the same. Character models for the enemy robots actually look pretty good, but the Terminator are a mess and you can barely tell who it is supposed to be. The animations for all of the characters are just flat out awful and everything looks very stiff and choppy. The sound is just as unimpressive. The robot noises that the enemies make sound ok, but the guns, explosions, and music simply do not get the job done. At no point will you hear anything that even resembles the classic Terminator theme, which is a major letdown.

Despite trying to separate itself from all of the other licensed games on GBA by giving you a different camera angle and a couple of cool gameplay additions, Terminator 3 is still a poor game that has quick cash in? written all over it. There isn't anything in this game that makes a definitive This is a Terminator game? type of statement so all you are left with is an average shooting game shoehorned onto a watered down version of the movie's story. There are better shooters on the GBA that are much more worthy of your time and money. Even though it has its high points, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a disappointing game that I wouldn't recommend for a purchase until you can find it in the bargain section.