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List of Terminator video games

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Beat em up
First-person shooter
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Third-person shooter
First releaseThe Terminator (DOS)
Latest releaseTerminator: Resistance

This list of Terminator video games includes video games based on the 1984 film The Terminator, a science fiction action film that has been followed by five sequels. Some of the games follow part of the plot of the films. The characters and related events are described, below, using in-universe tone.

Background plot

The first three films featured the concept of a "terminator", specifically the titular character, a virtually unstoppable cyborg assassin who is sent back from the year 2029 by a race of artificially intelligent, computer-controlled machines bent on the extermination of mankind. The Terminator's mission is to prevent Sarah Connor's son, John Connor, from forming a resistance against the machines. Rebel Kyle Reese tries to stop the Terminator. The first film became a pop-culture phenomenon, leading to various computer and video games. The games are either based directly on the movies or are heavily involved in the film series' expanded universe.

The Terminator (1984 film) games

Several video games titled The Terminator were released, each of them based on the 1984 film of the same name. By 1988, Danish company Robtek had acquired the license to create games based on the film, but it subsequently went into receivership before any game could be released.[1]

DOS version

The Terminator is a DOS action-adventure game based on the first movie. In September 1990, Bethesda Softworks announced a deal with the Hemdale Film Corporation to create computer video games based on The Terminator.[2] Bethesda Softworks developed and published the game in 1991.[3] It was the first officially licensed game based on the Terminator film series.[4]

NES version

A Terminator game for the NES platform had been in development since 1989. Sunsoft's game, Journey to Silius, was originally conceived as a game based on the original film. The license expired during production and the final game altered its graphics and created its own storyline.[5] An NES game was eventually developed and released in December 1992, it is a side-scrolling platformer developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Mindscape and Bethesda Softworks. The player plays as Kyle Reese, starting in the future, with a gun and grenades, fighting Terminators. The game consists of platforming and driving stages. The game was criticized for its poor graphics and audio, and for its extreme difficulty due to a lack of continues should the player lose all their lives.

Sega versions

This is a video game first released in 1992 based on the original 1984 film of the same name. It was coded by Probe Software and released by Virgin Games on all the Sega video game consoles available at the time; (Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, and Game Gear).

The Terminator by Probe Software is an action shooter game for the Mega Drive/Genesis programmed by David Perry and scored by Matt Furniss. The main character, Kyle Reese, traverses through levels that closely parallel the movie's environment. In all levels, the main character has a jump and has various weapons throughout the game. The first level takes place in the future, and the main character has hand grenades, timed bombs, and a machine gun as weapon choices. The later levels take place in modern settings, and the primary weapon is a shotgun only. The final level takes place inside the Cyberdyne factory, where the player battles the Terminator alone. The objective of this level is to lead the Terminator into a compactor which destroys him. Conversions of this same game were also developed by Probe for the Master System and Game Gear.

To create the character movements in the game, Perry and game producer Neil Young were recorded as they performed the moves. The footage was then digitized in black and white onto an Amiga computer. With the use of Deluxe Paint, the actors were separated from the backgrounds and colorized before being added into the game.[6]

The name in text on the scrolling intro, "Hemdale's The Terminator" (only in the Mega Drive/Genesis version) refers to the independent Hemdale Film Corporation, who produced the original movie. Once the studio closed, Orion Pictures became the owner of most of the films Hemdale had once owned.

Zero rated the Genesis version 84 out of 100.[7] Reviewers for Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the Genesis version for its graphics and music.[8] Mean Machines gave the Mega Drive/Genesis version a 43 percent rating, and said that the game featured "some of the best Megadrive animation ever, plus fitting and highly detailed backgrounds," as well as, "Some great tunes and effects, but there are a few crappy ones there too." The magazine also criticized the game's "Four short levels which take no time to complete. After that, there's nothing to hold your interest."[9] Mean Machines gave the Sega Master System version an 82 percent rating, praised its graphics and animation, and called it, "A top-notch platform shoot 'em up which is slightly spoiled by being just a mite too short."[10]

Mega-CD/Sega CD version

Another game coded by Virgin Games USA was developed and released by Virgin for the Mega-CD/Sega CD.[11] The game was originally scheduled for release in June 1993,[12][13] but was delayed because of changes at Virgin.[14]

The graphics and music took advantage of the Sega CD's capabilities, and the game includes the use of full motion video (FMV) from the film.[15] The game's development was based on the David Perry engine. The musical score was done by Tommy Tallarico, Bijan Shaheer, Joey Kuras, and TeknoMan, and the music is generated in Q Sound.[citation needed] The game is based on the film, but creative license was taken to give more variation in the gameplay.[15] As in the film, future soldier Kyle Reese goes through the Time Displacement equipment located inside a Skynet base in the year 2029 AD, traveling back in time to Los Angeles 1984 to protect Sarah Connor from the Terminator.

GameFan called it a "great" action game that made "good use of the CD with its extra animation, FMV, and great soundtrack."[14] Game Players rated the game 62 percent and called it an average platform game, but praised the soundtrack and digitized cut scenes.[16]

Shawn Sackenheim of AllGame gave the Sega CD version four stars out of five and wrote, "The graphics always stay pretty bleak, this time from design and not from the system's limitations. Even in the neon lit dance club, TechNoir, the backgrounds remain dark, lit only by the bars of neon lights around the level. [...]. The dark and dreary graphics actually lend themselves nicely to the mood of the game." Sackenheim also praised Tallarico's score, saying that it added "a ton to the impact of the graphics and the mood of each level." Sackenheim concluded, "While it may not have been the best looking action/platformer around, it could definitely give any other game a run for its money."[11]

SNES version

The SNES version is a side-scrolling shooter developed by Gray Matter and published by Mindscape in 1993 for the Super NES. The player plays as Kyle Reese trying to stop the Terminator from killing Sarah Connor. The main levels are side-scrolling shooters, the two sub-levels are pseudo-driving levels, where the player has to shoot the Terminator to stop him from shooting back. The game is very difficult, due to the length of the levels and the fact that the player gets no continues if they lose all lives. There is minimal music in the game, as the sound effects tend to be much louder.

Reviewers for GameFan were critical of the game but praised its driving levels.[17]

Mobile game

A shoot 'em up developed by In-Fusio and Cybiko. It was released by In-Fusio in 2003 for the Mobile phone platforms BREW, ExEn and Java ME.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991 film) games

Several video games based on Terminator 2: Judgment Day were released between 1991 and 1993.

Arcade game

Terminator 2: Judgment Day or T2 is a gun shooting video game based on the film of the same name, produced by Midway Manufacturing Company for the arcades in 1991.

T2: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (8-bit version)

An Action/Adventure, platformer, shooter, beat 'em up that was released on NES and then ported to Sega Game Gear and Master System. Developed by Software Creations and published by LJN on NES and by Flying Edge on Sega systems. It is based on the film of the same name.

The game consists of five levels. Level 2 is an isometric racing game, whereupon the player must race fast enough to catch John Conner on his moped whilst using weapons to beat back the T-1000, who is fast approaching in a tractor trailer. All the other levels are side-scrolling platform, shooters/beat 'em ups. Level 2 is omitted from the Master System and Game Gear versions. From Level 3 onward, the player is not allowed to kill human enemies, to which he will be rewarded with upgraded weaponry at the end of levels for doing so. Level 4 requires the player to visit all ends of the gamescreen in order to collect and set explosive charges. Level 5 has the player doing some platforming, before finally taking on the T-1000 in the final battle.

Paul Rand of Computer and Video Games rated the NES version 84 percent,[18] and Total! rated it 74 percent.[19]

T2: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Game Boy)

The Game Boy version is an action-adventure game developed by Bits Studios and published by LJN. It was released for the Game Boy in 1991. It is based on the film of the same name.

Total! rated the game 80 percent,[20] while Zero rated it 90 out of 100.[21]

Computer game

An action game with side-scrolling and top-down perspective levels that was published by Ocean Software and developed by Dementia. The game was released in 1991 for the Amiga,[22] Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, and ZX Spectrum. Each version features very similar levels.

Pinball game

A pinball game designed by Steve Ritchie and released by Williams Electronics in 1991. A follow-up to this game is Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, featuring a very similar playfield design and rulesheet.

T2: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (16-bit version)

An action-adventure game developed by Bits Studios for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Super NES. Both versions were released in 1993; the Genesis version was published by Flying Edge, while the Super NES version was published by LJN. It is based on the film of the same name.[23][24]

One plays as the T-800 sent back in time to 1995, in order to protect John and Sarah Connor from the T-1000. There are two gameplay types: side-scrolling and driving. During the side-scrolling levels, the player's objective is to locate and retrieve all future objects, which are gray boxes with a flashing light on top, that, when broken open, look like endoskulls. The player must complete all objectives for that mission. Once all objectives are completed, the player goes back to the beginning of the level to finish the mission. Between the side-scrolling levels are the driving levels. During the driving levels, the player's objective is to drive to the next mission location by following compass directions, while avoiding pursuers.

In the side-scrolling levels, the T-800 has 100% health to begin with, but gets 50% health from the secondary power supply if its health drops to 0%. If the secondary power supply drops to 0%, the T-800 dies and the game ends. In the driving levels, the T-800 has 100% vehicular health, but the game ends if the health reaches 0%.

Starting with Level 3, the T-1000 will appear (or Level 2 if the alarm is tripped or too much time is spent there). The T-1000 attacks using a pistol and arms morphed into stabbing weapons. The T-1000 will mold back into shape if shot, but it will be temporarily incapacitated if it suffers enough damage. The T-1000 does not appear in level 6.

The T-800 must also protect John Connor starting with Level 3, and Sarah Connor starting with Level 4. If either one loses all of their health, they will start dying, and the T-800 must heal them by ducking down over them and transferring some of its health to them. If they are left alone for too long, they die, and the game ends. However, Sarah Connor wields a pistol for extra defense. Neither one appears in levels 5 or 6.

Both versions have different musical instrumentation, different sound effects, and some minor graphical and control differences, but are otherwise identical.

Ross Chamberlain of Electronic Games rated the SNES version 86 percent.[25] Brett Alan Weiss of AllGame gave the Super NES version one and a half stars and said the game was on his list of least favorite 16-bit film-based games. Weiss said, "Although it's pretty easy to figure out given a little time, it's not always readily apparent exactly where you're supposed to go or in what order you must do things within each level. Another thing I can say about this game that doesn't sound completely incendiary is that it does a reasonably good job of following the storyline. Oh, and the music's not too bad, either. It can get a little repetitive, and it may grate on some people's nerves after a while, but it rocks pretty hard, as music in a game of this type should." Weiss also said, "Large areas of blank space (such as the blue backgrounds on level one and the brown walls in level four) hurt this game's visual appeal tremendously, and it's not that great looking to begin with."[24]

Weiss gave the Genesis version one star out of five and wrote, "T2: Judgment Day for the Genesis is a truly wretched gaming experience. [...]. It does follow the storyline reasonably well, and you may be interested in playing the game through once, just to see what there is to see, but you won't have a good time doing it. [...]. The graphics are barren in many places and ugly in most others. The sound effects are limp, and the music is in-your-face annoying. The controls are awful. The punching and kicking in this game is less convincing than that of most bad 8-bit games." Weiss said the Super NES version "is superior in every way. While still a lousy game, it has better graphics, music, and sound effects."[23] In both reviews, Weiss negatively compared the game to Last Action Hero and Lethal Weapon.[23][24]

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Chess Wars

A chess game developed by IntraCorp and published by Capstone Software for DOS platforms in 1993. Its working title was Terminator 2 - Cyber Chess.[26] In this game, characters from Terminator 2: Judgment Day act as chess pieces. White is the "human" side, with the T-800 as king, Sarah Connor as queen, two John Connors as bishops, two Miles Dysons as knights, and soldiers in green uniforms as rooks and pawns. Black is the "machines" side: grey-colored robots with metal skeletons, without the T-1000. The pieces are not taken on the chess board but in futuristic battlefield settings resembling the scenes of the man-machine war from the movie.

The player can choose from several game types and difficulty settings. The game rates the player in accordance with the United States Chess Federation scale.

Computer Gaming World stated in 1994 that Chess Wars was one of "a host of imitations and look-alikes" of Battle Chess. The magazine reported that it crashed so often that the chess engine could not be evaluated because no game was completed, the SVGA graphics were "unimpressive", transitioning between the board and battles was "painfully slow" and the pieces were poorly animated, and falsely claimed to have 4500 chess openings when it lacked an opening library. Computer Gaming World concluded that T2 Chess Wars and Star Wars Chess "are examples of marketing at its best (or worst, depending on your point of view)".[27]

Slot game

Developed by Isle of Man-based betting software developer Microgaming and released in June 2014, this video slot game is a 5-reel online slot machine with a free spins bonus feature and a T-1000 theme. Microgaming CEO Roger Raatgever said, "We've taken the core elements of the iconic Terminator 2 film to create an online slot that does the brand justice. Visually it is stunning and it has a fitting game mechanic that is completely unique to the online gaming market. Our operators and their players will be awestruck by our creation; we are incredibly excited about the game launch today."[28]

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003 film) games

Several games are based on Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The first game, titled after the film, was released in 2003. It is a first-person shooter game with elements of hand-to-hand combat in the third-person perspective. It was developed by Black Ops and published by Atari, Inc. for PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

Another first-person shooter game, Terminator 3: War of the Machines, was also released in 2003, for Microsoft Windows. In 2004, Terminator 3: The Redemption was released for several consoles.

Pinball game

A pinball game manufactured by Stern Pinball for release in 2003. It is based on the movie of the same name.

This game marked Steve Ritchie's return to pinball, following 1995's No Fear: Dangerous Sports.

The playfield design is similar to the Terminator 2: Judgment Day pinball game, with the exception of the ball cannon on the right side, which is replaced by the RPG minigame in the backbox.

Arnold Schwarzenegger provided voices for the game.

The purpose in the game is to light the following features to engage in a "Final Battle" (the wizard mode) with the T-X:

  • Super Jackpot: Earn Super Jackpot during regular multiball.
  • RPG: Complete all three RPG modes.
  • Assault: Receive all command center awards to access "Assault", a four-ball multiball mode.
  • Max Escape: Shoot the right orbit until collecting the maximum escape value.
  • Payback Time: Reach the maximum security level by alternatively shooting the left and right ramp, until both ramps are maxed out, and "Payback Time" starts.

Terminator Salvation (2009 film) games

A third-person shooter action game titled Terminator Salvation, based on the film of the same name, was released in 2009.

An arcade game based on the film, developed by Play Mechanix and published by Raw Thrills, was released in 2010.[29] It is a light gun game featuring next-generation graphics. Two players can cooperate simultaneously using machine gun-styled light guns to blast terminators, drones, and other enemies while pushing a button on the magazine well of the gun in order to reload.

Terminator Genisys (2015 film) games

For the 2015 film Terminator Genisys, two video games were released. Terminator Genisys: Guardian is a mobile game developed and published by Glu Games, and released in 2015. It is a free-to-play third-person shooter with micro-transactions that include new characters and weapons.

Terminator Genisys: Future War is a mobile MMOstrategy video game created by Plarium in cooperation with Skydance Media. It was released in 2017.

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019 film) game

Terminator: Dark Fate – The Game is an MMO strategy video game developed by Firefly Games and the China-based Camel Games for Android and iOS. It is based on the 2019 film of the same name. Firefly Games began working on the game in 2017, after being contacted by the film's production company, Skydance Media.[30] The game was released on October 18, 2019,[31] and a global release occurred on November 8, 2019.[32]

In the game, the player commands a group of Resistance fighters who must defend against machine attacks. The player can expand the group's Resistance base and can also form alliances with other players. The player is guided by characters from the film. The game is free-to-play but utilizes in-app purchases in exchange for various resources.[30]

Non-film based games

The Terminator 2029

A DOS action-adventure game developed and published by Bethesda Softworks in 1992. Based on the film series the player assumes the role of a member of John Connor's Special Operations Group. The objective of the game is to destroy Skynet. Although the game is played from a first-person perspective, gameplay is restricted to four directions as turning spins the player around by 90 degrees.

The Deluxe CD Edition of The Terminator 2029 includes the original game along with the Operation Scour expansion pack, giving a total of 34 missions. This edition also includes 330MB of additional mission briefings and character speech, as well as featuring new gameplay music.

Computer Gaming World liked the graphics and gameplay, but stated that "along about the 1,000th destroyed target (and twentieth maze) …" the game "ceased to be totally engrossing, and began to feel like a glorified shooting gallery".[33] In 1996, T. Liam McDonald of PC Gamer called it a "frustrating, often impossibly difficult game" with a confusing mouse and keyboard control interface.[34]

Other games

Several other games based on the franchise have been released since 1993.


  1. ^ "Pics, Pecs & Pixels". The One. March 1989. p. 101. Danish software house cum hardware manufacturer Robtek acquired the licence to interpret Terminator and Terminator II over a year ago, but sadly went into receivership before anything saw the light of day.
  2. ^ Kevelson, Morton A. (September 1990). "Show Reports: Games". .info. p. 61. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Terminator for DOS (1991)". MobyGames. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Threadgill, Todd (November 1991). "The Terminator: Robot Rampage in L.A." Computer Gaming World. pp. 118–119. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "Pak Watch - Terminator". Nintendo Power. Vol. 7. July–August 1989. p. 86.
  6. ^ Rand, Paul (February 1992). "Special Preview: The Terminator". Computer and Video Games. pp. 26–27.
  7. ^ "Terminator". Zero. July 1992. pp. 26–27.
  8. ^ "The Terminator (Genesis)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. March 1992. p. 28. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Terminator (Megadrive) review" (PDF). Mean Machines. June 1992. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "The Terminator (Sega Master System) review" (PDF). Mean Machines. June 1992. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Sackenheim, Shawn. "The Terminator (Sega CD) Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "The Terminator (Sega CD preview)". GameFan. April 1993. pp. 18–19. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "The Terminator (Sega CD preview)". GameFan. May 1993. p. 34. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "The Terminator (Sega CD review)". GameFan. February 1994. pp. 42–43. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Terminator CD". Sega Power. United Kingdom. July 1993. pp. 16–17.
  16. ^ "The Terminator (Sega CD)". Game Players. May 1994. p. 124. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  17. ^ "The Terminator (SNES)". GameFan. April 1993. pp. 15, 48. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Rand, Paul (February 1992). "Special Preview: Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Computer and Video Games. p. 28.
  19. ^ "Terminator 2". Total. March 1992. pp. 16–17.
  20. ^ "Terminator 2". Total. March 1992. pp. 54–55.
  21. ^ "Terminator 2". Zero. July 1992. pp. 78–79.
  22. ^ Campbell, Colin (October 1991). "Terminator 2 review". Amiga Power. pp. 26–27. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  23. ^ a b c Weiss, Brett Alan. "T2: Judgment Day (Genesis) Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 16, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Weiss, Brett Alan. "T2: Judgment Day (Super NES) Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 17, 2014.
  25. ^ Chamberlain, Ross (September 1993). "T2: Judgment Day". Electronic Games. p. 62.
  26. ^ "PC Zone Magazine". PC Zone. No. 1. April 1993. p. 11. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  27. ^ Kee, Jay (March 1994). "Darth Vader vs. The Terminator". Computer Gaming World. pp. 90–94.
  28. ^ "Microgaming's Terminator 2 Slot Goes Live". June 4, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  29. ^ "Terminator Salvation". Raw Thrills. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  30. ^ a b Takahashi, Dean (September 27, 2019). "Terminator: Dark Fate The Game coming to mobile from Skydance and Firefly Games". VentureBeat. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  31. ^ "Terminator: Dark Fate". Firefly Games. October 18, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  32. ^ "Terminator: Dark Fate, the mobile game, is now available globally!". Terminator Dark Fate Game. Twitter. November 8, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  33. ^ Goble, Gordon (June 1993). ""Terminator 2029" from Bethesda Softworks". Computer Gaming World. p. 116. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  34. ^ McDonald, T. Liam (April 1996). "Terminator: Future Shock". PC Gamer. pp. 99–100.

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