For the Adherent of Pop Culture
 

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
at popapostle-dot-com
Terminator: Skynet Terminator
Skynet
Video game
Published by Bethesda Softworks
Released in 1996

 

Skynet comes into possession of the most powerful nuclear missile ever developed and intends to use it to wipe out the entire remnants of Los Angeles in 2015 in order to stop John Connor and his Resistance forces there.

 

Watch the walkthrough of the game at YouTube

 

Notes from the Terminator chronology

 

The game does not state the year in which it takes place. Since it is a follow-up to the 1995 game Future Shock and since that game took place in 2015, but with an ending that rewrote the timeline to one in which Skynet never existed and the war against the machines does not ever take place (at least up to 2015), it is presumed that this game is actually a prequel, presumably taking place shortly before the events of Future Shock, in 2015.

 

Didja Know?

 

This 1996 game is a follow-up to the 1995 game Future Shock, but would seem to actually be a prequel to the earlier game, as  Future Shock ended with a rewritten timeline in which Skynet never existed and the war against the machines does not take place up to 2015. Also, a number of characters from Future Shock are seen here even though most were killed in the Skynet-reality of that game before the timeline was rewritten.

 

Only Terminators up to the T-600 model are encountered in this game, as Future Shock had already stated that the T-800 is encountered for the first time there.

 

In this game, John Connor is said to be a colonel in the Resistance (as is also stated in the earlier game Future Shock). He is also referred to as a colonel in Bethesda Softwork's 1992 Terminator: 2029 video game (PopApostle has no plans to cover that DOS-based game at this time). 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.

 

John Connor and Kyle Reese both appear as characters in this game, but they seem older than they should be according to the standard Terminator timeline. John Connor should be only about 30 years old in 2015, but his face is lined with middle age wrinkles. I suppose his premature aging could be attributed to the effects of war and a scavenger way of living. Kyle should only be about 12 years old in 2015, but he appears to be roughly 16.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this game

 

Resistance soldier (the player)

Thomas Jensen

Pachowski (mentioned only, deceased)

Weaver (mentioned only, deceased)

Major Kathryn Parker

Colonel John Connor

Dr. Bill Hanover

Kyle Reese

Kent (mentioned only)

Sarah Connor (mentioned only)

Vic (mentioned only)

Sanchez (mentioned only) 

 

 

 

Didja Notice?

 

A Dunk 'Em Donuts shop is seen in ruins of Los Angeles in the game. This is a fictitious business, certainly a parody of the real world Dunkin' Donuts chain.

 

    Early in the game, the player-soldier discovers a nuclear missile in a Skynet facility. The missile has Hades MX71396 stenciled on the side. The MX may be a reference to the so-called "MX Missile" (MX=Missile Experimental), officially named the LGM-118 Peacekeeper missile produced by the U.S. military from 1985-2005. After returning to the Resistance HQ, the player-soldier tells Dr. Hanover that the missile's serial number started with the word "Hades" and Hanover recognizes it as a model developed by the U.S. and was the largest nuclear missile ever made in response to the large missiles of the Soviet Union. This appears to be a fictitious U.S. missile model, but France did develop a short-range nuclear missile called Hades as a deterrent to any potential Soviet plans to invade Western Europe. The actual largest nuclear missile ever made was the Soviet RDS-202 Tsar Bomba, an experimental bomb of which only one was ever built.

    Hanover says that only one Hades missile was built and never tested; apparently Skynet's forces found it. 

 

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

 

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 appear to have existed in 1995 when this game was developed. It is also seen in Future Shock.

 

Joan's Bookstore is seen in the ruins of L.A. This appears to be a fictitious business.

 

Carole's Music is seen in the ruins of L.A. This appears to be a fictitious business. It is also seen in Future Shock.

 

Global Shop is seen in the ruins of L.A. This appears to be a fictitious business. It is also seen in Future Shock.

 

Sophia's GA Boutique is seen in the ruins of L.A. This appears to be a fictitious business.

 

    The player-soldier comes upon and enters a night club caled Tech Noir. This is the club Sarah Connor tried to hide at after hearing about the "Sarah Connor" murders and finding Reese tailing her in The Terminator. The club was on Pico Boulevard in L.A. in the film. A poster for a band called Cherry Bomb is posted on the wall outside; inside we see posters for an anime girl called Mushi "LIVE EVERY FRIDAY!!", the On Accidents, and Mao Mao. The interior of the club looks like an updated version of the one seen in the film. For some reason, the place is still lit up with neon and dance lights, a rotating disco ball, and is filled with various types of Terminators!

   Near the end of the player's excursion into the club, dancers suddenly appear on the dance floor! One of the dancers, a man in a white suit, is obviously meant to be the character of Tony Manero in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever (portrayed by John Travolta); the dancers do not hinder or help the player in any way. It seems the whole site is more of an easter egg for the player than anything else.

 

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. It is also seen in Future Shock.

 

Inside the Cyberdyne Systems building, the player-soldier sees an old message in the data banks reading, "To Security: Detain Sarah Connor if she comes by the building again. The LAPD has a warrant for her arrest." This may be a reference to Sarah's desire to stop Cyberdyne from developing Skynet in the first place, as depicted in Judgment Day.

 

The player-soldier finds another old message in the data banks reading, "USS Las Cruces has arrived in LA." The Las Cruces is later seen to be a U.S. nuclear submarine. This is a fictitious sub of the U.S. Navy. The sub is named for city of Las Cruces in U.S. state of New Mexico.

 

Another old message the player-soldier finds in the data banks is, "To Miles: The SkyNet AI is learning as planned. Think of the games you could make with this!" Miles must be a reference to Miles Dyson, the inventor of the neural-net processor that leads to the development of Skynet as detailed in Judgment Day.

 

Another old message the player-soldier finds in the data banks is, "THX1138> Art server is down." THX 1138 is a 1971 science-fiction film co-written and directed by George Lucas.

 

Another old message the player-soldier finds in the data banks is, "To Carl: LA test silo has broken ground. (33.40N.117.96W)." The numbers appear to be the latitude and longitude of Huntington Beach, CA, near Los Angeles. However, John Connor later says that the coordinates indicate the test silo must be in the desert to the east of Los Angeles, far from Huntington Beach.

 

Jensen flies an HK modified for human use to rescue the player-soldier from the roof of the Cyberdyne complex. Presumably this one is lost at some point, as another HK has to be captured and converted later in Future Shock.

 

A number of USO Gasoline trucks and gas stations are seen throughout the game. It is also seen in Future Shock. 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.

 

When John Connor tells the player-soldier that the coordinates indicate the test silo must be in the desert to the east, the soldier says the machines would have to take the missile along Route 91. CA State Route 91 is a freeway running from Gardena to Riverside, ending shortly before hitting the desert region.

 

On the way to the 91 Freeway to intercept the missile convoy, the player-soldier passes a Big Buns restaurant. Presumably, this is meant to be Big Jeff's (home of the Big Bun Burger according to a receipt seen in Resistance), the restaurant Sarah Connor worked at in The Terminator.

 

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