Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Robot on robot violence James Cameron style!
People often ask me what my favorite arcade game of all time is. Well, they donít really ask me anything of the sort, but if they did I would say, without hesitation, that it would be T2: Judgement Day.
Imagine this: Itís 1991. You're a geek. One of the coolest movies of all time is soon to be released. You go to your local arcade and there, sitting majestically and proud is a game based on this super awesome cool movie you canít wait to see. This isnít any game either. Itís a GUN GAME and itís enormous. Big old pictures of the Terminator are plastered on the sides. It also features the real actors in it, like that sweet ass Mortal Kombat game. It also features Arnold Schwarzeneggerís real voice saying, ďexcellentĒ when you put your quarters in. Yes, you did do a great job putting that fifty cents in, didnít you?
It should be easy to understand why the T2 arcade game generated crowds of sweaty nerds gawking at those brave enough to take on the evil robots of the future. Not only was it an impressive looking machine, it pulls you into one of the coolest parts about the Terminator franchise: The future war. Youíre emerge in the hellish post-apocalyptic combat right off the bat where you face hundreds of endoskeletons and the like. I loved the films and the ability to actually play in some of my favorite parts of them is one of the reasons why this game is great. Another is that it does what every great spin off game does, it follows the events of the film just enough to remind you of it while at the same time not blindly following it. Although fighting in the factory against machine gun wielding welders isnít the most brilliant part of the game, some of the newer robotic enemies makes up for it.
The only problem Iíve ever had with the game is its extreme difficulty at points. The portion where youíve got to protect John Connor in his overly fragile pick up truck can truly be a nightmare if you donít hit the HKs blasting at it at the right moment, otherwise youíll be doomed to repeat the section forever. The boss battle where you must freeze the T1000 is also an exercise in hair pulling frustration. However, the end battle is the worst part of all. If young John Conner is killed, then youíre forced to go back to trying to freeze T1000 all over again before you get the chance to go back to that part. I can only imagine how painful that must be in the arcade.
Luckily, with MAME you can save and reload to save yourself a lot of trouble if you fail. To add to the difficulty, there's a level where you must destroy everything, including all the computers and many of the carts they are on, to prevent SKYNET from being developed. You know, because those computer carts are pretty critical to the development of SKYNET. If you don't blow everything up then you'll get a bad ending. It's all the more reason to dump hundreds of quarters into T2 and it also gives it more replay value than the normal arcade machine has.
If you do play T2 with MAME the best way to play is with a mouse. Using it is very rewarding if you have it set up correctly (see note below) in lieu of having the awesome arcade cabinet around complete with super cool guns. The MAME version supports two players like the original, but the best two player action with this title is still found on the original cabinet considering the restraints of the controls.
The graphics still look great today even with the limited amount of animations for the digitized characters. The sound has suffered the most, but is still notable for having so many great effects along with having voices of the actors in the game. Thereís also a few times a couple of limited video clips pop up. That was still a pretty big deal in the early 90s.
All in all, the arcade version of Terminator 2 is still fun to play today, even if itís not a very long game. Iíd recommend getting this for a great trip down memory lane or if you somehow missed this in the arcades.
Note: This MAME Rom is semi-difficult to get working properly. Iím not going to get into too much detail on how to get it to work, but hereís some tips. 1. Buy the arcade game. You canít download and play a ROM without owning the arcade game. 2. Enable mouse support in MAME. 3. Download the file found on this page and put it in your MAMEís ďnvramĒ folder. Now the guns are calibrated and you can actually play the game!