The Terminator: Future Shock
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|The Terminator: Future Shock|
US cover art
The Terminator: Future Shock is a first-person shooter computer game, based in the fictional Terminator universe. It was released by Bethesda Softworks in 1995. It was one of the first games in the first-person shooter genre to feature true, fully texture-mapped 3D environments and enemies, and pioneered the use of mouse-look control, months before the release of Quake further popularized these conventions.
Along with the usual information and credits, the game manual comes with many illustrations, including an artist's image of the game design team dressed corresponding to some of their personality traits and pet projects, such as designer Robert Stoll sporting his prototype Gauss gun.
Future Shock is played in the first person perspective at all times. Each level in the game requires the player to solve a number of objectives before continuing to the next level, while fighting enemy robots with a wide variety of guns and grenades. Another obstacle in each level is the harsh terrain, as many areas contain too much radiation for the player character to remain alive. The terrain is navigated in three ways, 'on foot', in a jeep with a mounted cannon, or in a HK fighter (an aerial combat robot).
In The Terminator: Future Shock, the story begins in 2015 with the player's character escaping from an extermination camp with the help of the resistance. Once the player fully escapes during the first mission the character is introduced to John Connor, the leader of the resistance and a young Kyle Reese. After completing several missions for the resistance, the resistance HQ is infiltrated and attacked by T800 model Terminators. After assisting Connor and the rest of the leadership in relocating to a new HQ, the player begins to experience phenomenon in the form of enemies 'spawning' seemingly randomly on screen. It soon transpires that Skynet has perfected time displacement and as a result of the success of the player's endeavors, its future self is actively manipulating time by placing its forces in key strategic locations in an attempt to thwart successful resistance maneuvers. The resistance learn that Skynet is using time displacement to transmit information to itself in 1995 in an attempt to increase the speed at which it will become sentient. The player is ultimately sent on a mission to stop this process but must battle time as the resistance HQ is besieged and Kyle Reese and Connor himself are seriously wounded.
Contrary to the timeline specified in Terminator 2, Future Shock depicts 1995 as the beginning of the nuclear war, not 1997. Throughout the game the player is surrounded by a post-apocalyptic environment. All around is death and decay, scattered with pockets of deadly fallout and the remnants of a shattered society.
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Tal Blevins of GameSpot wrote, "The game world itself is well thought-out; you can enter nearly every building to search for weapons, ammo, and med canisters as the familiar adrenaline-pumping Terminator soundtrack echoes in the background. [...] The graphics, music, and sound effects are superb. [...] Looks aside, the real beauty of Terminator: Future Shock is its smooth control system."
Phil Bedard of Computer Games Magazine compared the game to Doom, "but with some things thrown in that make it different." Bedard praised the music and stereo sound effects, but wished the game had been done in high resolution. He criticized the difficult character controls, occasionally slow gameplay caused by a large amount of objects in the game, and the lack of network play.
A reviewer for Next Generation said the game "is impressive in its ability to immerse the player into the post-apocalypse world of 'Terminator'" and sets itself apart from other first-person shooters with its freedom of exploration and destruction, but is ultimately "more frustrating than fun." He explained that the freedom of movement necessitates complex controls which are difficult to adjust to and require the player to routinely move their hand back-and-forth from the movement keys. He also found that the dark color palette makes it hard to see enemies.
A reviewer for Maximum called it "a slick, professional blaster that sets new standards in the movie to game license wars". He cited the "tangible and involving" environments, the varied mission objectives, the player controlled vehicles, the storyline, the mouse look control, and the variety of weapons, and said that the game's only weakness is the lack of multiplayer.
- Logan Booker, The Genesis of a Genre, Atomic: Maximum Power Computing issue 46, November 2004, p.47
- Blevins, Tal (May 28, 1996). "The Terminator: Future Shock Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Bedard, Phil (December 17, 1997). "Terminator: Future Shock review". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on May 24, 2003.
- "Maximum Reviews: Terminator: Future Shock". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (5): 161. April 1996.
- "Terminator: Future Shock". Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. p. 95.