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Download Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity
 
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Terminal Velocity is a 3D sci-fi shooter where players control futuristic flying craft. The game was really something when it came out. Created using early 3D graphics, it's a bit boxy but still very nice, mostly thanks to the colors. Perhaps it's strange, but the original use of colors managed to both make the game look good and give it a unique style. Packed with lots of action, good graphics, and good sound effects, combined with a few interesting features, Terminal Velocity was one of a kind.

One thing should be clear: this is an arcade action game, not a simulation. This means that flying, shooting and any surrounding physics are simplified to the bare minimum. There are only a few things to handle, like movement, speed, and weapons. Your craft is ignoring any gravity, so there's practically no difference between space and atmosphere. You rotate your craft, change speed, switch weapons, and fire. The point of this is obvious: the main focus of the game is on the action. This is a fast action game created for lovers of the genre; no realism and no complications - the player needs almost no time to adapt to the game and rush into the battles.

Earth was head of the council between alien races that was established to prevent interspecies war. Every system was equipped by Earth for this reason. After seventy years of peace, armadas from other member systems came to Earth and wrought horrible destruction. You are an Earth pilot flying the most advanced fighter - the TV-202. The goal is to save Earth and solve this sudden situation by facing down numerous enemies.

Just like in old FPSs, the game is divided into three episodes, which are in turn divided into three missions, each having three levels. Each particular mission is set in a different environment, with various types of enemies. As for the levels, the programmers added as much variety as they could. Every level is played in a more or less similar way - reach the goal and then move to the next one until you beat the level. But these goals can be different things; sometimes you must simply reach checkpoints, sometimes destroy installations, or find the entrance to a tunnel. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but everything is set up so that nothing is repetitive, and it'll keep you playing. Once all objectives in the level are accomplished, your last checkpoint is Departure Unit (in other words, to reach some sort of exit). At the end of the mission you face the boss.

As already mentioned, the game has a couple of interesting features: First, the levels can be roughly divided into two separate parts - flying in the open and flying through tunnels. In almost every level there are tunnels that you must pass through to continue with the level. You have the ability to fly in any direction when flying in the open, but in the tunnels you must fly straight forward. Inside there may be enemies, obstacles, upgrades, or sometimes there is nothing but an empty tunnel that you must fly through. These empty ones usually have interesting light effects. This mixture of tunnels and free flight adds even more to the variety, preventing any possible monotony in the game. The second feature is the existence of the afterburner. It allows you to fly at high speed so that your enemies can't follow.

Ground enemies are pre-ordered for each level. As for flying craft, they are pre-ordered too at some places in the level, like checkpoints. But most of the time you will be under constant attack by a few flying craft that keep spawning as you destroy them, forcing you to keep moving and preventing you from falling into lethargy between checkpoints. If you are not an explorer type of player, you can use the afterburner to easily move from one checkpoint to another, avoiding unnecessary fights. In some long empty tunnels you are supposed to use the afterburner, otherwise your trip will be slow and long. Fuel for the afterburner is found as upgrades.

In the levels that take place on planets with atmosphere, there is a cloud belt in the sky. This allows you to fly above the clouds, making you invisible to ground units. This allows you to deal with the flying craft separately before taking care of the ground targets. You can even bypass ground units completely, unless your goal is to destroy some of them. Also, sometimes you will have to fly above the clouds to reach your goal.

Most of the in-game view is taken up by the main action screen. In the upper right corner you will see a short-range radar. The proper course for reaching your goal is always "up" on your radar, while your own course is shown by a rotating arrow. Flying crafts are represented by orange dots, tunnels by yellow ones; light-blue dots represent ground targets while upgrades are represented by flashing dark-blue dots. By turning the short-range radar off and switching on the long-range radar, those dots will be shown all over the screen. In the upper-left part you can see the necessary info, the most important being the distance from the checkpoint and ammo. Between the information panel and the radar you can see a yellow bar (damage) and a blue bar (speed).

Level areas are huge, giving a lot of space to investigate and look for hidden or distant installations and tunnels that may provide you with upgrades and bonuses. The investigation will usually gain you some upgrades. Still, you may choose to stick to the course and finish the level as quickly as possible. Level areas are limited by an "invisible wall". If you fly too far from the goal, you will ricochet back.

There are seven different types of weapons: Only two are lasers that have unlimited ammo. Picking up upgrades for the laser gives you more ammo. In the case of lasers, upgrades give you the possibility of shooting two or four beams at once with limited ammo. So there is not much variety in upgrades. Besides weapons, there are only energy packs and afterburner fuel.

One slightly weak point can be the enemy AI, since all flying craft have similar maneuvers regardless of their type. Also, they maneuver regardless of terrain, so they may run into a hill. That just pops them up and they keep flying, which is probably the easiest way to solve this. Otherwise, they would be falling to the ground like raindrops if you fly near the surface and fight them.

This is an absolute must for all lovers of the genre. Although the technical specs can't match today's standards, it's the gameplay that still makes this game great. Simplicity, variety, speed, action... Enjoy it!

Don't place the game into a directory that contains more than 8 letters or the game might return weird errors.

Give it as many cycles as possible, preferably over 15000.


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Reviewed by: marko river / Screenshots by: marko river / Uploaded by: marko river / share on facebook
 

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