Written by Mark Randel of Terminal Reality, Inc, the lead programmer of
Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.0, Terminal Velocity was the first game ever
to be released under the 3D Realms label. The slide show was released on
April 4, 1995, and the game itself followed on May 1. And thus, 3D Realms
emerged into the "realm" of the computer gaming world.
There's a second distinguishing fact about Terminal Velocity; namely, that
it made the cover of the April 1995 issue of the gaming magazine, "Computer
Player." This is the first time in the history of computer gaming that a
shareware game made the cover of a popular gaming magazine before its
release. In the article, many praising comments are made: "The 3D
environments are simply breathtaking. Utilizing cutting-edge real-time
techniques, the graphics engine creates worlds that are like nothing seen
before in computer games." And, "A great deal of attention was spent to
balance the fast action with the spectacular environment. Terminal Velocity
has achieved what many have unsuccessfully tried in the past: an incredible
combination of scenery and game play."
There are two noteworthy remarks contained in 3D Realms' initial press
release for the game. One is, "Climb into Terminal Velocity now, and you'll
never go back to flight simulators that offer combat as an 'option.'"
Wrapping up 3D Realms' plot synopsis is the comment, "You're outgunned,
outmanned, and strapped into a flying coffin. But just think how good
'Saved the Known Galaxy' will look on your resume."
The registered version of Terminal Velocity was sold both on disks and on CD.
The disk based version was discontinued in March 1997. A patch for the game
was released in January 1997 which optimizes the game for computers with
S3 Virge cards. This patch was made and released by Terminal Reality,
however, not by Apogee.
Terminal Reality later made two sequels to Terminal Velocity, both for
Windows, both distributed by Microsoft: Fury3 in 1995, and Hellbender
in 1996. In late 1995, there was also a Fury3 add-on pack called F-Zone.
Fury3, Hellbender, and F-Zone have all been since discontinued by Microsoft.
Later versions of Terminal Velocity featured, among its other multiplayer
game options, support for the now-defunct Dwango gaming network. Dwango
support was built in to the registered version of Terminal Velocity v1.1
and both the shareware and registered versions of v1.2. On June 19, 1995,
a Terminal Velocity Dwango client was released to the Internet under the
filename TVDWANGO.ZIP, which could be used by users of other versions of
the game. Since Dwango is no longer operational, this information is
interesting only as historical data.