Wednesday, November 29, 2023

T2: The Arcade Game (Game Boy, 1992)


I've tried on two different occasions to cover this on the site (within posts for other games) and didn't get far either time. This time I'm going for broke. Why bother with THIS version, you ask? Well, it may not be great, but it is kind of a wonder of science that it exists at all. It's a reminder of a time when they'd try to fit pretty much ANY game onto a Game Boy port, regardless of how little sense it made or how unfeasible it seemed.

Also, there was a time when I REALLY wanted this game. It's yet another game I was obsessed with getting as a kid, but never actually saw in a store. Thankfully. Cause it would have really been a waste of one of the 2-3 games per year I'd get. I talk a lot about how much I lucked out by having my first two Game Boy games be Kirby's Dream Land and Metroid 2, given how both were just kind of spur-of-the-moment things I got because the store had them (and not any of the things I really wanted).

Still, in some alternate universe this cart was something I got as a kid and went nuts over. Maybe I would have liked it in spite of its shortcomings. As a kid it was easy to do that with things. In a way, all it had to do was show up.

So yeah, here we go. This post is gonna be an amalgamation of the two other posts where I took brief looks at the game, plus new shots and commentary, to form this new fusion post.

::falls to the floor and slips around trying to back away while screaming, like Sarah Connor::

Er... well, it's certainly T2: The Arcade Game in some form. Controlling this with a D-Pad rather than a light gun is awkward at best, though.

You have two buttons, one for regular firepower and one for rockets. The rockets are abundant and OP, as is tradition. Those are what you use for HKs and one-shotting Terminators, and you gotta be a little strategic with their use.

It functions just like the other versions of the game, with similar animations like terminators comically flying backwards when blasted. The way to win is to blast things ASAP when they walk/fly onto the screen, because once they stop and start attacking your HP depletes very fast.

HKs swoop in to fire rockets, something you never actually see in T2.

Note: This game doesn't have any music. Probably the biggest strike against it. Other versions of this game had some great tracks. Not this one. All you hear is the ratatat of your gunfire for the whole game. It'd probably overpower any music anyway, but still, blah.

Another key is to go for the powerups as they drop. Weapon coolant is especially integral because if you rapid fire for too long your gun plummets in power and fire rate until you let it recharge, unless you zap a coolant.

You also have humans getting in the way. This port suffers a lot from everything being downsized, though. The HKs are tiny, and the terminators never pop up in the foreground. There's nothing menacing here.

This brings back memories of playing the game in the arcade and being completely overwhelmed with all of the noise and chaos. That noise and chaos isn't present here, though, so you have to use a lot of imagination.

The first boss is the same, more or less. Again, it's too small. And what's up with the barely-existent head?

First you blast the guns, then the head, then the torso that's just awkwardly sitting there. Then the bottom half starts blasting you with rockets! Rockets can be shot down, which is crucial for surviving this game, so this is good practice.

An Arnold pops up! The ones that pop up right on the foreground are a big threat in this game. They can do a lot of damage fast, and without a mouse or a light gun, quick-response suffers. That might be the main downside to this game, the slightly-too-slow speed of moving the crosshairs around with the D-pad.

In this stage it really likes to mob you with enemies, to the point that the system can't handle it and some of their sprites flicker in and out. If the system itself can't handle the volume of enemies you're throwing at the player, maybe TONE IT DOWN?

I love how this version skips the truck level. That's the #1 level that ended people's playthroughs of this game. Course, they only skip it because the Game Boy can't handle it, but either way, small favors and all that.

The Skynet HQ is a level most people didn't even get to see in the arcade. It's basically a field of satellite dishes and a metal hallway.

This is weird, it splits the level in half and gives you a checkpoint. Good move, if random. Except they totally botched it by having the checkpoint be after a really easy section and before the two extremely tough bosses. WTF.

 The coolest moment of the game is probably fighting this HK at the gates of Skynet. They could have just reused the one from the first level, but instead they made a completely new sprite that looks much better.

Also this fight is HARD. Much worse than the first stage boss for some reason, despite being the same type of machine. And the worst part is, it isn't even the end of the level.

Skynet itself is...a wall. This version is missing all of the creepy noises it makes in the arcade version.

This fight is also HARD. All four quadrants of the door fire rockets at you at the same time that have to be intercepted, while returning fire. I basically spammed rockets and barely made it. The main issue is that this follows another hard boss fight. Why not have the HK Tank in the first half of the level pre-checkpoint? Do you even lift, LJN?

Next is helping Sarah destroy Cyberdyne. You have to blow up 102 panels of equipment during the stage while also fending off SWAT guys. If you don't actually destroy 102 panels you still move on, but get a worse ending.

They have a chopper!

"It's him."

SWAT guys rappelling in! I hope Arnold is using non-lethal force on all of these guys.

 Last stage has you shooting a nitrogen tank to freeze the T-1000. Once the temperature meter bottoms out, the T-1000 gets shattered. It doesn't take long at all to deplete the meter, just a few seconds of sustained nitrogen.

However, the meter is constantly regenerating rapidly, so you have to stay right on him for those few seconds. The idea of a boss without much HP that rapidly regens, forcing you to stay on the offense, is an interesting idea. It's a fun fight, and I don't know any other fight like this in any game.

That's only the beginning of the level though. The rest is the steel refinery, where...

...factory workers rappel in like SWAT guys and attack. Lawl. They were really reaching for this level.

The final fight has the T-1000 trying to reach John Connor to impale him. Jebus. He goes through a cycle of attacks, and you're basically just fending him off until he appears in the center.

At that point you unload with everything. Only way to knock him off is to shoot a grenade launcher powerup as it falls, then quickly fire that at him before he disappears. It's super annoying, much like the final fight of the other T2 Game Boy game I looked at.

There he goes. Welp, glad that's over. The Arcade version (and console ports, even) are really fun games, and I am impressed with how much this version was able to pull off, but it really does have that distinctive LJN style and "carelessness".

At least this game gives you multiple continues...but you still go back to the beginning if you game over a few times. Still better than the horrendous regular T2 game.

If I'd gotten this as a kid when I wanted to, I think I would have actually had some fun with it, wouldn't have been the end of the world. Though, yet again, I really lucked out by getting the games I did instead of a bunch of movie licensed games, which I no doubt would have done instead if the stores had them. Ignorance is bliss.


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