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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
3.3
Visuals
3.5
Audio
5.0
Gameplay
4.0
Features
3.0
Replay
2.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
Atari
DEVELOPER:
Black Ops Entertainment
GENRE: First Person Shooter
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
November 11, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Terminator 3: The Redemption

Terminator 3: The Redemption

More in this Series
 Written by John Scalzo  on January 14, 2004

Full Review: Lending your voice to a game this bad should be an impeachable offense


When I was offered a copy of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines to review, I jokingly said it couldn't be any worse than last year's Dawn of Fate. I was wrong. Terminator 3 is easily one of the worst games I have ever played and more proof that licensed games are complete and utter crap ninety-nine percent of the time. That sucking sound you hear coming from the back of your TV is not your PS2 overheating. It is actually this game slowly depleting your brain cells and making you dumber as you play it. You have been warned.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is Atari's second big "tie-in" game of 2003. Rather than shoot new scenes like they did with Enter the Matrix, Atari employed Arnold Scwharzanegger's voice and likeness for Terminator 3. Atari crowed that this is the first time Ah-nuld has ever lent his voice and likeness to a video game. Maybe he should have held out longer for a better game because Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines isn't just bad, it shipped broken.

Terminator 3 is a standard first person shooter and right off the bat you know things are wrong with the strange control scheme Atari used. Movement and strafing is done with the left stick and turning and looking is performed with the right stick. It's an awkward scheme that takes a long time to get the hang of and Atari felt it wasn't necessary to include the more traditional scheme of movement and turning with the left stick and looking and strafing with the right like almost all console FPSs use.

But that's just frustrating, the broken part is the game's lock-on system. Tapping L1 will lock-on to the enemy closest to the crosshairs and tapping L1 again is supposed to change who the locked on enemy is, but it doesn't. The lock-on will almost always go back to the same enemy you are trying to take it off of because it's the closest one to the crosshair. Targeting flying enemies is even worse. Attempting to target one as they zip across the screen will only make the camera swing wildly in every direction until eventually you're facing the ceiling and getting shot at from all sides. The same goes for rooms with a lot of ground Terminators as well. The game makes you aim for everything and hit nothing.

Then there's the terrible technical glitches that could easily have been fixed. Staying with the wonderful lock-on system, it's a joke. More precisely, the hit detection is a joke. Often times, if you're not exactly locked on to an enemy, nothing will hit. The crosshair could be right between their beady red LED robot eyes and the bullets just whiz past. The game also has serious clipping issues. Enemies are able to shoot through solid walls and you're able to walk through other walls.

Switching weapons was also set up to make it much more difficult to use than it should be. Switching weapons is done in real time with the circle and triangle buttons, at least it attempts to. Scrolling through the weapon list with the buttons is slow, too slow for weapon changes in the middle of a firefight. Worst of all is when you try to scroll past a weapon and it's pulled up on screen taking even more time to get to the weapon you want. Between this and the horrible lock-on camera, you'll constantly be reduced to a smoldering T-101 and it's not even your fault.

The game's missions are simple and straightforward, usually of the "destroy this big tank", "find this room" or "rendezvous with this unit" variety. Once you travel to the past it becomes protect John Connor (which are very frustrating because John doesn't move out of harm's way, ever). The missions are also often short. They're over very quickly and the shortest one was actually just running to the end of a hall after taking out a wave of Terminators. Most are longer, but never really stray from the get from point A to point B without dying except for the hand to hand missions. A quick history lesson: Terminator 3 is built on the Fugitive Hunter engine. You may have heard of Fugitive Hunter, it's the game that ends with a fistfight with Osama bin Laden. Rather than waste this vital gameplay mechanic, Atari decreed that T3 has several fistfights spread out through the game. All but one are with the T-X, but the fights are never interesting. They're just a stale button masher diversion that compares pretty closely to the fighting engine you'd see in a hockey game. In other words: tacked on.

For all the hoopla over Ah-nuld lending his voice to The Terminator for the first time, he doesn't say much. A few choice phrases here and there, but otherwise I'm unimpressed. What did impress me was the incredible opening FMV movie that proves that with the right people behind it, a CG Terminator "movie" detailing the future war could be amazing. To continue to tie-in the game to the movie, Atari employed the use of actual movie footage, especially the escape from the Animal Hospital and the trip through the desert. It fits in OK, but I wanted more of the CG.

But of course I wanted more of the CG, the in game graphics are bland and have very little detail. In the future everything has the same gray look. The past isn't much better as most of the past "missions" are just fistfights with the T-X. The graphics almost look like they could have been pulled off on the PSone. The endoskeletons and flying HKs come off as gray blobs with familiar shapes and the explosion effects and gunfire are grainy and look ridiculous. This is unacceptable for a PS2 game in 2003. Especially one that was considered a "major release" by Atari. Although seeing the Arnie's "skin" peel away as the forces of SkyNet blast away at him is very cool and appropriate.

Finally, any game that has The Terminator throwing grenades like a girl (read: dropping them at his feet) is just wrong. No good can come of it.

Bottom Line
How the combined efforts between Black Ops Entertainment, Shiny, and several Atari development houses could create this is inconceivable. It's a sad day when the one level demo for Terminator 3: Redemption that is included with Rise of the Machines is better than the full game Atari expects people to buy. When video game release dates are made to coincide with DVD release dates, that is a sign the game is going to be worthless. Stay far far away from this piece of crap, it gives new meaning to the "licensed game curse."


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