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Terminator Salvation (iPhone)

For: iPhone

Resistance is futile

Product: Terminator Salvation (iPhone) | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Film/ TV tie- in, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.4
Terminator Salvation (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
You won't get an earful from Christian Bale in Terminator Salvation. You won't even get a whisper, but the absence of the tough-talking actor is glossed over by unbelievable presentation of this post-apocalyptic thirdperson shooter. Still, the killer graphics can't save it from a short campaign and lack of replay value.

Following the events of the film bearing the same title, Terminator Salvation chronicles the desperate work of resistance leader John Connor to bring down the artificial intelligence network SkyNet. A warning to those wanting to catch the flick when it hits theatres: while it doesn't go into great detail, the game does touch on some key moments.

You don't have to worry too much about spoiler alerts though. Cunningly the game's eight missions have been structured in such a way as to be utterly confusing. The story jumps around one location to the next with little explanation, even switching your character - from John Connor to Marcus Wright - and leaving you to decipher exactly what's going on.

Part of this confusion stems from the game's abrupt ending. Also it only takes around an hour to complete Terminator Salvation, leaving precious few minutes to develop a coherent story of any sort or savour the action, which is nearly as stunning as the graphics.

Frankly, this is a non-stop ride from start to finish with firefights against T-600s, an escape through the ruins of Los Angeles as a towering Harvester chases after you, and even a battle to take down a massive HK-Tank. The scenarios are certainly exciting and the action satisfying despite a noticeable lack of gameplay polish.

The controls are generally reasonable, with a touch D-pad and fire button enabling you to blast everything that moves. And there are three other control methods for you to choose from.

Taking cover is a matter of pressing up against a surface to snap to it, but it's fiddly and doesn't always works. Similarly, you can't switch weapons while moving so you have to stand still and swap firearms. The sole mini-game - terminal hacking that involves tilting your handset to guide a ball through coloured circuits - forces you to play with your handset parallel to the ground; there's no option to calibrate the accelerometer. But, to be fair, these quibbles are relatively minor compared to the game's visceral impact.

No, the real issue with Terminator Salvation lies in its lack of replay value. After your first run through, you unlock an additional level of difficulty that enables you to play as a Terminator. That, alongside artwork accessed by picking up microchips from defeated machines, and a handful of achievements is not enough to extend the experience in a compelling way.

It's disappointing, because despite the action being fun and the visuals inspiring, Terminator Salvation ends up being a not-so-cheap (£5.99/$9.99) thrill that's good while it lasts - which isn't very long at all.
Terminator Salvation (iPhone)
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 8 May 2009
Terminator's back, but not for long - a short, confusing story mode and lack of replay value limits the lasting appeal of this otherwise gorgeous shooter
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