Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Right now, your Master System is your pal. However, the people of the future have a somewhat different outlook on things electronic. This is because of a computer revolution engineered by Skynet, the super-whizzo defence mainframe. The ensuing war all but wiped out the human race, but one man, John Connor, turned the tide of battle and saved everyone. In the final hour, Skynet has launched a desperate bid for victory by sending a rock-hard Cyberdyne series 101 cyborg back in time to prevent John ever being born, by killing his mother. Having intercepted this information, the human forces have sent back their top soldier-type, Kyle Reese, to stop the Terminator, but will it be enough?
In Virgin's 8-bit version of their latest film license, you adopt the mantle of Reese in a five-level bid to save the future Kyle runs, jumps and shoots his way through a number of different environments, keeping a constant eye out for his cyborg adversary and saving Sarah Connor from the jaws of death. In the final level, as in the film, the Terminator must be destroyed by luring it into a hydraulic press. Earth's future hangs in the balance. Can you save Sarah Connor from the twisted clutches of the Terminator?
Kyle starts the game with an infinite supply of hand grenades. Although these possess I impressive destructive capabilities, Kyle is quite slow at throwing them. There are also aim-related problems, with stair-bound combat being particularly unwieldy. Luckily for the boy Reese, his trusty assault rifle lies at the end of level one. This is a particularly powerful gun which destroys Terminators with a single burst! Unfortunately, he cannot bring this gun back through time with him, so his present-day mission is fought with a comparatively feeble Uzi 9mm.
There are brain exercises a-plenty in Terminator. For instance, in level two Kyle climbs a series of fire escapes and leaps across rooftops like the athletic chappie he is. It is your job to work out how he can then get down from these buildings without the aid of a ladder and most importantly, without breaking his neck. But this is easy compared to guiding the Terminator into the press on level five.
Entering the Tech Noir bar.
Kyle Reese runs around the shattered landscape of Los Angeles, 2029. It's his job to infiltrate the Skynet base and shut it down, destroying Terminators on his way.
Kyle Reese makes his way across the rooftops of Los Angeles, 1984. Here, the objective is to reach a simple telephone box and find out Sarah Connor's address.
I must admit that I was a bit wary about Terminator at first following the debacle that was the Megadrive version. Imagine my surprise and delight when the Master System Terminator turned out to be a hundred times better than the 16-bit effort. Okay, so the graphics can't match up to the stunning Megadrive ones (although they are pretty good), but what really counts is the beefed up difficulty level. I'd clocked Megadrive Terminator in the same time it took me to get off the first level of the Master System game! The levels have been redesigned and are much longer. The enemies are also more intelligent and there’s always enough of them on screen to provide a constant challenge. The game design itself is hardly the most earth-shatteringly original thing to come out of a software house, and with only five levels Terminator may be a little short, but it is easily the best Master System game released in months.
Like Rad, I found the Megadrive version of Terminator extremely easy and completed within an hour. This superior Master System title has much more in the way of lastability. In fact, it should take quite a while just to get off the first level in this rock hard title. The high difficulty level doesn’t put you off though, because the game boasts excellent playability that glues you to the console for ages. The graphics are truly excellent, with sprites and backdrops that make full use of the Master System’s 8-bit abilities. Even the sound (something the Master System isn’t well equipped for) is good, with atmospheric tunes and effects. Virgin Games have produced an excellent film tie-in that gamesplayers should really enjoy.