The story of the game falls in line with the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day: to save the leader of the Human Resistance, John Connor, and his mother Sarah from the T-1000, an advanced prototype Terminator bent on killing them both. The player takes the role of a T-800 Terminator cyborg, already captured and reprogrammed by the human resistance, and fights alongside them against Skynet in the year 2029. Eventually, the T-800 and John Connor penetrate Skynet’s headquarters and destroy the system CPU.
Discovering the time displacement equipment, the T-800 is sent back through time to John’s childhood, with the mission to protect him from the T-1000 that Skynet has already sent back. The game allows one or two players to assume the role of a T-800 cyborg programmed to protect John and Sarah Connor and the resistance fighters against the Skynet offensive. Gameplay is set in a first-person perspective.
The game consists of seven stages, with the first four set during the human/machine war in 2029 and the last three during John’s childhood in the 1990s. If John is killed in the third, sixth, or seventh stages, the player incurs a large health penalty and must replay that stage from the beginning. The player’s primary weapon is a machine gun, which fires in automatic mode as long as the trigger is pulled.
Pressing a button on the side fires a secondary weapon (missiles in 2029, shotgun shells in the 1990s). Gun ammunition is unlimited; however, an on-screen power gauge slowly decreases with extended firing, causing the rate of fire to slow down. The gauge slowly refills when the gun trigger is released. Health/weapon power-ups and ammunition supplies for the secondary weapon are available throughout the game.