It's not a tumour...
"I'm the Governator. Vote
1 for apocalypse..."
For a while there, one
could have been forgiven for thinking the ever-faithful Terminator
franchise was beginning to flat line.
With the less-than-critically-acclaimed Terminator
3 movie heading straight to DVD almost immediately following
cinematic release, and the life-threateningly appalling videogame
spin-off of the same name liquefying cerebral cortexi everywhere,
things were most definitely looking grim for Arnold and Co.
So it is with relief that we view Terminator 3: Redemption, the
first half-decent Terminator game since Bethesda's Future Shock
first-person shooters, made nearly a decade previous.
Taking on the role of a T-800 killer robot, one must fight one's
way through a war-torn future landscape and go back in time to prevent,
once again, John Connor's assassination, in this case by a chesty
model-turned-robot who could quite possibly knot your arms behind
your back faster than you can say 'third-degree retroassociative
Playing out a mixture of various scenes from the third movie and
some new future levels, and interspersed with not-really-all-that-impressive
CGI footage crafted especially for the game, Redemption is, in essence,
a no-brainer shoot-em-up.
Surprisingly, it stays entertaining for a quite significant amount
of time, not thanks to innovative gameplay or amazing eye-candy
(though it is occasionally quite impressive), but rather the frenetic
nature of the action on offer.
The particle effects are nice,
as are the cult
one-liners "You can't handle da troooth!!"
Every level is essentially divided into two sections, on-foot and
vehicular combat. In the beginning of each level, you wander about
and dispose of Skynet lackeys with either your trusty assault rifle
or a snappily deployed clenched fist.
Playing with the various buttons at one's disposal allows you to
perform combos, and on occasion you can take to the masses with
various bits of level-strewn paraphernalia.
A big crowd-pleaser is seeing Ahnuld meting out swift and final
justice with the sharp end of a broken street sign.
Towards the end of a level, you commandeer some type of armoured
transportation and race towards an inevitable boss fight, gunning
down or running over everything in your way, batting away insistent
androids from the chassis with the occasional button press.
In all honesty, the vehicles in Redemption are one of the real
highlights of the game; from Virtua Cop-esque on-rails helicopter
rides to wheeling about blasted cityscapes in the tray of a supercharged
4x4 utility, with the choice to leap onto and annex other vehicles
if and when the opportunity presents itself. The handling is so
fun and the pace so fast you won't want to stop playing for fear
of contracting whiplash.
Unfortunately, as good as the automotive sections of the game are,
it's impossible not to notice the repetition present in Redemption.
Levels follow the same slapdash formula over and over, and the novelty
of being the Terminator wears off fast, lasting, at best, three
or four missions before giving up the ghost entirely. There are
only so many robots you're willing to kill before things get old.
Vehicular combat is fast-paced
and good fun
Which is where the pretty graphics come in. Modelled and textured
with great care, Redemption can be pretty impressive on the Xbox
(and even on the ageing PS2), and nowhere more so than in the detailed
With a damage model that slowly but surely reveals the stainless
steel endoskeleton beneath it's Austrian exterior, a fair few polygons
and some very nice animations (particularly for the many and various
hand-to-hand combos), the level of work put in is far superior to
that seen in most non-franchise videogames, which is strange.
Unfortunately, the explosions (arguably the most important part
of any self-respecting action epic) in T3: Redemption are particularly
dodgy-looking, and as such offset all the abovementioned good work,
along with an Arnie-soundalike voice actor (Mark Mosley) called
in to replace, in the lead role, everyone's favourite Governor.
While it's a good impression, I'm afraid it's just not the same.
Once you get over the regrettably short-lived single player campaign
and the prettiness of the character models, there's only one thing
left, and that's multiplayer - in this case split-screen co-op.
Which, I must admit, sounds quite cool on paper but fails masterfully
to live up to it's promise.
Instead it delivers a particularly lazy two player on-rails shooter
where trying to tell the enemies apart from the good guys requires
superhuman vision, and more than five minutes of continuous play
leads to your brain leaking out your ear. You'd probably get more
kick from sticking a fork into an electrical socket. Definitely
more kick, come to think of it.
Still, better than the movie upon which it is based in many ways
(thank God), and in oh-so-many-ways a cut above its videogame predecessor,
Terminator 3: Redemption is a good rental and maybe even a good
buy when the price is right. Finally, Terminator fans have something
to smile about.
Game: Terminator 3: Redemption
Terminator 3: Redemption is on the shelves now.