I’ve always considered myself to be a calm and laid back person. Not any more. One day I’ll write one of these retrospectives after I’ve had a nice and easy time revisiting an older game from start to finish. Today is not that day. Not after playing Terminator 2 on the Game Boy. Today, my rage knows no bounds.
Being a movie tie-in we are already off to a bad start, we all know that most games relating to a movie are pretty bad. There are exceptions, such as the brilliant Spiderman 2. This is not one of those exceptions. The biggest challenge I face here is stretching my hatred of this game out to 1000 words. That and re-plastering the wall after I put my fist through it.
Note: No walls were harmed in the making of this article.
I’ll give you 10 minutes to go and watch a let’s play of the thing. Just so we can be on the same level of annoyance to continue. Back? Angry? Good, let’s carry on.
Terminator 2 is a brief and basic run through of the movie’s events, mostly. The story is told through text and is accompanied by a rather garish headshot of the character who is supposed to be narrating. They are recognizable, sure, but they look terrible.
Level 1 tasks us with infiltrating Skynet and to do this we have to destroy their defense system. Which means shooting down a bunch of towers, in a specific order. Hitting a box will explain this order. Trouble is, this box is some way into the level and with no other clue previously you may well have messed up the order already. You could even miss the box completely. Getting to the end of the level having shot down the defenses incorrectly will cause a game over and a complete restart. Get the right order and you get the honor of fighting a boss. Die and it’s game over – start again.
The early parts of the game can be summarised as follows:
Destroy defense – Fail – Game over – Start again
Find a specific Terminator – Fail – Game over – Start again
Reprogram Terminator – Fail – Game over – Start again
I know older games often didn’t have save any points and would force you to restart from the beginning each time you have failed. I’m fine with that, honestly. I’d just prefer to have more than the one life that Terminator 2 graciously awards. Especially when death can easily come by sheer accident.
The majority of the game will have you running, jumping and ducking whilst shooting the enemies that swarm towards you. This is annoying on the first level. Getting shot while trying to not mess up the order (even if it is quite simple) and having aircraft drop bombs on you, is quite the annoyance. And it doesn’t end there. Every level will launch enemy after enemy, bullet after bullet at you. It’s a gauntlet. I wouldn’t mind if I could have more than one life. Or a password system. That would be nice. Stupid history.
A couple of variations to the standard levels see the above-mentioned reprogramming of a Terminator. A series of puzzles that see you rewiring their brain circuits. This starts off easy, but, gets to be quite the frustrating challenge as you battle it out against a timer. Knowing that failure will send you back to the very start. This should be exciting. It’s not. Only frustration rears its ugly head. The other level that deviates from the norm is a motorbike one where the T-1000 chases you in a truck. Avoid obstacles, shoot truck, rinse, repeat.
Time for some good points:
- The Game Boy logo and chime when you first turn the game on are great. Sure, it’s on every game but I like it and it helps me to pad out the good points, so shhh.
- The music is functional. In fact, it’s not bad. There’s even the possibility I’d enjoy it had it been attached to a better game than Terminator 2.
- The game itself actually looks good, is clean and runs fairly smoothly.
So, there we have it. The good points. There are at least some.
Terminator 2 really is a classic case of trial and error, albeit one with only the single life. To reach the end anyone playing will need to memorize the game and not get too frustrated. I don’t have time for either. Not for this game. Even if it can be completed within 10 minutes, by players who have the muscle memory.
I’m fully aware I’ve spent this whole time complaining about Terminator 2. I know it just seems like I’m terrible and can’t finish it. I’ve fully completed Bloodborne on the PlayStation 4, going up to a number of NG+’s on the main game and the DLC. I’ve gathered every single trophy for that game and would happily do so from the start again. Bloodborne is a case of trial and error gameplay done well. It takes a long time, yet, has a reward for it. Terminator 2 has none. It’s a short game, but it feels like a lifetime.
I could finish the Game Boy version of Terminator 2 if I had some prolonged gameplay with it and if I put in a little effort. I’m just not willing to do so for an abomination such as this. I’d much rather watch Genysis, on repeat, every day, for 5 years.
Ok, maybe not. This game is bad though and even when I do eventually go back and finish it (I will, I’m a glutton for punishment and knowing that I’ve written this and not finished it will force my hand and make me go back) I won’t feel like I’ve achieved anything. There will be no glory, no joy, and no relief. I won’t feel any different seeing the ending screen than I would the game over one. Like the Terminators themselves, I’ll just feel dead inside.
Let me know if you’ve played this game. You may even have enjoyed it and think I’m complaining over nothing. Also, comment on any Terminator movie adaptations or tie-ins. Which ones do you love? Which ones do you hate?
Steve is the resident Englishman, just don’t hold that against him. He’s been playing games for the best part of 3 decades and will continue to do so for as long as his thumbs hold up. When they no longer work, he’ll still find a way to play Resident Evil 2. Lover of most things nerdy Steve also likes sports. Go sports!