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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

28-year-old shareware shooter Terminal Velocity is coming back

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In 1995, Terminal Reality released a flight sim with simplified controls closer to an FPS that let you fly over alien planets in a souped-up space jet. You zapped enemy installations and ships, flew through tunnels into each planet’s core, and tried not to get totally disoriented when you went upside down. It was a good time, and one of the only shareware games I ever owned the full version of.

Terminal Velocity is about to return in a “Boosted Edition” that’s being remastered by the same studio, and promises to include “smoother gameplay, upscaled graphics, a fast framerate, and improved sound, as well as achievements”.

PC Gamer’s Scott Wolf gave the original version a score of 86 in his review, saying, “Think of Terminal Velocity as a combination of X-Wing and Descent, with a healthy dose of Magic Carpet and Shock Wave thrown in. It’s a roller-coaster ride with complete 360-degree freedom of movement, eye-popping graphics, digital sound and the massacre mentality of a Doom clone. It blends elements of flight sim and action in a package that should satisfy people who don’t necessarily like either (or who love both).”

Terminal Veloicty was Texan studio Terminal Reality’s first game, which they quickly followed with two more combat-focused flight sims: Fury3 and Hellbender. They also developed the Bloodrayne series and Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and have gone back to the well in recent years, remastering the first two Bloodrayne games in Terminal Cut editions. Like the update of Terminal Velocity, they were light-touch remasters that preserved the original look—smeary textures and all.

The re-release is being published by Ziggurat Interactive, who seem to specialize in bringing back games only a few of us remember. It’s responsible for several of the many forgotten ’90s shooters showing up on Steam. “Terminal Velocity was one of the most exciting and innovative shooters of the 1990s and being able to revitalize it for a modern audience is a dream come true,” said Ziggurat’s vice president, Kate Woods. “The team has worked hard to update the game and provide the definitive Terminal Velocity experience, and one that we’re thrilled to share soon.”

Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition will be available on Steam from March 14.

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