It’s always a bit of a gamble returning to games of yesteryear. You may have fond memories of a game you played in your youth, but it might not have stood the test of time. Every once in a while, though, a blast from the past surprises you. Take Terminal Velocity, for example. Originally released on PC in 1995, it’s made a return on modern formats. And while it may no longer impress with its visuals, its gameplay still proves to be one hell of a hook.
Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition takes the original game and adapts it for current PCs as well as PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Just don’t go into it expecting a comprehensive remaster; beyond adding widescreen support, upping the resolution and tweaking things like the draw distance, the game remains largely untouched. It’s a bit of a shame, as it really does look dated now, but once you start playing you’ll be in a forgiving mood.
This is an arcade-style flight combat game through-and-through, the type that they hardly make anymore. Taking control of an advanced craft, it’s up to you to wage war against the ASFAR, an alliance of alien races that for some reason has attacked Earth. And so across a considerable number of missions, taking place on a range of planets, you must strategically eliminate targets while defending yourself from attack. It’s a simple premise, but it’s all that’s necessary.
While a lack of inertia may make controlling your own ship seem a little alien at first, it’s just one of the reasons why Terminal Velocity may win some players over. You don’t get too bogged down by the act of flying here: it’s uncomplicated, leaving you to focus your attention on destroying aerial and ground based targets. And for much of the time you will be flying quite low – if there were realistic flying physics, it would be a nightmare.
What really makes Terminal Velocity feel unique, even today, is its tunnel sections. Every once in a while a mission will require you to enter a tunnel, momentarily making the action much more claustrophobic. You’ll need to quickly take down targets that appear in front of you, adjust your speed to safely make your way through doors that are constantly opening and closing, and avoid other obstacles. It’s tense and thrilling stuff.
Being so old, Terminal Velocity doesn’t hold your hand or have many of the quality of life elements you get from a new title. Originally, you’ll have had to study to the game’s instruction manual to figure out some of its mechanics. Now you’re left to figure things out for yourself, or at least perform a Google search, which might be off-putting to some. The latter can also help with tracking down cheat codes, which still work in this new version.
If you’re after a fun, old-fashioned arcade shooter experience and don’t mind the dated graphics, Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition is certainly worth its budget asking price. It’s not a comprehensive remaster of the close to 30-year old game, but its exhilarating gameplay still shines through.