There are certain games from your childhood that you just don’t expect to be re-released on modern hardware nearly three decades after you played them. For example, I don’t think anyone is expecting a game like god of thunder to appear suddenly on Nintendo Switch (hey, it could happen.) Another one of those slightly obscure PC games I would never have imagined playing on a modern console is Terminal Velocity, a sci-fi shooter title from 94 that has been given a fresh coat of paint and booted out onto the Nintendo Switch, PC, and various other systems to see if it still holds up. Can Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition still entertain all these years later?
Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition – A Brief History of Blasting
As we’ve already expressed, Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition is a shooter from the DOS era that isn’t quite 6DOF, if you catch my drift. Instead, there’s much more of a focus on flying around the map as quickly as possible, taking out targets, and making it to the exit with as many kills and points as you can. Along the way, you can get your hands on a bunch of different weapons, from lasers to missiles, as well as an afterburner that gives you access to a frankly insane level of speed. You can also come across secrets, such as weapons hidden inside enemy installations or even tunnels, that can help you to cut down your time result.
Despite what you personally may remember from the game if you ever played it in the 90s, it does actually have a story. In the far-flung future of 2704, an entire galactical alliance with a funny name (ASFAR) attacks Earth, so you take a powerful ship out into the galaxy to take down each planet in turn to stop the War between Earth and ASFAR. It’s a relatively flimsy plot in all honesty, but it serves the purpose of giving us a series of different planets with different enemies on each to take down, each ending with a ruler or boss of some kind that you have to beat in order to end the level.
Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition – High-Octane Gameplay…in Space!
The game has much more of a focus on high-speed gameplay and shooting down enemies than it does on flying and exploration. Each mission gives you an arrow to follow between objectives, and you basically follow it and take out anything you come across. There are the aforementioned tunnels to find and optional targets for more pickups, but it’s overall very simple. In a way, this helps it during the move to modern audiences since it doesn’t have any overcomplex instructions that were previously relegated to the manuals/boxes.
That’s also part of the reason why the controls have ended up working out shockingly well in the move to a console. You’ve got accelerate and decelerate mapped to shoulder buttons, with your main attack, weapon changing, and steering relegated to the face buttons and analog stick. That’s pretty much all you have to worry about, so despite a lack of a tutorial, you can figure out how to play the game in about 30 seconds. In a modern age of pick-up-and-play gaming, it turns out that Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition fits right in.
Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition feels incredibly satisfying to play. Controlling your ship feels, if anything, better than it did on the PC with a mouse. You can deftly fly about the place and even have access to a third-person view if you struggle with aiming yourself or your weapons in first-person. With the simple-to-follow instructions, it’s great to just boot a random episode of the three that are included and blast away at a new set of ships. Each level has around three stages, and typically they’ll end with a boss encounter. It certainly has a formula to it, but it’s mindlessly fun and feels like the sort of thing you can pick up and play for a few minutes at a time when you’ve got a second to kill.
Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition – Woes of Old
Now, that’s not to say that a port of a game this old isn’t without its problems. For instance, I don’t ever remember getting stuck inside the world or having the game crash on me back in the day. It’s not too frequent of an occurrence and mostly relates to the game’s save system, so you can typically avoid it becoming an issue for you. In another double-edged sword, the gameplay is also relatively anemic for a modern palette. You can blitz through most of the game pretty quickly, maybe an hour or so in the entire thing. While this is great for speedrunners and makes any potential crashing problems a bit easier, it does mean you won’t get a hefty experience for your money.
Both the graphics and visuals for Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition are pretty great. But, I would say that, because I love mid-90s PC gaming as an aesthetic. If you prefer high fidelity, then you’re certainly not going to get it, but in many ways, it’s hard to beat the stylistic consistency that these older games seem to present. There’s also a pretty great soundtrack accompanying the game if you can hear it over the sound of laser fire and enemies exploding into the mountains below. In some ways, it would have been nice to get some extra features, like a music library or some art/production tidbits. I suppose you can find it all online these days, but it does seem like something fans of the original might have appreciated.
The only real negative you can extrapolate from this release is the fact that it didn’t really do anything special with it. Most of the updates are graphically in nature, with no extra content being easily discernible as far as I could tell. It’s mostly just a straight port that works on modern hardware, which is great but doesn’t really seem to be what you’d expect from a game that has ‘Boosted Edition’ in the title.
When all is said and done, Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition is a pretty top-notch modern port. Minor bugs aside, it looks great, plays well, and has the sort of face-paced action gameplay that makes for great bite-sized levels full of bad guys to blast. Sure, it’s not something like Wing Commander: Privateer that you’re going to get invested into and devote hours at a time to, but it’ll always be there when you want to blow away a few enemy ships. The move from 90s PC to modern home consoles probably couldn’t find a better poster child than this.
TechRaptor reviewed Terminal Velocity: Boosted Edition on Switch with a code provided by the publisher. It is also available on PC.