The Terminator: Dawn of Fate
Game Info
Xbox, PS2
Paradigm Entertainment
Official Website
ESRB Rating
The Good

• Lots of gunplay
• Large areas
• Music is accurate to the movies

The Bad

• Gameplay is shallow
• Camera angles add to game's difficulty
• Controls need work


Terminator: Dawn of Fate acts as a prequel to the original story of the popular movie series in which a mechanical killer in disguise, known as a terminator, goes into the past to kill the mother of the man who leads the human resistance in the post apocalyptic future. In Dawn of Fate, you play as one of three resistance fighters who must finish a mission to try and take down Skynet, or if that's not possible, send Kyle Reece into the past to save Sarah Connor.

The opening CG sequence sets a great tone, showing us the world as it exists. From time to time, it looks like it's pulled straight from the original movie and even though the facial models don't look too realistic, the animation and detail was great and added to the dramatic lead-in to the game. Once the game moves into in-game graphics, you'll notice some fine overall detail and excellent use of lighting. Each level is large with a lot of environmental detail. Flashes from explosions and gunfire reflect off of surfaces and the direct lighting (overhead bulbs, etc.) really adds a nice touch. I would have to say, though, that certain parts of the game are too dark and can lead the player to run around aimlessly until they find a lighted area. The levels really capture the post-apocalyptic look from the movies. The character models, though, look okay. They're a little blocky and stiffly animated. The NPCs look fairly average and seem to fall under one of four or five designs.

Dawn of Fate's gameplay is fairly to the point. You can attack with a melee weapon and even perform sweep kicks to knock enemies down, but you'll really only bother with melee attacks when you run out of ammo. Most of the time, you'll be using guns and bombs to blow your way past wave upon wave of terminators. Along the way, you'll have small objectives in each location, like turning on the generators or using C4 to blast out a ceiling. From time to time, you'll be able to use gun turret emplacements to lay waste to large groups of terminators. While you have three characters to use along the way, they all control and act the same, so don't expect a character change to yield new moves and skills. During each level, you'll also want to pick up debris from enemies called Skynet Tech, which can be traded in at the end of each level to improve a variety of skills, like effectiveness of armor or health packs. The player can also hit the Black button to use their Adrenaline meter, which slows down time, a lot like Max Payne's Bullet Time.

The music for the game is ripped straight out of the movies. When you hear the trademark pulse and slow heavy drums, you'll know exactly where you are. And to go with the movie's more straightforward symphony pieces are some high-octane metal that cues up when the battle kicks in. The voice acting is on par for the average videogame. It won't wow you, but it serves it's purpose.

The biggest drawbacks with Dawn of Fate are the controls and camera both lead to excess frustration. The in-game camera is set at certain locations, so the player will have to move into the next camera angle to see where enemies may be. While the control is based on the camera angle, there is no forgiveness when you cross into a new angle. Run into a room with a few different angles and you might find yourself swinging back and forth a couple times, which leads to more confusion than needs. To make things worse, the camera angles seem to change way too often. To compound this, the controls seem sluggish and multiple times, you may have to hammer the Y button just to get your player to pull a switch.

Because of the linear and shallow gameplay, Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a rental at best. The game has too many essential drawbacks to make it worthy of a purchase. It can still be enjoyed, but for the price of a rental.

- - Kinderfeld

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