When you grew up in the 90’s, First Persons Shooters were the thing, with Doom, Quake, James Bond Golden Eye, Turok, Unreal and many more. I used to have a shitty graphic card on my first computer so I had to stick with DOS games for a while, from Duke Nukem 3D to Heretic : Shadow of the Serpent Riders, to The Elder Scroll : Arena, I never grew tired of FPS. Sadly, I overlooked Terminator : Future Shock made by Bethesda Softworks. I saw some cover arts for this game and knew it existed but for some reasons I didn’t tried it. It was only this year that I took the time to tried it and I was surprised. I was expecting a Doom clone like Star Wars : Dark Forces but in the Terminator Universe and I was wrong. For 1995 the game is pretty sophisticated and used elements that wasn’t common in this FPS era. No wonder Bethesda is still kicking.
The game is set in 2015 so 20 years after the judgement day, the player have to escape a Skynet base to join the Human resistance and strike back, the plot is very simple and It’s what you’d expect from a terminator game. You have to name the character and give him a call sign which is great for the immersion. The game is divided into missions, the story is told with briefings, the objectives are mentioned before the missions start so we get an idea of what we have to do.
At first the gameplay is what you’d expect from a DOS-era FPS, shooting enemies, searching for ammo, armours and medkits. Like in Descent and some other games, the enemies are polygon instead of sprites which is nice. What surprised me was the platform jumping sequences in missions, Geograph Seal (a 1994 Japanese game) is said to be the first FPS game to incorporate those elements but it was still uncommon to see those.
What surprised me the most are the missions where you have to drive a car, for the time there were not many game where some missions where on foots and others in a vehicle. The car’s control are not the greatest nor the worst I’ve played. It suffers from the same problems of many other games, too sensitive controls, get stuck in a collision with a building, ect. The directions your comrades tells you are unclear most of the time and you wander in the level lost. But at least they tried.
Here’s the map from Terminator : Future Shock. I was impressed they put the map in 3D, even games from the 00’s could have shitty and confusing maps. With this one you could see all the objects and buildings, even able to turn the camera angles so It was easier to figure out where you are.
To conclude, the game is far from perfection with collision bugs, confusing and sometimes too huge level designs, weapons that are too similar (The first two weapons are machine guns, one is slightly better than the other. They could have just put one and a have a different weapon for the other instead). Still, I don’t understand why this game have not been re-released in digital format on Steam or GOG. SW: Dark Forces is available on both sites and have less to offer than this game. Maybe it’s a copyright issue or maybe nobody cares anymore. I just think it deserves to be reminded. Thanks for reading.
The included images were provided by the reviewer and are used for review purposes only. Dark Futures Literature LLC claims no ownership of anything in this review.