reviews\ Sep 23, 2004 at 8:00 pm

Terminator 3: Redemption - GC - Review

You’ll have to forgive me.  For all my feminine wiles and daintiness, there’s a big sci-fi geek in me that gets really giddy when a new Star Wars game comes out or when an all-time favorite sci-fi action franchise decides to release a game that attempts to bring to life the genre in all its action-packed glory.  Another Terminator 3 game, though?  It’s been done--and badly, I might add.  But the sci-fi geek in me is oh so optimistic and when Terminator 3: The Redemption showed up I was happy to give it a chance.  As a fan of both the Terminator series and third-person shooters, I was glad I did.  Redemption is a much better alternative to Rise of the Machines but does it make it the ultimate Terminator game?  GameCube gamers, let’s find out.


Before Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to settle down in the Governor’s mansion, he starred in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  The movie spawned a game that wasn’t as hot as the action sequences and disappointed fans of the Terminator franchise everywhere.   Now Atari has come to make amends by releasing Redemption, a game that still plays with the same Terminator 3 universe and characters but does it a lot better.   For those who haven’t seen the movie, Terminator 3 introduces Jordan Brewster to the cast that now does not include Sarah Connor.  Jordan is a soldier in the human resistance in the year 2032 that is able to help capture a T-850 model (the Arnold model) and helps reprogram it to send it back into the future to protect the resistance’s leader, John Connor as well as her younger counterpart.  Of course, the Skynet machines send another assassin, this one in the form of a very sexy but extremely lethal T-X model (the lovely Kristanna Loken model).  What ensues is a battle to save humanity once again.



The opening chapter of Redemption pretty much gives you a clear indication of how the rest of the game plays and, for my money, it’s already a large leap forward.  With both Rise of the Machines and Dawn of Fate, we’ve seen the Terminator franchise offer limited gameplay possibilities but not so with this one.  Redemption mixes things up and balances it all off with far more responsive controls.   It’s the blending of gameplay features that sets this one apart.  It plays like many of the third-person shooters of the past but it also mixes in some hand-to-hand combat moves and driving (with some shooting thrown in).  To top it all off, the game does it just right.


You’ll be controlling the tough T-850 with all the bells and whistles we’ve seen in the movies.  He targets his enemies quickly and he can even lock on to them much better through his red-tinted Scan Vision.  The T-850 is also an upgradeable piece of hardware so you can upgrade everything from his recharge abilities (the T-850 can repair itself) to its damage level (it can also damage enemies much more easily).  It can grab an enemy and toss him down or it could rip a signpost and impale his enemies or viciously swat at them.  You’ll even take care of enemies using a conveniently placed stationary rail gun.   But it’s the driving parts that keep this from being just a simple shooter with nothing much also to do.  You’ll be able to drive vehicles the human resistance uses and sometimes you’ll just be hopping in the back to man the attached gun.  Its driving parts are actually good since the vehicles control fluidly.


There are fourteen chapters to play through and the majority of them touch on scenes from the third film.  There will be many confrontations with the T-X just like in the movie and you’ll even play the cemetery scene as you go up against police officers (John Connor’s orders to not harm the police leaves the T-850 no chance but to send them scattering when he destroys squad cars).  You’ll even get to ride a police motorcycle and man a chain-gun aboard a helicopter.


The controls are pretty basic but very responsive so the action is always pumping and intense.  You’ll face a large number of enemies at a time in this game and they can sometimes be very overwhelming.  For the most part they’re pretty intelligent and put up a fight whether it be the other skeletal machines or the crawl up on your truck if you ran them over.  The only negative thing that stands out in Redemption is the fact that you’ll feel as though the game pushes you along.  There really isn’t any exploration, just chapters that move the story along by having you shoot, brawl and drive.  It sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?  Well it is but it’s the adrenalin-pumping action that keeps this from being a really boring game.



Atari also improved something else besides the gameplay--the game’s graphics have been given a whole new graphical treatment.  It’s hard not to love a game that piles on the visual effects and they do look at its best.  I’m talking beautifully rendered backgrounds and laser and gunfire flash.  You’ll watch things explode in the near distance as debris rains down like a dust cloud.  The character models are also better than Rise of the Machines and watching the T-850’s human disguise literally tear to shreds won’t fail to put a smile on your face.  This is a great looking GameCube game.


Surprisingly enough the Governator lends his voice to the Terminator but is replaced along the way by a sound-alike.  It’s great hearing Arnold sound so robotically deadpan once again even if it’s for a little while but luckily he’s recorded enough one-liners to last through the entire game.  The rest of the voices are performed decently enough and both John Connor and Kate Brewster sound like the actual actors from the film.  Yet it’s the sound effects that win the big points here, ladies and gentlemen.  Really, if you have a great sound system hooked up than this is the game to pump up the volume you’ll swear you’re listening to the movie.  The soundtrack from the film also helps make this the best cinematic experience.


You might just be preparing yourself to dislike this game and, after Rise of the Machines, there’s no blaming you for feeling that way.  Yet where that game failed, this one succeeds in bringing a game true to the third film.  Terminator 3: The Redemption might not be the definitive Terminator game but because of its variety in gameplay and old-school shooter action, it’s certainly the best one available thus far.  This definitely makes for a good weekend rental. 


#Review Scoring Details for Terminator 3: The Redemption


Gameplay: 7.2
Take a third-person shooter, put in a dash of hand-to-hand combat and near perfect driving action and you get a good idea of what Redemption is like.  The T-850 controls so much better than in Rise of the Machines and that is a very good thing.  The game’s only weakness is that the action can get slightly repetitive the chapters are quick thanks to the pace of the action.


Graphics: 8.2
Redemption shows off some pretty dazzling effects and fans will love how the lasers and explosions just seem to fill the screen so cinematically.  The character models are also more detailed so it really looks like the Governor is really laying the smack down on the lovely Miss Kristanna Loken and vice verse.  The post apocalyptic future is even more exciting in the game than in the movie.


Sound: 8.0
I don’t care how many times I hear it but listening to Arnold dryly say “Talk to the hand” in this game makes me crack up every time.  Then again I find everything that comes out of Arnold’s lips funny.  Yet as a fan of the Terminator movies, it’s cool to hear him deliver his few lines even though the sound-alike fills in well enough.  The other voice actors do a nice job and the musical score comes from the film itself.  All of this is good enough, but what really does stand out is the ultra cool sound effects.


Difficulty: Medium
Skynet’s machines are a relentless bunch and it’s great to see that they do put up a real good fight.  Shoot one of the skeletal cyborgs and some don’t blow up completely.  In fact, some will even quickly drag their legless form towards you so it’s a good idea to stomp on them.  They’ll even manage to grab a hold of the moving vehicle you’re driving in an attempt to terminate you.  But nothing comes close to the very determined and powerful T-X terminator.  Arnold wasn’t kidding when he said “She’ll be back.”


Concept: 6.8
Those who are looking for more to do after beating the game will be a bit disappointed.  In fact, this is the type of game you’ll probably want to go through once.  The two-player Tech-Com Force Mode does offer a few more thrills but that’s about all there is.


Multiplayer: 6.6
The game tosses in a mini-game of sorts that can be played alone but better yet, can also be played with a friend.  Tech-Com Force Mode has you playing as a soldier in the human resistance as you and a friend hop on a helicopter and man a powerful chaingun to take out Skynet machines to cover a newly reprogrammed T-850 making its way into a Skynet installation.  It’s fast and it’s pretty fun.


Overall: 7.4
Fans of the Terminator franchise will find much to like about Redemption.  While it’s a bit on the linear side, the game delivers fast-paced shoot ‘um up action from start to finish.  If you’re looking for a GameCube game that blends shooting, brawling and driving then give Redemption a try.



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