It’s hard to imagine that the best Terminator video game, was one that was intended to be the NES licensed game of that said franchise, but lost the licensed near the end of its development cycle. Journey To Silius was that game. An NES title that shares a lot in common with Batman, on the same system.
Both of these games were made by Sunsoft, an NES developer and publisher that made some of the toughest titles in the 8 bit era. Journey to Silius is no different, with some difficult stretches towards the later half. The level layouts and enemies you encounter are more akin towards a fantasy sci-fi setting, rather than the futuristic and early 80’s settings that the Terminator movie dealt with. Even with the omissions of a story and setting that closely resembled the famed motion picture epic, like Batman on the NES, Journey to Silius contained a setting and enemy line up that, outside the final bosses, did not follow either franchise very much. However, what was presented was an engaging layout filled with trickery, intense fights and thorough satisfaction.
The comparisons between the two IP’s do not end here; while the music bears no resemblance to either of the movies, they are some of the most well composed, fitting musical scores you’ll encounter during this gaming era. Sunsoft in general has been responsible for a whole cast of memorable soundtracks across several titles, and Journey to Silius is no different. The effects work well and represent what they should, though they are nothing spectacular.
The art direction was a peculiar one, as the darker overtones of the movie are absent, and in their place holds a more colorful, fantasy/sci fi look. Although Sunsoft made changes late towards the development cycle to compensate for the lack of a Terminator license, the enemies and your character look more like an 8 bit rendition of an 80’s sci-fi cartoon. It’s still a unique style, and it fits the game more as Journey to Silius than it would have if it remained a Terminator title. Although enemy types change up with each level you progress through, the current level you participate in, lack a lot in terms of enemy variation. You’ll come across newer weapons every time you defeat a sub boss, expanding your arsenal frequently enough. Unfortunately, your unlimited rounds provided by your meager handgun can serve you much better than a laser gun that eats through ammo like no one’s business. The only come into play during boss battles, and even still, only a couple of them are viable options.
The journey to Silius may have had a topsy turvy pre-launch, but once they touched down, Journey to Silius took off to the stars and beyond. Sunsoft reminded us all about how they were able to masterfully command a large percentage of their titles on the NES. With a high but tolerable difficulty and a strong, fitting soundtrack, you’ll definitely be going back to the future to take on the challenge once again. Although the weapons are a non factor during gameplay outside boss fights, there’s no monotony to the gameplay, whether you use the handgun or drain your ammo reserves with the other weapons you encounter. Journey to Silius is definitely a title you’ll want to have in your collection, though it’s not the easiest title to come across.