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Video Game / Terminator 2: Judgment Day

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Nice, a Terminator playing a Terminator game.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, also known as T2: The Arcade Game, is a 1991 arcade Rail Shooter developed by Midway Games and an official tie-in to the film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Like in the film, players assume the role of the T-800, re-programmed after its capture by the resistance and sent to the past by the human's resistance leader, John Connor, to protect his younger self from the T-1000, an advanced Terminator prototype made of liquid metal and impervious to all damage.

Seven stages are available, spanning from the futuristic warzones of 2029 to present-day (1995) Los Angeles. Oddly enough, a two-player mode is also available - the resistance probably sent a backup T-800 alongside the original.

The game was ported to multiple platforms, including the Super NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Amiga 500, and MS-DOS as T2: The Arcade Game. In 2023 it got a home arcade release by Arcade 1Up.

Not to be confused with any of the Terminator 2: Judgment Day games released by other publishers (mostly LJN Toys) on consoles and home computers.

The franchise would release another arcade shooter almost two decades later with Terminator Salvation (Arcade).

Hasta la Vista, player:

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The T-1000 can take far more punishment than it's cinematic counterpart. For instance, in the film seven shotgun blasts from Sarah sends it staggering backwards, followed by a grenade to the stomach from the T-800 is enough to send it plummeting into the vat of molten steel. In the game it absorbs hundreds of rounds and multiple explosions, shrugs off multiple grenade blasts and keeps on coming until you grab a grenade launcher and blast it into the steel.
    • John and Sarah in the game are almost as durable as Terminators themselves, where they keep moving after getting hit by bullets or explosions. Somehow.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The game adds a few additional elements absent in the movie:
    • The first half is set in the future war of 2029, and depicts the player(s) T-800 fighting other enemy robots alongside resistance fighters. As well as the process of them teleporting to the future.
    • There's a massive shootout inside Cyberdyne labs with the player T-800 shooting policemen left and right, unlike the film where they're spooked by the T-800 and sent packing.
    • The steel mill finale has numerous SWAT officers actually making it into the area and trying to arrest John, unlike in the film. And you'll need to gun down everyone.
  • Adapted Out: After time-traveling from 2029 to 1995, the next stage skips directly to the Cyberdyne infiltration, completely leaving out John's interactions with the T-800 as seen in the film. Key characters in the movie like Dr. Silberman, John's bestie Tim, the foster parents, Sarah's weapons supplier Enrique, and even Miles Dyson are absent as a result - the last one rather glaring because of his Heroic Sacrifice in the film being such a big deal.
  • Airborne Mooks: Hunter Killers and robotic drones, who have a habit of swooping all over the place to take potshots either at you or other resistance fighters.
  • Car Fu: One stage set in 2029 requires you to defend a truck carrying John Conner across the futuristic wastelands from attacks by enemy robots and H-K's. Many of the former get run over into scrap for getting into the vehicle's way.
  • Child Soldiers: At one point in the Human Hideout, you can see a young prepubescent boy among the resistance fighters (listed in the credits as "Hideout Kid"). Who actually tries fending off hostile robots with a pistol. He can't be killed or injured because of Improbable Infant Survival though.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Despite the expansion in the game's first half which is set entirely in 2029, most of the game's second half seems to skim over major events of the movie, going straight for the action scenes and leaving out most of the film's character interactions and development. To be fair, it's made for arcades.
  • Crate Expectations: You'll repeatedly come across crates in several stages (helpfully marked with the words, "WEAPONS"). And recover their contents by shooting those crates.
  • Degraded Boss: Inverted Trope. Ground HK's can be seen lumbering in the distance in the first stage, they can be destroyed with just one well-placed missile. But later one up-close becomes the stage boss, and later another becomes a sub-boss.
  • Destructible Projectiles: Aside from gunfire, any projectiles thrown/launched by enemies (grenades, missiles, etc.) can be shot down in midair.
  • Escort Mission: The player has to escort John in the third and sixth stages, and protect him from the T-1000 on the final stage. If he is killed, the player will lose a lot of life and has to restart the level.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Another element made up just for the game; while infiltrating Cyberdyne there are scientists in hazmat suits and gasmasks who throw vials of chemicals at you.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link:
    • In the first and second levels, the player will lose points during the bonus count if they accidentally kill a Human Resistance soldier.
    • If John is killed in the third, sixth, and final levels, the player will lose a lot of life and have to replay it from the beginning.
  • Implacable Man: The T-1000, just like in the film itself. Fighting it as the Final Boss is a lengthy Marathon Boss battle where it tanks bullets and explosions like no tomorrow and keeps on coming.
  • Invulnerable Civilians:
    • Subverted with resistance fighters in 2029; if you accidentally kill them, points will be deducted from your bonus score.
    • Sarah and John Connor can be seen running around in a few stages. They couldn't be killed by bullets either (yours, or the police), should they be gunned down they'll fall over for a second before getting back up.
  • Kubrick Stare: The T-1000 appears doing one in the high score's screen.
  • Losing Your Head: You can shoot off the T-800 endoskeletons' heads, they will keep going for a few more paces before collapsing.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The first few stages set in the future war of 2029 have the players aiding the resistance in battling Skynet's robot army.
  • A Molten Date with Death: The T-1000 is killed by getting dropped into a vat of molten steel, just like in the movie.
  • Multiple Endings: Whether you completely destroy Cyberdyne Systems in the second mission depends on what ending you get:
    • If you destroy all of Cyberdyne's equipment, you get the good ending, indicating that Judgment Day is averted.
    • Leave one piece of equipment intact, and you get the bad ending, indicating that research at Cyberdyne will continue, and that Judgment Day could still happen. Also, John's picture turns red as well.
  • Random Drops: You can get a random award by shooting a CPU when it pops loose from an endoskeleton head (level 1) or computer monitor (level 5).
  • Robotic Reveal: The second stage (before the Time Travel sending the players to 1995) have un-modified T-800 robots (with Schwarzenegger's likeness) as enemies. Shooting them reveals their robotic interiors.
  • Robot War: The game's first half, which is set in the Skynet takeover in 2029 with you assisting resistance soldiers in fending off a robot army.
  • Set Swords to "Stun": The player's T-800 presumably has a Thou Shall Not Kill order from John, just like in the film. And yet the 1995 stages have them shooting at human mooks regularly, where they're presumably just maimed by bullets and explosions (somehow?).
  • Smart Bomb: One with the symbol of a nuke painted on its side, which can be used to clear the screen of enemies.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • By default, characters killed in the film (like the foster parents, and Miles Dyson) don't die in the game, due to being Adapted Out.
    • While the game ends with the T-1000 getting melted alive, there's no indication that the T-800 decides to follow suit in order to complete his mission. The game just ends at that point.
  • Stock Footage: The game uses footage from the movie as cutscenes between levels.
  • A Winner Is You:
    John Connor is alive.
    Cyberdyne has been destroyed.
    Your future is what you make of it.

Alternative Title(s): T 2 The Arcade Game