The Terminator: Dawn of Fate is a straightforward action game that features characters and story events based on those found in James Cameron's Terminator film series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the gameplay isn't particularly good, it's decent enough that fans of the film series might as well consider checking out the game, since it does offer up some impressive visuals and reveals more of the futuristic world of the Terminator films than has been seen before. The Xbox version of the game is almost identical to the PlayStation 2 version, with the one real exception being more prevalent lighting effects.
The story of the game serves as a prequel to the Terminator movies.
The story of the game serves as a prequel to the Terminator movies and follows the events leading up to the first film. The setting is a war-torn postnuclear world in which cities have been reduced to rubble and the human population is near extinction at the hands of a cybernetic menace. John Connor is the leader of the human rebellion, and you must help him reach the time machine that brings Kyle Reese--Michael Biehn's character from the first film--into the past to protect Sarah Connor, John's own mother. During the game, you play as one of three characters, including Kyle Reese. Though they each look different, they play identically.
The game includes 10 missions, each filled with various objectives ranging from holding off an endless swarm of terminators to providing cover for teammates who have to plant explosives in specific locations. During the course of the game, the story unfolds through some decent-looking CG cinema sequences as well as in-game cutscenes. You also have a comlink that allows you to pick up new objectives midmission.
The actual gameplay mechanics found in The Terminator: Dawn of Fate are extremely simple. You can take out your enemies up close with a little hand-to-hand combat or by shooting them from a distance. The hand-to-hand combat is controlled by one button that delivers either heavy blows from your plasma baton, leaping kicks, or foot sweeps, depending on the direction you're pushing on the analog stick during your attack. Shooting enemies can be done in two ways--in a third-person mode using an automatic aiming system that lets you move and shoot at the same time or in a first-person mode that lets you aim more accurately but prevents you from moving. At some points in the game you'll come across fixed plasma gun turrets that can be fired only from a first-person mode, but since their rate of fire is so much higher than that of your handheld weapons, you can typically destroy your enemies long before they can even fire on you.
You'll pick up a variety of weapons as you make your way through the game, including auto pistols, assault rifles, rocket launchers, canister bombs, and C4 explosives. You'll even get to fire futuristic weaponry, like a pulse cannon that can zoom in like a sniper rifle to take out targets from afar. While the projectile weapons are fun to shoot, fighting endoskeletons up close hand-to-hand is much more effective. You can simply knock them over with a foot sweep and follow it up with a downward thrust of your plasma baton to destroy them. It's not much of a challenge. You also have what's called an adrenaline boost that increases your character's strength, which you can use when you've got a lot of terminators to deal with at once. Activating this changes your character's attacks a bit and adds a blurring effect to emphasize your heightened state.