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Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Action

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Xbox Review - 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines'

by Jordan Van Nest on Dec. 11, 2003 @ 12:43 a.m. PST

Genre: Action
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Black Ops
Release Date: November 11, 2003

Buy 'TERMINATOR 3: Rise of the Machines':
Xbox | Game Boy Advance | PlayStation 2

"Hasta La Vista Baby." With these words, a hero was born. A hero that would immediately redefine the entire Sci Fi genre, and make a mark in history. The story of future warfare, time travel, and brute strength, quickly caught the attention of all people worldwide. In a way, the story seemed to play on a subtle fear that all mankind possesses-the fear of invasion. Set in the doomsday future as well as the past, the movie succeeded in creating an epic story that would last for generations. The movie was so successful as a matter of fact, that production on a second Terminator movie began. Failing to disappoint, the movie burst onto the scenes in full force, adding a few plot twists to further spice the storyline. Many consider the Terminator series to be a classic, so it is with no surprise that a game was finally created to try and recreate the Terminator atmosphere. Following the third movie fairly closely, the game sets out to fill in the holes in the storyline, while still telling the main story. The idea was to create a game such as the Matrix which supports the movie, rather than re-telling it. So does Terminator 3 meet the standard quality of "Terminator Excellence" set forth by the movies? I set out to find the answer.

The first question I had was fairly obvious. Actually, it was more of a fear. I feared that perhaps this game might be like all of the other movie-licensed games which have come out recently. These games are notorious for sticking to the plot of the movie, and basically retelling the events that everyone has already seen in the theatres. And what's worse is that they are usually lacking in areas such as game play or graphics. It's not surprising that many of these games bomb when it comes to gamer's opinions. However, every once in a while a game comes along that manages to bypass this stereotype and actually adds to the experience of the movie. Though such an occasion is rare, it occasionally does happen, which lead me to wondering about T3.

After popping this game in, I was immediately impressed by the amount of features available. For instance there are behind the scenes segments, clips from the video and much much more all accessible from the special features menu. This is definitlely a plus, especially if you were a big fan of the movie. As I played the game, I began to notice many positive things about it, but many negative things as well. I liked the controls in T3. Everything was easy to learn and I didn't have to fumble around, worrying about whether I could blast the nearest enemy trooper in time. Everything came naturally and I think that added to the feel of the overall game, making it seem like you really are the terminator. Originally the game starts out in the future, as you must slowly make your way to the time displacement chamber(where the movie begins) so that you may complete your primary objective- to insure the survival of John Conner. Along the way, you will be sent on various missions to help fight against the machines. These missions range from destruction to rendezvousing with nearby troops. This is where my first complaint comes in. While the scenery is very nice, and at first the sight of a smoking, toppled L.A city is very intriguing, it gets old fast. I think the first part of the story was just dragged out too long. It seems like basically the first half of the game (if not more) is spent in the future, battling enemy machine troops as you make your way to the time-displacement chamber. In my opinion too much time was spent on this, as the most time should be spent on completing your primary objective- to insure the survival of John Conner.

However, I do understand why the development team chose to put more of this material in- they wanted to reinforce the movie by creating material that was not included in the movie, that would help to explain the storyline a little better. That said, I do not think this was effective, instead of supporting the storyline, it only added to the downfall of this game. And to make matters worse, the second half of this game is not much better. After introducing this new material, I guess the development team thought they could get away with following the movie for the rest of the way. Well, they tried- and they failed. Once you travel back to the past, the game just basically copies the exact storyline, down to the script, making the rest of the game very predictable, and in most cases, boring. In fact, the game even uses direct clips from the movie to explain the storyline. So basically this game is structured around the exact situations of the movie. While it is cool to take control of the Terminator and basically "play" through the movie, it gets fairly tiring. This is what I thought was one of the main problems of this game. This game is extremely predictable for anyone who has seen the movie, and just does not have a lot of replayability. There were a few pluses to this game however. I liked the various guns that were available; I thought they were well done.

They seemed to stay true to the movie, and the rest of the game seemed to be accurate as well. While it was accurate, this does not mean it was necessarily exciting. Don't get me wrong, I did find parts of this game which were enjoyable. However, on a whole, this game is certainly lacking many elements. As I said before, I was very disappointed with the exact following of the script. In many cases, part of the story would not even be explained, and the game would just assume that you had seen the movie and knew what they were talking about. This also brings us to the issue of the fighting system in T3. Apart from the first person shooter mode that most of the game is based in, there is also a two person fighting mode where you will have to fight your female nemesis from time to time. While the idea sounds like it could be a refreshing change of pace away from the constant battling in first person mode, this is definitely not the case. The fighting system consists of four actions- punch, kick, block, and throw. While obviously not the most complex system around, this really does lower the quality of certain parts of the game. These constant fight sequences begin to get tiring, especially as they get harder. Overall, I think the game play could seriously use some work. While the controls are all nice, the actual substance of the game just does not meet up to standard.

Graphically, this game was not bad. I especially liked the cut scenes during the first half of the game. Since there was no film from the movie to put in during the first half, the development team created many animations which blend the various missions together. I thought they were done very well, and remember thinking several times about how good the graphics were during them. The graphics of the surrounding world are also fairly good. Downtown L.A. actually looks like downtown L.A…if it had been destroyed by a machine army of course. Most everything in this game looks very real, but I was disappointed with the amount of film they used from the movie. Instead, more animations should have been created to blend the movie and game world together. Overall however, I believe T3's graphics are its strong point.

I had a few different thoughts on the sound of T3. For one, most of the sound was fairly good. The sounds that were inserted during animations and cutscenes for example were done nicely and I thought they really added to the effect that was trying to be achieved. However, it becomes obvious during the game that most of the Terminator's phrases have been taken directly from the movie and inserted in. Phrases such as "Come with me if you want live", which held a lot of meaning in the movies, now is thrown in at random times when you save someone. I just thought this didn't really sound right, and in some cases didn't really make sense. It almost seemed as if they used existing quotes just to save time. I thought that was definitely a negative in the sound department, but probably something that will not bother too many people. All in all, the sound of T3 was not bad.

T3 was definitely a game with high expectations towards it. After a hit movie had just been released, the developers knew that they would need to top it in quality. Sadly, this game just fails to top the movie. However, for fans of the Terminator, this will probably be a game that you still want to check out. The extra features are another reason to rent this game and, if you're really into it, buy it. While it didn't manage to top the movie, T3 is still a game which is worthy of attention.

Score : 6.5/10


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