Judgment day has come to the Irvine Spectrum, with the first terminator themed virtual reality experience in Southern California. For the past 20 years, the beloved franchise has been tapping into our fears of technology outgrowing its usefulness with catastrophic results. Spaces: Theme Park and Attractions gives you the opportunity to rage against the machines and foil the terminators’ plan for world domination. Your objective is simple: break into Skynet, disable the satellite and save the world. But there’s a catch, you must undergo a reversible procedure and transform into a terminator in order to break in undetected. You and three of your teammates have 15 minutes to complete the mission. Do you have what it takes?

Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future is first and foremost an experience. Much in the same vein as the Void’s Secrets of the Empire and Pure Imagination Studios’ Alien DescentTerminator Salvation delivers an experience utilizing virtual reality with increase sensory stimuli. Participants are transported to Skynet’s rooftop and feel it with wind, floor movements, and opportunities to interact with the environment. Terminator: Salvation goes a step further and invites guests to interact with the environment and complete puzzles to achieve the mission. With the incorporation of escape room elements, participants are asked to pick up and maneuver items to defeat the terminators, which ups the stakes and assists with immersion.

Additionally, Terminator Salvation adds personalization to the experience by using avatars and a leaderboard. Participates create a 3D image of their faces that is mapped on to the body of a terminator. The inclusion of this technology adds a fun and surreal element to the experience that heightens the participant’s investment. If a participant is shot, a bullet wound is shown on their metal anatomy and smoke rises from the entry point. Although not recommended, a participant can shoot one of their teammates and see the impact. If a participant gets shot in the face, their avatar will be affected and a robotic terminator face will show through. As you progress int he game, your avatar face will slowly grow back. This attention to detail helps participants become immersed and invested in their experience. In addition to the avatar, Terminator Salvation tracks participants’ kills and provides a game element to their experience. A leaderboard is presented at the end of the game so participants can see how they fared in blasting terminators. Terminator Salvation even sends a highlight reel and screenshot of the leaderboard to each participant after the experience to reminisce about their time at Skynet.

Spaces: Theme Parks and Attractions does a superb job providing a personalized and immersive virtual reality experience that the whole family can enjoy. Children must be strong enough to utilize the VR equipment (backpack, gun, and limb sensors), which an eight-year-old will likely be able to employ effectively. There are also height requirements of around 42 inches and the accompaniment of a parent or guardian. The VR equipment is able to accommodate glasses with limited hassle if you have a vision impairment. Additionally, the experience allows the use of open-toed footwear. However, given that the foot sensors are placed on top of the foot, flip-flops and sandals can be somewhat uncomfortable. The experience did a good job of acquainting guests with the use of the equipment by allowing for target practice and greetings with your teammates before the descent into Skynet begins. Although it is 15 minutes in game and around 30 minutes total including set-up, which is comparable to the Secrets of the Empire and Alien Descent, the experience felt short and left participants hungry for more. Luckily, for a small fee participants can play again and try to beat their personal bests on the leaderboard.

Overall, Terminator: Salvation is a fun, family-friendly, and personalized attraction that will leave guests walking away with a unique and memorable experience. Tickets can be purchased as a walk-in or online at www.spaces.com for $33.83.

Danielle Nicole

From a young age, Danielle has been drawn to all things creepy, cute, and weird. In 2017, she fell in love with horror by way of immersive theater and never looked back. Her passion for consumption of Southern California’s spooky art forms has brought her to haunts, film screenings, escape rooms, immersive theater and pop-up events. With a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, she is specifically interested in exploring the psychological aspects of horror.
Danielle Nicole
VR Experience

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