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"Terminator... shut up and die."—RoboCop
RoboCop vs. Terminator: a graphic novel and some videogames that, conceptually, aren't any more complicated than the title. You will see RoboCop fighting the Terminator. That's about all there is to the games.
The graphic novel, however, is a fairly intricate time-travel story where a resistance fighter named Flo in the post-Judgment Day hellhole manages to break into a Skynet database, learning that Skynet only became self-aware by co-opting the mind of, you guessed it, RoboCop.
Quite possibly the only RoboCop storyline where the person out to kill Murphy isn't a Corrupt Corporate Executive seeing him as an obstacle to nefarious profiteering schemes, but, rather, one of the good guys seeking to achieve a greater good. And it hammers this point home pretty strongly when, very early on, Flo arrives in the past, builds a futuristic energy weapon with her knowledge of future Phlebotinum, and succeeds in vaporizing RoboCop's head with it.
Unfortunately for Flo, but fortunately for Murphy, this story's interpretation of the Terminator Timey-Wimey Ball is that changes in the timeline don't process instantly, but take "time" to ripple forward, giving Skynet the chance to make a last-ditch effort at saving itself by sending Terminators after Flo to stop her from altering the timeline in the first place.
While the story eventually ends with the good guys completely victorious, the trip getting there involves a crazy succession of plot twists that work well for taking Refuge in Audacity, not so much for content as for having so much HSQ that it should get tiresome rather than producing a coherent, working plot. Two more major alterations to the past result in the Terminators winning, only for RoboCop's conciousness to re-assert itself in the future, causing events that prevent Flo from ever going back in time to begin with, and defeating Skynet completely just for access to the time-travel technology so he can go back in time and solve the problem with More Dakka.
RoboCop vs. Terminator provides examples of:
- Body Horror: The Terminators force RoboCop to merge with Skynet by cutting him apart and carrying his head to the equipment.
- Chekhov's Gun: It's noted early on that time travel is "tricky business, unpredictable." This comes into play later when, rushing to send Terminators back to the past before Flo's alterations reach the future, Skynet overshoots the mark and sends them back a few days too early. While this proves to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience, it comes into play again when Skynet tries to do the same thing... but accidentally sends the last Terminator to the age of dinosaurs, where it is promptly stepped on by a T. rex.
- Contemplate Our Navels: The Terminators do this, because RoboCop is essentially a divine being to them. It gets even weirder when they start discussing the fact that he doesn't want to help them.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Though it's soon undone, when Flo takes RoboCop by surprise, he barely has enough time to realize he's under attack before he's dead. Later, when the humans try to stop the Terminators from forcing RoboCop to merge with Skynet, they're defeated as soundly as you'd expect humans armed with pistols (or not armed at all) going up against Terminators to be.
- Driven to Suicide: RoboCop, of all people. After he learns why Flo tried to kill him in the version of the timeline where she's stopped, he commits suicide to stop Skynet from becoming self-aware. When the Terminators alter time again, they force him to get better.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: One of the ways Flo sees that the RoboCop of the future is at least somewhat human is that it can pet a dog.
Flo: Well, whatever you are, you're not a Terminator.
- Ludicrous Gibs: The Sega Genesis game was known for being extremely bloody for its time, and actually earned an MA-17 rating.
- More Dakka: Flo's initial attempt to kill RoboCop succeeds because she builds an energy weapon with a barrel literally wider than his head. And his head is her target. At the end, RoboCop erases the Bad Future by winning in the future, then taking future tech missiles back in time and using them to reduce a pre-sentient Skynet into its component atoms.
- Mythology Gag: Flo uses the "White light. Pain." description of time travel that Reese used in the first movie.
- Temporal Paradox: Here, alterations to the timeline have a lag effect where the change has to "catch up" to the future. This is essentially the linchpin of the plot, as Skynet is somehow capable of sensing the impending alteration and uses the brief window to take preventive measures.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: As mentioned earlier, Flo vaporizes RoboCop's head in the first iteration with no remorse or warning. After the first wave of Terminators sent to stop her is defeated, with RoboCop's help, he's learned enough to willingly offer Flo a chance at a clean shot. But by then, after surviving the battle, Flo can't think of RoboCop as anything but a human -- and human's don't kill other humans.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The way time works here doesn't match up with any of the myriad depictions in other Terminator works.
- Versus Title