The Terminator: Future Shock

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The Terminator: Future Shock
The Terminator: Future Shock
US cover art
Developer(s) Bethesda Softworks
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks
Engine XnGine
Platform(s) DOS
Release date(s)
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

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 is notable for being 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,[1] 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.


Shooting an enemy

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).

Future Shock has no multiplayer component. A multiplayer feature was finally available in the sequel, The Terminator: SkyNET, which featured a deathmatch mode.


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.


Tal Blevins of GameSpot gave the game an 8.4 rating and 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."[2]

Phil Bedard of Computer Games Magazine gave the game three stars out of five and compared it to Doom, "but with some things thrown in that make it different." Bedard praised the game's music and stereo sound effects, but wished the game had been done in high resolution. Bedard criticized the difficult character controls, and occasionally slow gameplay caused by a large amount of objects in the game. Bedard called the lack of network play "the biggest turnoff of the game. I'm not sure why they wouldn't make it without network play but they did. This will be a big thumbs down for a lot of gamers out there. The game would be awesome as a network play due to the terrain which consists of valleys and mountains, and multiple obstacles to hide behind. Also the fact that it is a wide open area with no enclosed walls at all would make it lots of fun, there would be almost no cornering of people at all. Anyways, it's not there."[3]


  1. ^ Logan Booker, The Genesis of a Genre, Atomic: Maximum Power Computing issue 46, November 2004, p.47
  2. ^ Blevins, Tal (May 28, 1996). "The Terminator: Future Shock Review". GameSpot. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ Bedard, Phil (December 17, 1997). "Terminator: Future Shock review". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on May 24, 2003. 

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