Terminator: Future Shock, PC

Terminator: Future Shock is a first-person shooter based on James Cameron‘s Terminator films. It was developed by Bethesda and also published by them in North America in 1995. Virgin Interactive published the game in Europe.

There’s no multiplayer side to Future Shock, just the single-player campaign, and in it you play as a young resistance fighter who is introduced to John Connor and Kyle Reese during your first mission. From here you progress up the ranks and quickly become a soldier The Resistance can rely on – so much so that you’re hastily sent back in time to try to stop SkyNET from becoming sentient.

The storyline in Future Shock contradicts what we’re told about the nuclear war in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but to be honest this game isn’t about the story – it’s about shooting stuff with guns. The environments are basic but effective, and the robotic enemies (and their associated AI) are relatively simple but still provide a significant threat.

Terminator: Future Shock uses a modified version of Bethesda‘s XnGine (which was also used in Daggerfall, Redguard and Battlespire) and features texture-mapped surfaces, coloured lighting and mouse and keyboard controls. In fact, it was one of the first FPSes to provide a more modern ‘mouselook’ control system ‘out of the box’. The game’s original release used a 320×200 VGA resolution, but a patch to 640×480 SVGA resolution is available. Only the 3D part of the game uses SVGA resolution, though – not the cut scenes or menu screens – so there is some resolution-switching when you play. Also, rather annoyingly, you have to re-set to the higher resolution every time you run the game.

Exploring, finding new weapons and shooting stuff is fun for a while in Future Shock, but while the game is reasonably well-liked among those who’ve played it it’s not really the classic all-out Terminator action game many were hoping for. Future Shock is quite primitive and does have a few issues – particularly with movement and getting stuck in the environment. The automap is next to useless and the game crashed on me (when loading saves) many times. That said, Future Shock is atmospheric, tense, challenging, and somewhat fun to play. There are also vehicle-driving sections, which provide some variation, and later on you even get to fly a Hunter-Killer, which is a real incentive to play through the game if you want to experience that.

A sequel, called Terminator: SkyNET, was released in 1996 and is considered to be better than Future Shock. They’re both very similar games, although SkyNET does have a multiplayer deathmatch mode and Future Shock doesn’t.

More: Terminator: Future Shock on Wikipedia

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