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Game Profile
Game Boy
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
November 18, 2003
Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator 3: The Redemption

Terminator 3: The Redemption

More in this Series
 Written by D'Marcus Beatty  on January 13, 2004

Review: Ah-nold may not be back after this one.

Arnold, the action hero turned politician, reprised his role as the cyborg Terminator in his latest action blockbuster, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. After the movie debuted in theaters during the summer of 2003, inevitably video game companies would try to capitalize on the marketability of the film. Thus, both PS2 and Xbox received a game based upon the film and a final handheld version showed up on Game Boy Advance.

On the GBA, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a simple action game that loosely follows the storyline of the movie. Gamers take on the role of the seemingly unstoppable Terminator as he aids the humans in their battle against the machines. Players get the opportunity to wage war against the cyborgs and robots in both the future and the present, as the game is split between both eras. The gameplay is objective based and is split up into different stages, where different allies will give you orders to accomplish. Players must achieve number of different objectives, which run the gamut from protecting a human from encroaching machines to simply finding and utilizing a keycard. Some of these missions have time constraints, although the vast majority of them do not.

While there are a great variety of missions to accomplish on any given stage, the core of most missions still remains to basically shoot enemies and stay alive, which, despite the admittedly good attempt at varying the gameplay, makes the title feel repetitive. There are opportunities to drive vehicles and weapons, but the gameplay mechanics don't change for these instances, making the change of pace seem like a poor attempt at diversity.

T3 uses a three/quarters perspective, allowing gamers to view the action from a skewed overhead view. The graphics are functional, but far from astounding. There are some nice effects, but they are recycled and quickly become commonplace. One nice but predictable effect is that damage is reflected on the protagonist. The more damage the Terminator receives, the less ?skin? he has covering him. In effect, he goes from looking (kind of) like Arnold to looking like the eerie cybernetic skeletal frame that inevitably comes out after the Terminator takes a beating.

The sound is also little more than adequate and the controls are fairly simple, although awkward at times. ?A? button fires the primary weapon, while ?B? fires the secondary weapon, which usually consists of melee attacks, C4, and grenades. The Left Trigger toggles between walk, run, and strafe modes, which is an awkward and seemingly unnecessary button arrangement. There are a good variety of weapons in the game, but, ridiculously enough, a good Terminator punch is more powerful than most of the weapons in the game, which defeats the excitement of discovering new weapons. The game is also pretty easy, with predictable enemy patterns and a surfeit of ammunition and powerups. There is rarely a reason for players to be concerned about conserving ammo or worrying where their next health replenishment is coming from.

Probably the biggest innovation that the game offers is the ability to toggle ?Terminator vision? with the select button. When players use the Terminator vision, the screen changes, as if seen through a red filter. The advantage to this mode is that Terminator's weapons become more powerful, presumably because Terminator can now see and exploit weak points in an enemy's defenses. Terminator can also see hidden power-ups and secrets using this mode. Although an interesting addition, Terminator vision quickly drains Terminator's energy, and can never be utilized for very long.

T3 also offers a multiplayer mode. The first mode allows gamers to battle against the machines alongside a friend. The other mode, a four-player ?capture the flag?, pits four players against each other to obtain flags from the other gamers. Although this is a good attempt at extending the experience, both modes are also flawed. The cooperative mode suffers from the same monotony of the single-player experience, while the ?Capture the Flag? game mode simply is too confusing and convoluted to be any real fun.

Bottom Line
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a fairly solid action title, although it does have a fairly long list of shortcomings. It's a mediocre title at best that offers a few moments of fun amidst constant and repetitive action. This title is best left to younger Terminator fans and to action lovers looking for a quick and shallow thrill.

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