"I'll be back." Arnold Schwarznegger promised us that in the hit movie Terminator 2 released back in 1991. Now, more than a decade later, the Terminator saga continues. Not only is Arnold suiting up for another run as the Terminator on the big screen, but gamers around the world will be treated to yet another Terminator game, this time for the Playstation 2. Terminator: Dawn of Fate will not be a direct translation of the upcoming movie, however, since the game has been in the works far longer than the actual movie. Instead, the game will be a loose prequel to the original movie released back in 1984, allowing the developers at Paradigm Entertainment to create a game not bound by any of the movies plot lines.
Taking on the same basic morality tale of the movies, that of man against machine, Dawn of Fate will begin right as SkyNet, the first artificially intelligent machine, creates the first terminator. The army of humans, also known as Tech Com led by John Conner, must beat SkyNet to a newly developed time machine, as it is SkyNets goal to eliminate John Conner in the past in order to end the war. While this is the main story in Dawn of Fate, look for more subtle plot points as well. One of these is the defection of a Tech Com leader, Alexander Stone, who betrays the humans after realizing his brother was left on the battle field to die. Stone will be a primary antagonist in this game, in addition to SkyNet of course, as Tech Com struggles for the freedom of the human race.
Players will utilize three separate characters in this game, none of which are or will be featured as main characters in any of the movies, due to a licensing dispute between Infogrames and the producers of Terminator. However, players can take the role of a rough and tumble group of militants, such as Kyle Reese, a hard nosed soldier, Katherine Luna, a deadly and beautiful woman, and of course, John Conner, the leader of the resistance.
Just as in the movies, Dawn of Fate will be all about kicking butt, in any way, shape or form possible. For this, the game will employ over 15 different weapons, including C4, Rocket Launchers, Pistols, bombs and more. On top of that, you will be able to engage in hand to hand combat in certain parts of the game. The game's action will take place from a mostly 3rd person perspective, however you can enter a 1st person view, similar to MGS2, for more accurate attacks. Perhaps the coolest part of combat in this game is the Adrenaline mode, which is measured by a gauge that rises as you attack your enemies. Once this gauge fills you can activate the Adrenaline mode for some serious hand to hand action. During this mode, your characters power is increased incredibly, allowing you to perform moves otherwise impossible to do.
Control in the game looks to be fairly straightforward, and quite similar to most 3rd person action games. Players will use the square button to fire weapons, the circle button to roll and dodge, the X button to engage in hand to hand combat, while the triangle button will serve as a multi purpose action button, being used to reload weapons, activate switches, etc. Changing weapons can be done by pressing the L2 button, then scrolling though your arsenal with the D-pad or analog stick. To enter a 1st person perspective while fighting, you will need to hold down on the R2 button. Overall, control in the games seems to be fairly intuitive and easy to get used to.
Of course you will need all that strength and firepower if you are to stay alive in this game. There will be 11 missions, each with around 7 objectives, and in each level there will be several enemies looking for your head. Players will encounter a total of 18 different enemies in this game, some of which will be bosses. Unlike most action games, the enemies in Dawn of Fate have the ability to revive themselves, meaning that if you missed a switch or object, backtracking to find it will be more difficult than in most games. There will also be four difficulty settings, including an extreme mode called 'terminal', as well as various cheats and codes that can be unlocked throughout the game.
Don't expect to see a whole lot of resemblance between this game's environment and those you have seen in the movies, due to the game being a prequel of the original. However, a great deal of the landscape will be somewhat reminiscent of the futuristic scenes from the first game, with cities reduced to rubble, abandoned outposts, and more. On top of that, the enemy robots are going to be quite different too, looking much more primitive than the robots seen in the movies. However, while they may seem primitive, Paradigm promises us they will look stunning nonetheless. Expect real time lighting effects flashing about like a strobe light in this overly dark and shadowy world. Such imagery should be fitting for the game, as it depicts perhaps the darkest and most desperate times faced by the characters in the Terminator saga.
While the in game music has not been finalized as of yet, Paradigm states that there will be three major musical themes once the game is completed, ranging from heavy metal rock to military type marching music. There are also quite a few other areas in which details are scarce. While no multiplayer feature has been announced yet, and while Paradigm has claimed they have no serious plans to incorporate one, they have not definitively announced it one way or another. However, more information should be forthcoming at this year's E3, and we will keep you abreast of any future developments.
4/16/2002 Ryan Hartmann