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The Terminator (1990 Game)

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Film (DVD - OST) - Novel (Hutson - Frakes) - Game (DOS - SNES - Genesis - SEGA CD)

The Terminator (DOS)3

State-of-the-art graphics in 1990?

The Terminator was a DOS computer First-Person-Shooter game based on the first movie. Developed and published by Bethesda Softworks in 1990, it was the first officially licensed game based on the Terminator film series, and probably the first "sandbox style" game ever produced.

Technical Info

The game was written in 100% assembly and takes up more than 35000 lines. It contains approximately 20000 3D objects. It was developed using Turbo Assembler and Turbo Debugger with all debugging being done remotely. It was created on a variety of 286 and 386 computers. All graphics were created on IBMs and Amigas and were very low-res; 320x200 with a 4-bit color depth (16 colors).

Gameplay

Gameplay is similar to modern Grand Theft Auto style games; the player basically runs around shooting anyone in sight, stealing cars, and breaking into various buildings to steal supplies.

Following the storyline, you either take on the role of Kyle Reese and protect Sarah Connor from the cyborg sent back in time to kill her, or become the Terminator and eliminate Kyle and Sarah. Either way, the player chases his opponent through Los Angeles buying or stealing weapons and equipment while attempting to eliminate his enemy and avoid the police.

The game takes place within a huge (roughly 10 miles by 6 miles) 3-D rendered area of central Los Angeles. The game area runs roughly from Beverly Drive to Central Ave (lengthwise), and from Mulholland Drive to National Blvd (vertically). A game map is included in the box for reference. Though the buildings and their placement within the world is generic, and highways/overpasses have been removed, the streets and their layout are largely accurate. The game also includes some landmarks, such as Dodger Stadium, Griffith Park, and the Silver Lake Reservoir.

Controversy

The game gained much criticism from "Media Nazis" due to the contents of its "Death HUD". In the bottom left of the POV area, a small square of space was dedicated to the animated deaths of characters that were shot on-screen. Since the POV itself was largely low-res, the producers felt that the mood of the game would be better served by presenting a picture-in-picture featuring these deaths. Additional deaths could be manually added from public domain floppies distributed in the gaming underground.

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