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Review: The Terminator: Hunter-KILLER
This is a game i've been wanting to play for a while - i played Markno2's other Terminator game a few months back and though it was classy, though not exactly polished.
This game, The Terminator: Hunter-KILLER, is more of the same and is set directly before the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. And i had already decided to make a game of that film so it holds extra interest for me! So here goes...
The first thing you'll see is a gory intro, very crudely hand-drawn. This is a main-stay of Markno2's games (of which i have all played - i'm a fan!) and perfectly sets the tone of the rest of the game. After this is an attempt to copy the Terminator intro where the word 'TERMINATOR' scrolls across the screen in both directions at the same time. Again, nice. The main menu is nice too, however it goes pear-shaped from there as you select your difficulty level.
Pressing either 1, 2 or 3 on the keyboard reaks of lazy/poor coding and i'm not a fan. This lets down an otherwise above average introduction to the game. Pity.
The gameplay is split over two styles. For the main, The Terminator: Hunter-KILLER plays as a 2D shooter/platformer. Though the quality and technicality of these sections is very low and scrappy, this is more than made up for by the superb boss sections and set-pieces. The best of these is the part where you battle the T-1000; this starts with a re-enactment of Terminator 2, the T-1000 trying to stab you through a lift roof. Brilliant! The other section of the game plays as a top-down viewed shoot-em-up. Though easy to defeat (by simply pressing the fire button repeatedly and moving away from the base of the screen) this section can be made a lot more fun by simply trying to destroy as many enemy HK's as possible. It is a welcome change of gameplay style, yet it isn't well executed. Atleast effort was made, though!
As you will have noticed by now though, the graphics were not made by the guys at Universal Studios. Or even their pet dogs. Yes, the graphics are very very crude and are all (seemingly) hand-drawn. You can look at this two ways; crap, or (as i do) charming. Especially when you look at them during cut-scenes and with the superb voice-overs playing. There are some notable details that have been lovingly crafted in the game too, the best being the battles that occur in the background of nuclear-decimated L.A. Watching air HK's firing at and then being destroyed by resistance jeeps is a great touch and shows the kind of dedication Markno2 has for his games.
Going back to the audio, and the voice-overs in particular, you will often smile or atleast turn the ends of your lips up at the witty and definitely un-official dialogue. Who knew that the Terminator had such a great sense of humour? A nice touch and it sets the mood of the game - this isn't trying to be the same as the big-budget Terminator games, it's going about it the opposite way and i think in many ways it is winning. What it doesn't win though is in the music department - there isn't any in-game. This is a huge disappointment as it takes away some of the atmosphere in the game's levels. Also, many of the non voice-over samples are of poor quality and have horrible background muffling to them.
What about depth though? Well the game is short, probably 15 minutes in length if played all the way through, and the hardest difficulty level can be beaten easily enough. What this game does do though is leave an in-print in your mind. You'll probably find this on your hard-drive in a few months time and will be tempted to give it another go, especially if you've already beaten it and seen all of the cool set-pieces. There are few games that claim to be able to do that and for this, Markno2 must be applauded.
The Terminator: Hunter-KILLER can be seen in one of two ways: you can either think of this as a great fan-game of a superb sci-fi franchise with a wicked sense of humour and unique hand-crafted graphics, or you can see this as a poor platformer that pales in comparison to the technical qualities of many other Klik games. I'm in the first group and i thought this game had more plus points than negative ones. And i think it shouldn't be overlooked by the screen-shots, or the fact that it's a Terminator game. Therefore give it a go. And add a point or 2 if you find yourself in the first group, or else take the same amount off it if you find yourself in the second (and in my opinion, more boring) group. I for one think "more of the same, please!" Hasta La Vista, baby!
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