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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Future Shock Terminator
Future Shock
Video game
Published by Bethesda Softworks
Released in 1995


A private in the Resistance becomes the most important figure in the war against the machines.


Watch the 17-part walkthrough of the game at YouTube


Notes from the Terminator chronology


This story takes place in 2015.


    John Connor and Kyle Reese both appear as characters in this game, but they seem much older than they should be according to the standard Terminator timeline. John Connor should be about 30 years old in 2015, but his face is lined with late-middle age wrinkles and his hair appears to be shot through with gray. I suppose his premature aging could be attributed to the effects of war and a hardscrabble life. Kyle should only be about 12 years old in 2015, but he appears to be roughly the age we see him in The Terminator, where he came from the year 2029 at the age of 26 (though in the Skynet prequel game, Reese (portrayed by a live actor) appears to be around 16). This all would put Future Shock in a very different timeline than any seen in the existing movie, novel, and comic book series about the Terminator universe.

    Here, John doesn't seem to be aware that Skynet is going to invent time travel, which suggests he's not aware that Kyle is supposed to go back in time and become his father.

    In addition, in the timeline of this game, Judgment Day takes place in 1995, not 1997 as stated in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day (also, the nuclear apocalypse is never referred to as "Judgment Day" in this game). Also, due to some timey-wimey shenanigans at the end of the game, Kyle Reese is killed before he even gets sent back to 1984 to become John's father and Skynet is also prevented from ever being invented in 1995, preventing the machine war from ever occurring, at least up to 2015. Essentially, the events of The Terminator, the cornerstone of the Terminator universe, never take place at all!

    Since the multitudinous timelines established in the various Terminator movies, novels, and comic books tend to push Judgment Day farther down the timeline as time displacement events alter the past, it seems like the story of this game may be one of the earlier timelines since it has "Judgment Day" in 1995, the earliest version so far recorded. Thus, I have placed it as the base story of PopApostle's Terminator Chronology timelines (for now!).


Didja Know?


Despite being released in 1995, four years after the release of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, this game ignores the events of that film.


This story takes place in 2015, during the war against the machines.


The title Future Shock probably refers to the term that originated in the eponymous 1970 book by Alvin Toffler. The term is defined in the book as an individual or a society perceiving of "too much change in too short a period of time", generally due to evolutions in technology.


The game introduces two bipedal walker robots designed by Skynet for use against Resistance forces, the Raptor and the larger T-Rex.


Also introduced are Skynet Flencers, insect-like robots that spring up from behind a rock or other object to capture or kill a human, and Seekers, essentially flying mines.


When you (as the player-character) start the first level of the game, you are escaping from a Skynet prison camp, armed only with a lead pipe. After the escape and the game proper begins, an odd trick you can perform throughout the game is using the lead pipe to "blow up" objects in your path by pounding on it with the pipe. If the object you're striking is a crate, you might find some useful material inside (weapons, ammunition, etc.), but pounding other objects like furniture doesn't seem to get you anything out of it other than the thrill of an unexplained explosion...and why would a lead pipe cause any random object to explode anyway?? These exploding objects are just tables, shelves, desks, chairs, etc. left abandoned in the post-apocalyptic city. The only possible benefit I can think of that you maybe could derive from doing so is eliminating potential obstacles in your path if you should have to fight an HK or Terminator that suddenly appears.


A gag you can perform during gameplay is that you can actually shoot down the Moon with your guns! If you shoot it a number of times, the Moon will finally fall from the sky and make a funny sound when it hits ground. Again, you receive no benefit from doing so and is obviously just built in as a gag.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this game


human survivor (the player)

Sgt. Roberts (presumably dies early in the game)

Colonel John Connor (dies in this game)

Major Kathryn Parker

Dr. Bill Hanover (dies in this game)


Captain Milton Bishop (dies in this game)

Sgt. Menendez

Kyle Reese (dies in this game)

Thomas Jensen (dies in this game)

Laurie Brinks (dies in this game)

Corporal Willis (dies in this game) 




Didja Notice?


As the game opens in 2015, you are a human survivor who has just escaped from a Skynet incarceration camp in Los Angeles with the help of Resistance fighter, Sgt. Roberts. This is the first appearance of Roberts in any timeline. Roberts is hit by gunfire during the pursuit away from the prison camp and he tells you to go on without him and find an office building behind the Tiki Grand Hotel where a Resistance car is hidden you can use to make good your escape from your machine pursuers. In The Terminator, Sarah and Reese stayed a night at the Tiki Motel (a different place with similar name).


The ruins of stores called Elsewear Clothing is seen throughout the game. Though there are several independent clothing stores by this name around the world currently, the one presented here is presumably meant to be fictitious.


You soon enter the ruins of a gas station/automobile repair shop called Global Shop and then a photography store called CCF Photographic. Later you enter Carole's Music. These appear to be fictitious businesses in Los Angeles. They turn up over and over as you run around the city searching for the hotel and office building.


The car you finally find behind an office building is a pick-up truck with the personalized license plate D STROY. As you get in the car and drive, a number of other abandoned vehicles have the same D STROY license plate!


In this game, John Connor is said to be a colonel in the Resistance. As far as I can recall, the only other time a military rank has been applied to him is when he was the captain of Tech-Com in Salvation.


Connor's second-in-command here is Major Kathryn Parker. This game is the first appearance of Kathryn Parker in any timeline (though she appears first, chronologically, in Skynet).


A number of USO Gasoline trucks and gas stations are seen throughout the game. The name and logo design may have been a nod to USA Gasoline (U Save Automatic), an American oil company with gas stations located mostly in the western states.


Kyle Reese is wearing what is probably a Daggerfall t-shirt. Daggerfall is a 1996 video game published by Bethesda Softworks as part of the Elder Scrolls game series.


You walk close past the famous Hollywood Sign during the course of the game. The Hollywood Hills on which it is perched seem to be much closer to the Hollywood business district here than it is in real life. In the real world, the area around the hills is a residential area.


Shop'N'Spend is a store seen during the game. This is a fictitious business, though it may be a parody of the now defunct Shop 'n Save grocery store chain in the St. Louis area.


At one point in the game, a Bethesda building is seen. Bethesda is the video game company that made this game, though they've never had an office in L.A. as far as I can tell.


You help to retrieve a downed Aerial HK which the Resistance converts for human use. You then fly the HK yourself to make an attack on a Terminator base camp. In Skynet, there is also an HK modified for human use. Presumably that one was lost at some point, necessitating you acquiring one here.


A billboard advertising a movie called Loch Ness, coming soon to a theater near you, is seen in the city. It features an image of Nessie. Since this video game came out in 1995, this may be a reference to the real world independent movie by that name released in 1996 if the game developers were aware of the upcoming film.


During the course of the game, the Resistance's L.A. headquarters is discovered and attacked by Skynet forces, so Connor moves it to the basement of the Mother of God Church in Santa Monica. This is a fictitious church.


Dr. Hanover says they've recently seen the emergence of the T-600 Terminator with rubber skin to mimic a human. In The Terminator, Kyle Reese mentioned that the rubber-skinned infiltrators were 600-series models and easy to spot. Here, Hanover remarks that some soldiers have started calling them "rubbers".


Near the end of the game, you pass a megaplex theater. Two of the movies showing there are For the Love of a Woman and The Danish Invasion. These are both fictitious movies.


An NPP Insurance office is seen in the ruins of L.A. There appears to be an actual company by this name currently, but does not seem to have existed in 1995 when this game was developed.


At a late point in the game, you follow a highway to the main Skynet complex in Arcadia.


During the last few levels of the game, Skynet has finished developing its time displacement technology and begins both sending information about its own construction to itself in 1995 to speed up its sentience (through TDTS--Temporal Data Transmitting System) and sending Terminators and HKs to the recent past in 2015 to thwart the Resistance's (and the player's!) victories against it. The machines begin popping up from nowhere in the blast of a blue sphere of light and immediately start attacking you and the Resistance forces (this is similar to events in Timeline JD-3 in An Evil Hour, Book 3 of The New John Connor Chronicles). Eventually, even Kyle and John are killed by the Terminators and it is down to you to load a virus disk into Skynet's mainframe to stop it. Once you finally succeed in that, the timeline is rewritten so that the machine war never happened, due to corrupt data sent back in time via the Resistance's virus. Perhaps this is the timeline where John and Sarah successfully prevented Skynet's development for good in Judgment Day and neither Skynet nor Legion ever came into existence.


The future war ends much earlier than in the film series, in 2015; in fact, the entire war is erased as stated in the paragraph above.


Several characters die in this storyline. However, since the timeline is rewritten such that Skynet never came into existence, these individuals are presumably still existing in the new, peaceful timeline.


The storyline


In order to make the game's plotline more clear, I am providing screenshots of briefing sessions the player has with Resistance members (thanks to Nomad Soul, Smiggy100, and Nametag for their YouTube videos):


View Briefing Screenshots


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