Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

Shade’s Review of Terminator: Dawn of Fate

Posted on this Site: Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Originally Published on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2015/02/shades-review-of-terminator-dawn-of-fate.html

I would like to break away from the usual a little by covering two non-horror titles.
I know this blog is called Shade’s Adventures in Survival Horror, but it’s nice to do different things sometimes.
This post is about Terminator: Dawn of Fate, which was released in North America and Europe on PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2002.
It was developed by Paradigm Entertainment, and published by Infogrames.
 
As obvious by the title, it’s based on the Terminator series particularly the future war shown and foretold by Kyle Reese in the first film.
It takes place right before Reese is sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor, John Connor’s mother.
Sergeant Reese is playable along with two other characters: Captain Justin Perry and Lieutenant Catherine Luna.
Perry was mentioned once by Reese in Terminator when he and Sarah are at the police station, and he is questioned by Dr. Silberman.
General John Connor appears as a non-playable character.
 
There are ten levels, and each level has players controlling a specific character.
Sgt. Reese for levels one, two, six, and ten.
Capt. Perry for levels three, four, five, and nine.
Lt. Luna is played in the seventh and eighth levels.
The entire game is a third person shooter.
If the player uses a turret, the camera view switches to first person.
 
The Right stick moves the character, and the Left stick moves the camera when L1/L bumper (PS2/Xbox buttons) is held.
L1/L bumper locks onto an enemy, and players fire the equipped weapon or throw an equipped explosive with the square/X button.
X/A is used to fight hand-to-hand combat with the electric baton.
When L2/L trigger is held, players access the inventory.
Adrenaline can be turn on and off with R1/R bumper, which makes the character move faster and fight more aggressively.
 
Before playing the game, there is a Basic Combat Training option in the main menu that serves as a gameplay tutorial.
There is a lot of collecting ammo, medipaks, armor, and pieces of Skynet technology.
Each Skynet tech is worth points that can be used between each level to upgrade medipak healing, armor, ammo capacity, and adrenaline.
There is a lot of pushing buttons and pulling levers.
In a couple levels, another character has to be escorted.
A list of tasks is shown by pressing the select/back button along with settings and controller layouts.
Of course, the game is primarily about shooting different types of Skynet machines.
 
There are several different types of Skynet machines in the game.
Three series of terminators appear: T-400, T-500, and, of course, the T-800.
The T-800 Infiltrator (T-800 disguised as a human) shows up in a couple scenes, and as a boss during a level.
When I first played this game, I was a little scared to fight the terminators because the T-800 endoskeleton at the end of the first film frightened me a little.
New enemies are present called Skynet Initiates.
They are humans taken by Skynet, and mind controlled with a device attached to their heads.
H/Ks (Hunter/Killers) are also in the game as mentioned by Reese in the first movie, and shown in the future war scenes of the movies.
 
One enemy mentioned by Reese in the original film, but is not in the game is the T-600.
The game has the T-400 and T-500 but no T-600.
I don’t know why, and I can’t find any information on it.
In fact, there is very little information online about the development of this game.
It would’ve been great to have the T-600 as well as it’s rubber skinned infiltrators.
The T-1000 is a no-show as well.
It’s not a surprise, however, since it’s possible that the T-1000 was a very new and mostly unheard of model by the end of the war.
 
Dawn of Fate also has other story inconsistencies with Terminator 1 & 2.
First off, the game takes place in the days leading to Reese and the T-800 traveling back to 1984, but it gives the year as 2027.
In Terminator 1, Reese and the T-800 came from 2029.
In the opening scenes of Dawn of Fate, John Connor narrates that sending Reese back in time to protect his mother is his back-up plan if they can’t destroy the time displacement machine before the terminator is sent.
In the film, Reese says that he volunteered to go back because he wanted to meet Sarah.
Reese in the game sees the terminator being sent back through the time displacement machine.
In the movie, however, he had no idea what the terminator looked like.
He had to wait until it was about to kill Sarah to attack it.
There are a few others, but those are the main ones that I noticed.
 
There is also the gameplay issues of changing camera angles with no tank controls.
It’s very common to accidentally go in the wrong direction because the camera angle changed.
I like switching camera angles especially in horror games, but Dawn of Fate doesn’t do it very well.
This is not an issue, but I would like to address that the characters look nothing like the original actors in the first two films.
Infogrames probably did not have the rights to use the likenesses of the original actors.
 
Despite the issues, there are several things I like about this game.
For one, it’s so much fun fighting terminators and other Skynet machines.
It’s even more fun when metal music plays while fighting.
The metal band Fear Factory contributed a few of their songs to this game.
Metal plays when you’re fighting, and ambient music is played when not fighting.
Dawn of Fate has a very good soundtrack.
 
Speaking of a good soundtrack, I love the opening scenes of Dawn of Fate.
Part of it is the music.
It also has good narration by the voice actor of John Connor, and the war scenes along with the character interaction afterwards is a great introduction.
I watched the opening scenes over and over before I would actually play it.
I would put in the game just to see the opening scenes.
The voice acting is pretty good.
There are a couple lines that are a little cheesy, but I like cheesy dialogue.
 
A couple more aspects I like consists of the title: Dawn of Fate.
I’m not sure why, but it sounds good.
Another one is that the loading screens in between levels shows the head of a T-800, and it’s red eyes slowly lights up as the game loads.
It’s really neat, and it’s better than just having a typical loading icon or an on-screen bar that fills up the more it loads.
 
Lastly, as far as I know of, this is the last non-film based Terminator game that takes place during the future shown and foretold in Terminator 1 & 2.
There were few other Terminator games released in the 90’s that were not based on any particular movie such as the DOS games Terminator 2029, Terminator: Rampage, Terminator: Future Shock, and one just called Skynet.
There was also Robocop Versus The Terminator released on Sega and Nintendo systems in 1991-94 (depending on the region and system).
 
Dawn of Fate is also the only video game (that I know of) pre-Terminator 3 that focuses on the events leading to Reese and the T-800 being sent to 1984.
I’ve always been fascinated with that part of the story.
I will admit that I do wish that Dawn of Fate was more focused on Reese’s story.
As far as human characters, Terminator 1 was more focused on Sarah becoming the mother of mankind’s future leader in the war against the machines.
Terminator 2 was about Sarah and ten-year-old John as well as their relationship.
I would love to see a Terminator prequel to the first two films focusing on Kyle Reese, and his relationship with John Connor.
Reese and Connor do interact in Dawn of Fate.
The only thing, though, mentioned about their relationship is towards the end of the game when Luna tells Perry that “Reese is the son Connor never had.”
That is a great idea, but it would be better if the game showed their relationship rather than having a character say it.
 
The replayability of Dawn of Fate is good.
There are three difficulty modes: easy, medium, and terminal.
Each of the ten levels has six medals, and achieving four of them unlocks something in extra content.
The extra content are cutscenes, cheats, music gallery, threat data (descriptions of enemies), and concept art.
You must achieve four medals in all levels on all three difficulty modes to unlock everything.
The cheats are definitely worth unlocking, but they can only be unlocked by playing on terminal mode.
And, terminal mode has to be unlocked by completing all levels on medium.
Everything is unlocked in steps, which is a good way to give players an incentive to play the game several times.
 
Terminator: Dawn of Fate is not a wonderful game, but it’s very likeable.
A video game does not have to be a AAA title to be good.
It can be appreciated even with its flaws.
Bad games can also be enjoyed.
I wouldn’t say that Dawn of Fate is a bad game.

It has issues, but it’s still a decent game.

I played it many times when I was a teenager, and I still like to play it every now and then.
I recommend it to Terminator fans who have a PlayStation 2 or an original Xbox.
You should be able to find it for a couple dollars.