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First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Terminator Salvation"

The worst of all possible AI scenarios: the Te...Image via Wikipedia

Terminator Salvation the mobile game from Gameloft is a fine adaptation of the upcoming movie. Without spoiling the plot, you'll play multiple characters in the game, in this semi-3D action shooter. It has good graphics, decent sound, and lots of action, and captures the essence of the game without going overboard. It delievers a excellent game experience overall.

TS uses a semi-3D third-person engine. I said "semi-3D" as you cannot turn. You can only face "forward". You can run left /right, and a bit of forward and back (but mostly forward). The cursor auto-aims a bit (thogh you can override and switch targets if you wish). The shooting mechanics doesn't change between modes, and there are different modes: 3rd person shooter mode, H/K flyer mode, moto-terminator mode, and a rail-shooter mode. That is good design.

Most of the game is 3rd person shooter mode. You play as either Connor or Marcus. And you shoot Terminators, all models. Connor can take cover behind the low walls and jump over the low walls, while Marcus can push those walls. Most weapons have unlimited ammo, but there's a reload time. Other weapons, such as a gatling, can overheat and requires cooldown after intensive use. You sometimes get reloads for the grenade launcher and that adds a bit of firepower. Sometimes there are "gas tanks" and such explosive stuff you can shoot and take out a whole bunch of Terminators at once. There is also "hacking", which will consist of one of two minigames: either "hack the passcode", where you do the "higher or lower" logic on a number pad from 0 to 9, or "bypass the circuit", where you need to power the green gates without actvating the red gates. Both are quite easy. Finally, 3rd person mode often reqires a bit of jumping and platform hopping, over mines, past laser barriers, through suicide drones, and so on. The only annoying thing about the 3rd person mdoe is the jumping... There are some portions where careful jumps and runs are critical else you'll be caught by the traps, of fall off the edge, and whatnot.

The HK flyer mode is just one mission... Basically, the resistance have captured/hacked a Hunter/Killer flyer, and needs to fly it to a facility where it can be studied, but obviously Terminators have lined the flight path, and your fuel is limited so you can't take the long way around. Take control of the H/K flyer, avoid obstacles strew acros the streets, shoot any one in your way, and get the H/K back. Controls are now up/down/left right but shooting controls are still the same.

The rail-shotoer mode is self-explanatory. You are on the back of one of Resistance "technicals" and you get to shoot at all bad guys... T-1s, T-600s, aerostats, and later, a Harvester. Yes, a big huge nasty harvester. Same shooting controls, except the gatling can overheat, so only shoot in short bursts.

Finally, the moto-terminator mode is one mission where one rides down the highway, shooting at all bad guys without running into walls and mines, and make the occasional 'jumps'. Again, same shooting controls.

Gameloft's designers must be commended, as each level has its own unique challenges, and adds just enough new elements to be challenging, but not so much that you felt like you are playing something else. The consistent shooting interface certain helps, While the graphics aren't the greatest, the semi-3D helps keep framerates up and costs down, while still providing a good gaming experience. It's the kind of ingenious thinking I want to see in mobile games, as true 3D usually leads to bad frame rates.

Music is the familiar Terminator theme (specifically, from T2's intro). There are actually FOUR difficulty levels for those who can't get enough of the 9 levels in the game. And if you perform some special feats, such as get 20 melee kills (yes, you CAN combat a terminator by hand, usually by knocking their heads off), you can unlock something special (haven't figured out what they are yet).

All in all, TS is a fine example of what a movie to game adaptation SHOULD be done. it's fun to play, different levels are challenging without being too difficult (esp. if you keep it in EASY mdoe). And each level introduced something new to master. The graphics are good enough, and music is not annoying. That's a good game by almost any definition.

Overall rating: 8.5 out of 10 (hall of fame!)
Pros: conssitent interface, good semi-3D graphcis, nice difficulty curve
Cons: not true 3D, some "Mario" moments about jumping and such

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