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The Terminator: SkyNET (DOS)

The Terminator: SkyNET DOS
Genre: Action, FPS
Perspective: 1st-person
Gameplay: Shooter
Setting: Sci-fi / futuristic
Published by: Bethesda Softworks LLC
Developed by: Bethesda Softworks LLC
Released: 1996
Platform: DOS

The Terminator: SkyNET is another game from developer Bethesda in The Terminator series. Initially, it was conceived as additional missions to the main game The Terminator: Future Shock, but later - due to the large number of innovations - the idea took shape in a completely independent product. The plot connection with the predecessor is not particularly observed, but the time of action in SkyNET may be ahead of the events presented in Future Shock. Although, if you carefully compare the plots of these two games, you get the impression that we have two independent stories parallel in time.

The overall development of the storyline is somewhat opposite to that of the previous game. It all started from small to big, and during the passage, an ominous secret was gradually revealed to the player, but in The Terminator: SkyNET, the goal of the game becomes known from the very beginning. But first you need to tell who you are. You are a resistance soldier named Carnegie. You managed to survive after an unequal battle with the terminators. In the very first reconnaissance mission, you suddenly find out that Skynet is starting to target the remaining people with super-powerful nuclear missiles of the Hades class (here the authors “exaggerated a little”: this is not an American, but a French short-range tactical nuclear weapon). Gradually, step by step, in eight missions of the game, you get complete information about the missiles and the place of the upcoming launch. The technical genius of the Resistance, Dr. Hannover, quickly hacks and rewrites launch codes to disrupt targeting and change target information embedded in warheads. Everything is decided in the last mission, where you are again entrusted with a difficult responsibility - to be the last hope of all people on Earth ...

Compared to Future Shock, there are really quite a lot of new products. First, there were changes in the gameplay: depending on the steepness of the slope, you can break (twist) your leg, there was a scream and “groaning” when you hit your hero, and the balance of weapons and ammunition on the maps was very thoughtfully tightened. Passing maps has become more difficult, but more interesting. And the "indestructibility" of most of your metal opponents has become much better. Another very nice novelty, in the spirit of flight simulators, is the training level, where you can quickly master all the simple controls in the game using a practical example.

Multiplayer has been added to the gameplay, which is perhaps the most significant innovation. Yes, most likely, the emphasis was placed precisely on the network game, and the single player remained the same - a by-product. Remember how "Schwartz" in the film went into a drinking establishment and "politely" asked one of the visitors: "I need your clothes"? Who among you has not dreamed of being as cool? So, now you can also look at the game world through the same red display of the internal visual display system of the T-800 model, but only in network mode. In the multiplayer game, you are free to choose who to play as: for men or for women, to be in the role of various resistance fighters or even as a terminator; it is also possible to use vehicles, but unlike in singleplayer, you are not locked into the H/K Fighter's seat, but can get in and out of the cockpit. A similar situation in the network game and driving. It is possible to choose the time of day before the start of loading a multi-user map (morning or night).

A little about the graphics of the game. The modified XnGine engine now allows you to play at a resolution of 640x480, which looks very chic. In addition, Future Shock turned out to be fully compatible with the SkyNET game, and in the latter's settings file there is even an additional parameter pointing to the folder with the "Shock" installed. Therefore, fans of the previous part can easily combine the two products and play in 640x480 resolution. Beautiful transparent water has been added, in which you can only drown, which is quite logical from the point of view of physics due to the severity of the wearable weapons and ammunition for them. The comic "chip" with shots at the Moon hanging in the sky, of course, is left. And on one of the levels of SkyNET there is a cheerful "easter egg" on the theme of a nightclub. The sky is no longer permanently black with stars, as in The Terminator: Future Shock. Its color can change in two versions: either dark blue with stars (night), or bright red (early morning), which corresponds to the moment when the first ray of dawn is about to sparkle. Based on this beautiful innovation alone, I would strongly like, of course, to conclude that SkyNET is not an alternative backstory to The Terminator: Future Shock, but its continuation or even in a more pathetic sense - the end of the game saga with the victory of the Resistance forces over the ruthless machines, marking the dawn of a new era of Humanity. But a little sluggish ending, unfortunately, does not give reason to assume so ...

SkyNET has a small minus - its FMV-clips for briefings. In The Terminator: Future Shock, the inter-mission briefings were beautifully done with original and minimally animated (eyes, mouth, eyebrows) characters, with authentic appearance and dressed quite in the "fashion" of that difficult time of the war with the machines. But here - at least the first level ... A clean and brightly lit studio room, a female Resistance fighter in a stylish military uniform enters, she lacks only rouge to complete her appearance. In general - a categorical “I don’t believe it! ©” (may the classic forgive me). There is none of that dirt, devastation, smeared faces and haggard bodies caused by a half-starved existence in basements and ruins. But to implement a set of precisely these "special effects" - well, it was not difficult even for any very low-budget team of actors. By the way, the player also participates in such briefings, he is simply identified here with the camera that filmed all these scenes: they talk to him, they ask him, they order him, they joke with him, and so on. And your protagonist - he is not a dumb idol, he also answers his interlocutors.

Although, to be honest, despite the small shortcomings with the briefing videos, with its complex gameplay and unpredictable situations, many people may like The Terminator: SkyNET game, and not its predecessor, Future Shock. But one thing is certain: most people will definitely not like the very serious drawback of the 3D shooter described here - there are very few levels in the single player for this dynamic and interesting continuation of the The Terminator game series.