Review by Al Giovetti
Genre: first person shooter and simulator (Doom-like)
Release: September 1996
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Designer: Todd Howard
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Website: www.bethsoft.com, http://www.bethsoft.com/cgi-bin/skynet.cgi?Lite
Requires: 486 DX, 50 MHz, DOS 5.0, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD ROM drive, VGA graphics, 20 MB hard drive space, Microsoft mouse, sound cards.
History: Bethesda Software is the fourth largest independently owned software company. Bethesda is known for its licensing deals with Robocop, The Addams Family, The Terminator, and Stargate. The previous products in the Terminator series have performed well for Bethesda. SkyNET returns to the world of the terminator, where intelligent machines pursue the warlike genocide of the troublesome human race. Bethesda was the first to provide 6 axis freedom of movement in Future Shock. Originally intended as a Future Shock patch, SkyNET is a stand alone game, that no longer requires the prequil. Bethesda believes this is a Quake-killer product.
The interface: Vehicles and characters move with full 6 direction freedom of movement to move and look up, down, right, left, front, and back. Game Producer Todd Howard describes the environment as one that you "can react to" rather than memorize.
Characters: You can choose from eight different fully rendered three-dimensional characters including a Terminator. These characters have a choice of garb and weapons to bring into the game. The ability to dress characters allows players to personalize their characters, which began with the selection of custom icons and colors for body parts in the Strategic Simulations Gold Box games in the 1980's.
Game play: allows each character to play the game in a new way each time. Boldly go toe to toe with enemies, slink in the shadows, run and fire, use long range weapons to eliminate rivals from far away, and whatever strikes your fancy this time you play.
Artificial intelligence. Robots get stuck on terrain, which you can use to sucker punch them. Basically their intelligence is limited to seeing you and attacking you by charging straight on.
Difficulty matrix: Well there is no matrix as such, just different settings from easy, medium, and hard
Interface: First person perspective in a three dimensional environment. Menus use mouse only which will aggravate the keyboard crowd. Most of the action is in the out doors, which amazingly many feel is less exciting than being confined in a dungeon.
Weapons: Now choose from 17 different weapons with their own strengths and weaknesses, including the Molotov cocktail, satchel charge, pipe bomb, and phased plasma cannon. A new motion tracker can be used instead of a weapon to locate your enemies. Quick hands are required to use the tracker, equip a weapon and kill your now located opponent. The tracker works both ways since it can be heard and attract your enemies' attention. The weapons are supposed to be very different from other first person shooter weapons.
You fly and drive: You pilot military vehicles, including helicopter, jeep, and even fly a captured hunter killer vehicle.
Missions: Play both the single player and multiplayer missions. The mission goals include a race across a ravine in a jeep, infiltrate an enemy base, and destroy a nuclear submarine. Missions will can be set to be scored or success determined by time, kills and/or points. Mission briefings are a little cryptic and not well explained. Objectives may be vague.
Locations: The location of most of the action is the burnt out apocalyptic shell that was once Los Angeles, complete with rolling hills and the big, albeit damaged, Hollywood sign. The cities mix highways, buildings to enter and climb.
Graphics: Resolution of 640x480 pixels in 256-color is supported, with light-sourcing and 3D texture mapping. A 320x240 pixel resolution mode is available for the lower power processors. With much higher resolutions available in other products, the graphics of the game engine seem a little old and visually boring.
Music score: Slow ominous and repetitious tune that you can thankfully turn down or off with game controls.
Sound effects: Many really great sounds include the movement of the robots, explosions, weapons sounds, and the wounded humans screaming in pain. The only thing missing is the blood curdling scream when you shoot the enemy, but robots don't scream they just blow up.
Editor: Battlefield editor allows you to customize for special muli-player modem and network games.
Utilities: Supports Virtual I/O and Forte VFX1 head mounted displays (HMDs) with head tracking. Works with the Terminator: Future shock game to upgrade the game to SVGA graphics, smoother animation and scrolling, and all the new features and options.
During play simultaneously press the Alt and \ (Alternate and Backslash keys) while entering the following codes:
ARNOLD = get to play with all the weapons Arnold would have
COUNTERS = find out where you are and coordinate your activities.
GARBLE = lets you see the cheat codes
ICANTSEE = gives you access to the viewscreen
ILLBEBACK = finish this level and move on to the next one
SUPERUZI = replaces your plain old uzi with Ronco terminator shred-o-matic
VERSION = displays the version of the game so you can explain to the game manufacturer which version your cheats bombed.
Multiplayer: Up to 8 characters can compete and cooperate over network or internet. Kali can be used to play over the internet. SkyNET has built in IPX game support
Conclusion: If you liked Future Shock, you are sure to like this one.
Christine Grech Wendin, The E3 Top 25, PC Games, volume 3, number 9, August, 1996, pg. 31.
Cindy Yans, Hot town, Summer in Bethesda: Why it got to late to go to the nudie bar, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 20-22.
Glenn Broderick, Computer Player, volume 3, number 5, October, 1996, pg. 34.
Jeff James, Computer Player, volume 3, number 5, October, 1996, pg. 43.
Matthias Jones, http://www.gamespot.com/action/skynet/, 68%.
Jason D'Aprile, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 9, February, 1997, pg. 75, 70%.