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A game from 1995 has left me astonished

User is offline   Altered Reality 

  • 205

#1

The game is Terminator: Future Shock. When it came out, reviews bashed it, calling it "too hard" and "with abstruse controls", so I just forgot about it, convinced it would be crap... until recently. I saw some screenshots and thought: "It doesn't look that bad for the time, let's try it."
So I tried it, and...

HOLY
FUCKING
SHIT

Not only it was NOT excessively hard, but it featured fully polygonal environments and enemies! Mouselook! Free roaming in vast environments! Driving levels! Destructible objects!
Which doesn't seem much nowadays, but this was 1995! TWENTY YEARS AGO! When most first-person shooters looked like this, as opposed to this!

Now, why the hell wasn't this game elected BEST GAME OF 1995? Why didn't it receive updates, source ports and level editors, when Quake did, despite being a lot more limited and released a year later? Why is everyone still talking about Quake, while Terminator: Future Shock is almost completely forgotten? Was it really THAT complicated for 1995 gamers, enough to scare them off?

If your brain tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, get rid of those silly doubts and listen to your brain.
-
There is no darkness, only the absence of light.
There is no cold, only the absence of heat.
There is no faith, only the absence of logic.

This post has been edited by Altered Reality: 23 July 2015 - 04:52 AM

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User is offline   MetHy 

  • 1,557

#2

Yeah Terminator Future Shock is amazing. So is Skynet. The atmosphere is amazing, and the open environment? Goddamn.

What's even more amazing is that I remember playing the demo on my 486 dx4 100mhz. I couldn't play Quake on that thing that's for sure. IIRC it ran even better than DN3D
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

  • 661

#3

Heh, recently I found a pre-release demo of this game. Never played it before. I thought I sorta knew what to expect because the game runs on XnGine, the same engine that powers Daggerfall. However immediately after starting the demo I got the impression that Future Shock really was well ahead of its time. I mean, I never expected a 1995 FPS game to have a dedicated grenade button, bound to RMB by default (this is in the pre-release demo; I think they changed that in v1.0). Generally it plays like something from 2001-2002 or above.

I have no idea why Future Shock turned out to be largely overlooked. Perhaps many of the concepts it pioneered were too novel back then? Or maybe it got overshadowed by other titles, either Quake or maybe even Daggerfall?

If you want to check out the pre-release demo you can get it here:
RGB Classic Games - The Terminator: Future Shock

The demo version number is 0.144, and there are some noticeable differences from the final release (textures, weapons etc.). The demo does not allow to save the game, but every time you enter or exit a structure all maps will be reset to the initial state - all enemies and pickups will be replaced. That way you can stock on ammo at the starting location.

The demo includes a somewhat modified mission from the full game comprising three levels which can be played in any order. There's also an updated demo version 1.0 which has the same levels but everything is updated to the same state as the final release. The save game feature is also present in this version.

Also, here's a nice review of Future Shock:
Super Adventures in Gaming: The Terminator: Future Shock (MS-DOS) - Guest Post
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User is offline   Tristan 

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#4

I had the pre-release demo of this game but could never get it to work. It looked really cool, and I'm a huge Terminator fan. I'm not sure where the disc is now though, and I'm not sure if the demo disc is a rare item or not.

I'm not sure why I had so much trouble getting it to work. The disc was in great condition. Maybe I was just stupid and didn't know what to do, but the game would not run at all is all I can remember, but the PC could play Duke, Doom, Heretic, and Quake so I'm not sure what the deal was here.

It's amazing how many FPS games there are from 92-00 that are practically hidden. It's like a damn treasure hunt that you find a lot of gold, with some logs of shit in between.
For example, there's a shitty game called Depth Dwellers that I don't think many people have heard of, and it is pure shit. It's so bad. That game deserves piss poor reviews but there wasn't a single person around to review it. Then there's those shitty Pie in the Sky 3D engine games like Gore Galore, and then you'll find out about games like Future Shock, Chasm: The Rift, etc. that are great or at least decent games that seem to have never been noticed.

This post has been edited by gerolf: 23 July 2015 - 11:39 AM

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#5

Skynet is still awesome for its advanced features. The only downside is the game is buggy as hell. It even allowed to play Future Shock for those who also owned it in high resolution, but it was said to be very crash-frequent. Bethesda should release the source code for someone to make a modern port of it, it deserves! Terminator Rampage was also another great game.
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#6

View Postfilipetolhuizen, on 23 July 2015 - 05:15 PM, said:

Bethesda should release the source code for someone to make a modern port of it, it deserves! Terminator Rampage was also another great game.

A source code release would be great, however does anyone know if they still have it? There's that story that the source code of Daggerfall was lost when Bethesda moved to another office, although I don't really know the details.

View Postgerolf, on 23 July 2015 - 11:29 AM, said:

I had the pre-release demo of this game but could never get it to work. It looked really cool, and I'm a huge Terminator fan. I'm not sure where the disc is now though, and I'm not sure if the demo disc is a rare item or not.

Was it the same thing as this?
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User is offline   RunningWild 

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#7

[Pirate link removed by moderator.] Here folks. Ready to Rock n' Roll.

This post has been edited by Hendricks266: 28 July 2015 - 09:28 PM

2

User is offline   Hendricks266 

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  #8

View PostRunningWild, on 28 July 2015 - 05:50 PM, said:

[Pirate link removed by moderator.] Here folks. Ready to Rock n' Roll.

U wot m8?
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User is online   Radar 

  • 995

#9

Woah, that actually happened? I once posted a link to pirate all 4 generations of MLP including episodes, movies, books, comics, and soundtracks.

This post has been edited by Sgt. Rarity: 29 July 2015 - 08:26 AM

1

User is offline   Hendricks266 

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  #10

View PostSgt. Rarity, on 28 July 2015 - 10:28 PM, said:

I once posted a link to pirate all 4 generations of MLP including episodes, movies, books, and comics.

Posted Image
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User is offline   Person of Color 

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#11

View PostRunningWild, on 28 July 2015 - 05:50 PM, said:

[Pirate link removed by moderator.] Here folks. Ready to Rock n' Roll.


Fuck Bethesda :) .

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User is offline   PsychoGoatee 

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#12

View PostAltered Reality, on 23 July 2015 - 04:51 AM, said:

Now, why the hell wasn't this game elected BEST GAME OF 1995? Why didn't it receive updates, source ports and level editors, when Quake did, despite being a lot more limited and released a year later? Why is everyone still talking about Quake, while Terminator: Future Shock is almost completely forgotten? Was it really THAT complicated for 1995 gamers, enough to scare them off?

Agreed on your points about hidden gems. But I'll answer a the rhetorical questions anyway. :) Quake to me has masterful design, the levels are incredible, the combat is incredible, the atmosphere is incredible. I just played through the Scorge of Armagon add-on beating it yesterday, stuff holds up too. (That one has levels by Duke3D's Levelord too). Quake deserves it's hype.

As for best game of 1995, I dunno, Twisted Metal? Warhawk? Full Throttle? For me it'd probably be Twisted Metal, got a lot of fun playtime out of that.

I will admit I don't know much about the modding side, but is the Quake engine more limited? I did miss Future Shock at the time, but it does look like it had some technological innovations. My guess is Quake levels have to be smaller?

This post has been edited by PsychoGoatee: 29 July 2015 - 02:39 PM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

  • 661

#13

Just because one game is good (er even excellent) it doesn't mean that its other contemporaries should be this overlooked. There had to be other factors in play that affected the popularity of Future Shock. According to MobyGames, critics gave the game mostly positive reviews. At the same time, the game only got 70% score from Computer Gaming World, whereas the same magazine gave 100% to Quake.

I suspect that, much like with other Bethesda titles, tech issues played a part in reducing the game's appeal to the players. Also it is my understanding that it wasn't very moddable (if at all).

On another note, it appears that someone is/was working on a Win32 port:

I haven't been able to find any downloads yet. If the author made the code public, perhaps it could be used in the XLEngine project as well.
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User is offline   Lunick 

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#14

Posted Image

:)

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User is offline   Daedolon 

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#15

I've been trying to start writing a reply post here for the last few days, but bouncing between computers has made it a bit hard. I guess I'll do a proper writeup when I find the time, but I just want to say that both SkyNET (and to a lesser degree, Future Shock) have been some of my all time favourite ever since 1996 and 1995 respectively. There's a lot of more to offer in the games that might initially be visible after playing the games for the first time.

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#16

I wonder how the author of FutureShock32 accomplished this: did he write the engine from scratch or reverse-engineer the original DOS executables? Either way, the code could probably be used in XLEngine to a degree (or perhaps in a different XnGine recreation project). I suppose that at least theoretically, the author could open source parts of the code without it being a copyright infringement to the Terminator franchise holders. However, the author might probably not be willing to do that (yet)?

BTW, here's some absolutely amazing MP demo footage from the project:

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

  • 661

#17

I just found out something that I did not know before. Apparently, people were so impressed by the control scheme of Future Shock (in particular, the mouse look feature) that they requested a similar option for Duke Nukem 3D shareware, which was implemented in v1.1:

Quote

This would have been the ULTIMATE game of all time, if I hadnt played
the demo of 'Terminator-FutureShock' .DN3D is better, but the control
system in 'Terminator...' was pure heaven...100% intuitive. Sorry, but
Duke's look up/down feature is more or less ROTT all over again...
Stale and Unwieldy (but the look left/right bit is funky!) PLEASE
3DRealms - a patch to let you program the mouse movements as well as
the buttons, and this game will start religions in the future!!! [source]

Quote

First up...do any of you think Apogee actually takestime out to read
any of these posts?
Anyway...PLEASE implement a patch to program mouse MOVEMENTS as well
as buttons. Why? Try playing the demo of Bethsedas
'Terminator:FutureShock'...not quite as good as Duke, but dig that
'lookaround' effect with the mouse...it pisses all over Duke's use of
Home/End for looking up & down...This would make Duke3d the Perfect
Game!!! Also, hows about some comm-bat levels, a-la ROTT?
Anyone else agree? [source]

Quote

The Patch came out today (2/20/96, or 20.2.96). It's only 631k or so,
<...>
- They have a lot more control options in the setup. There is now
options for Terminator: Future Shock control. Its implented
handily, by pressing U on the keyboard, you can enable the up/down
aiming with the mouse. In addition, there is an option to make it
so that you have to hold down U in order to aim. [source]

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

  • 661

#18

Just stumbled upon a short review of the game from early 1996:
http://www.nuke.com/cgr/reviews/9603/shock/shock.htm

The conclusion of the article made me chuckle :)

Quote

Doom-clone veterans will cry blasphemy over the keyboard control scheme.

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User is offline   Daedolon 

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#19

That's really hilarious, especially considering FShock was one of the games to properly pioneer mouse aiming.

Lunick: I can't believe you can pre-order Duke Nukem 3D in 2016
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User is offline   MusicallyInspired 

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#20

I have to find a copy of this game sometime...never even heard of these Terminator games growing up. Or Elder Scrolls for that matter. I guess because neither I nor my dad were into RPGs. Just shooters and adventure games mostly.

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#21

There's a fairly large playable demo if you want to check out the game. (I've only played the demo TBH.) The demo includes one mission from the full game, split into three levels which may be played in any order. You can get it here:
http://www.classicdo...ture_Shock.html

There are actually three known versions of the demo: two pre-release ones and an updated version that matches the full game. The pre-release demo has generally much darker graphics, which is something people have complained about back then. Also every time you enter/exit buildings in the first map all enemies and items are reset, allowing to hoard large amounts of ammo and items. The demo v1.00 adds the option to invert the vertical mouse axis.

Also there's a demo of SkyNET, also with one mission to play:
http://www.classicdo...ame/SkyNET.html
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User is offline   MusicallyInspired 

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#22

Thanks. Were there any more of these Terminator-themed Bethesda games?

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User is offline   leilei 

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#23

There's The Terminator, which is essentially The Terminator in the Vette! universe, graphics and scope-wise.

and then there's Terminator 2029 which was a grid-based first person dungeoncrawler-esque thing.

and there's Termiantor Rampage which came out near Doom's time and had a clunky Wolf3d-esque pre-Arena 3D engine with lighting and rotating doors and a bad control scheme.

Whether these games are fun or not, it's up to your willing to go through the usual Bethesda-brand masochism.

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This post has been edited by leilei: 18 May 2016 - 05:55 PM

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User is offline   MetHy 

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#24

View PostMrFlibble, on 18 May 2016 - 12:32 PM, said:


There are actually three known versions of the demo: two pre-release ones and an updated version that matches the full game. The pre-release demo has generally much darker graphics, which is something people have complained about back then. Also every time you enter/exit buildings in the first map all enemies and items are reset, allowing to hoard large amounts of ammo and items. The demo v1.00 adds the option to invert the vertical mouse axis.


This must be the one I played back then. I vividly remember you could go into that store and it would load another map. Wasn't it the first FPS to link several levels like that? It was before Strife at least. Wasn't it the first to use mouse aiming to look up and down as well? I think Marathan had mouse aiming by default but you couldn't look up/down ? It was also probably the first FPS with driveable vehicules. What about full3D environments and 3D models in a FPS?
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User is offline   Daedolon 

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#25

Always love a good discussion about video game firsts :D

I think we locked down the first FPS with mouse aiming in another thread, but I think Future Shock really cemented it as there was no real way of playing it with keyboard only (rugged vertical terrain, no autoaim). Tons of games before it were true 3D, but I would have to agree it's one of the first FPS games to be true 3D. Vehicles you could leave and enter were also available in earlier FPSes (need to recheck which), but after Future Shock, in 1995-1997, this feature saw a big rise in popularity in FPS games as well.

Although nobody can surely say Future Shock can lay claim to any of these innovations, it's one of the first cohesive wholes where all of them just work perfectly. Truly a classic game.

I remember playing the games back when they came out and I was completely blown away by the fact you could enter buildings, let alone the mouse aiming and the 3D engine.

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#26

View PostMusicallyInspired, on 18 May 2016 - 02:47 PM, said:

Were there any more of these Terminator-themed Bethesda games?

You can read some rather comprehensive reviews of all (up to Future Shock) at Ray Hardgrit's blog:
http://superadventur...tor-ms-dos.html
http://superadventur...029-ms-dos.html
http://superadventur...age-ms-dos.html
http://superadventur...ock-ms-dos.html

There's a playable demo of Rampage which you can get here. Take the file called ramdemo.zip, the other one doesn't seem to work.

View PostMetHy, on 18 May 2016 - 11:47 PM, said:

This must be the one I played back then. I vividly remember you could go into that store and it would load another map. Wasn't it the first FPS to link several levels like that? It was before Strife at least.

Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls: Arena does that too - if you're willing to consider it an FPS that is.

View PostDaedolon, on 19 May 2016 - 12:33 AM, said:

I think we locked down the first FPS with mouse aiming in another thread

Was it CyClones? :)
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User is offline   Cage 

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#27

My problems with Future Shock was that the levels were too large and the interior sections too mazey. But then again, last time I played it as a kid :) Liked everything else about the game and I loved that it took place in the post Judgement Day future that you could never see too much of in the movies.

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#28

I just found a playthrough of Future Shock with SkyNET's high-res upgrades:

The game looks simply amazing. Check out the driving section in level 2.
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User is offline   X-Vector 

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#29

Does anyone know what the best CPU settings in Dosbox are for the Future Shock demo?
Everything auto makes the game run too fast and using fixed cycles results in a very low frame rate (tried up to 20k).
I'm currently using a combo of normal core, auto type and auto cycles and that plays well, but the default walking/running speed seems on the high side (certainly higher than SkyNET).
Is this correct?
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

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#30

Both the Future Shock and SkyNET demos run adequately for me with dynamic core and fixed 30k cycles. On a side note, I'm using an old build of SVN Daum.

AFAIK, auto cycles just switches to max cycles if a protected mode programme is run. Otherwise it uses the default amount of cycles.
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