This walkthrough is intended to help people new to Terminator Salvation as well as those that are just looking for some hints and pointers to complete the game with the least amount of effort. The order in which I explain the achievements is the order I unlocked them, and likely the order you'll come across them as well.
You can unlock the full 1000 in this game in just one playthrough on Hard. There is also a glitch that can let you play on Easy and use a separate account to trick the game into giving you both credit for completing the campaign on Hard which I will cover after the regular method. The method that you choose is up to you. If you're interested in using the glitch method, scroll down to the bottom of this page and give it a quick read prior to beginning your playthrough.
Even though there are no specific achievements for playing the game in co-op, having a partner makes the journey much easier. Having extra bullets whizzing about makes life easy, but the fact you can revive your partner instead of reloading the last checkpoint saves time and cursing. Honestly, even if you don't have a partner to go through the game with, a second controller will still help immensely with the revivals and extra munitions.
Besides having a partner or second controller to speed up the progress. Use cover! This game offers a cover system and it is vital that you use it, especially when facing an onslaught of mechanical monsters. Consider weapon damage when choosing what to carry. I went through the game with a shotgun as my main weapon and used rockets as a secondary. Try to save rockets, grenades and pipe bombs for when you really need them, like T-600's and the Endos. Don't waste ammo. Fire in short bursts if using a machine gun and make sure the aiming reticule is red.
There are 9 levels in total. Start a new game solo or co-op, but I suggest co-op for ease of completion even if it is an unplayed second controller.
Chapter 1 - L.A. 2016
In the first level we start to learn the controls and the fine points of the cover system.
- Duck down behind the wall and then jump over it by pressing up on the left analog stick plus the A button. If you are playing co-op, your partner will appear ahead of the wall.
- Fight your way forward, following the others. They will stop and take on flying droids called Aerostats, take cover and shoot them.
- Continue following the group. They will fight another batch of HK-Drones underneath a freeway. When that's done, follow them to the left underneath an overpass.
- The overpass will collapse leaving your group stuck fighting a T-600. Ignore the Terminator since you can't damage him, and run down the hall to a door.
- Meet up with the group back outside. Keep following them until you reach a cutscene.
- You start inside an apartment building. An HK-Flyer will be flying outside and you need to shoot it down with rockets.
- Pick up a rocket launcher and fire rockets from behind cover at the HK-Flyer. There's an ammo cache in the room you can walk over if you find yourself running low.
- As the HK-Flyer takes damage it will release Aerostats which will fly into the room. Destroy them quickly using the shotgun and continue working over the HK-Flyer. When the HK-Flyer takes enough damage and leaves, exit out the blown-out window and cross to the other building using the fallen scaffolding. Next cutscene.
- This is a rail shooter sequence. Your turret guns will overheat if you do not let them cool down after extended use. Try to fire in short bursts. If you do overheat the gun, it will cool down by itself leaving you defenceless while it does so. For this first part, aim at the Aerostats with your turret and shoot them down as they approach you.
- Later on the HK-Flyer will return. Aim for the damaged engine (the targeting reticule will go red when you are aiming correctly at it). After destroying the engine, destroy the blue targets on the front, then the plasma guns before it can take you out with them. Once all of the targets are destroyed, it will crash.
- After a cutscene, you will face a T-600 again, who will steal an allied vehicle and chase you. Ignore the Aerostats and concentrate on shooting the pursuing vehicle until it crashes. After the T-600 crashes, shoot the remaining Aerostats until the level ends.
Complete Chapter 1 - L.A. 2016 on any difficulty
Chapter 2 - Thank Heaven
- Exit the tunnel by walking up the slope and follow your group through the store front. Kill all the Aerostats ahead and continue forward.
- Marks will be killed by a tough enemy known as an T-7 Spider. Now its your job to take it out. The T-7s can only be damaged by shooting the battery pack around its backside. Your allies (or co-op buddy) must distract it while you (or your co-op buddy) shoot it in the back. Shooting it in the front enough times will stun it, but a single shotgun blast is much more effective. Be very careful fighting it as it has powerful guns and a very annoying habit of using its one-hit kill ramming attack when you stand close to it. Rockets also make short work of this beast if you are still carrying any.
- Killing the first T-7 Spider brings on two more plus some Aerostats. On the left side of this area is a staircase you can climb to gain the high ground as well as rifle ammo.
- After you kill the enemies, follow Rogers through the buildings shooting Aerostats. When you come across a dead soldier in one of the rooms, you will find grenades on his body.
- When you walk outside the building you will be greeted by many Aerostats and T-7 Spiders. If you still have the rocket launcher, use that now. If not, kill off the Aerostats first, then work on the Spiders. Once everything is dead continue on to the next area where you will get another cutscene.
- First, head outside and take care the Aerostat
- After a bit you will have yet another cutscene and be ordered to the roof of the store to defend it. Man the turret on the rooftop with the Y button (you must be standing in just the right spot for the prompt to appear). The turret can chew up anything, including T-7 Spiders, without having to shoot their backs first. Make sure to watch your backs at all times because there will be T-7s trying to flank you. Once everything is dead, you will get a cutscene.
- Now run down the street, avoiding blasts from the Harvester. Use cover until you find a hole in the street you can jump down to end the level.
Complete Chapter 2 - Thank Heaven on any difficulty
Chapter 3 - New Acquaintances
- Your goal is to make it to an extraction point. Move between the wrecked cars as you make your way to the checkpoint.
- Three groups of T-7 Spiders will come at you. The first group and some Aerostats will appear right on you; make sure to use the cars for cover to get behind them while an ally keeps them distracted.
- The second and third groups will be patrolling. As long as you don't get tagged by their sensors, you can ambush them and get some kills with grenades or shotgun blasts.
- Ammo is sparse, so scavenge what you can when you can. You will come across a wrecked building with a dead body next to a desk with a lantern. On the desk is a machine gun but keep in mind that finding it's ammo is rare.
- You'll reach the extraction point and find a group of T-7 Spiders blocking the path to the soldiers you need to rescue. Deal with the Aerostats first, then the T-7 Spiders with grenades since it's hard to flank them.
- You will get a cutscene once you reach the soldiers. Now you must defend your position.
- Keep killing without rushing too deep into enemy turf. You can go through the shop on the right side to flank them easily.
- Once all enemies are down, talk to the survivors as some will give you ammo. When you are ready, proceed down the street.
- A T-600 will attack and kill one of the soldiers. Follow your CPU controlled buddies away.
- You will hit a dead-end. Take cover and wait for Dobkins to drop the ceiling, then climb out.
- Keep running and you will enter another room with a staircase. Climb it all the way to the top.
- At the top, Dobkins will make pipe bombs for you to pick up and use against the three T-600s that are climbing up after you. Just aim towards them and hurl the pipe bomb with RB. The pipe bombs will do massive damage to them often exposing their blue battery cores. Finish them off by shooting the cores repeatedly. Dobkins will make about 5 or so pipe bombs before running out, so use them wisely.
- After killing the T-600s, a passage out will be blasted open. Follow your group through it into another room. More T-600s will storm in; shoot the pipes on the wall to blow them up. If you have a spare pipe bomb, "blind throw" it from behind cover to wipe them out instantly.
- In the next room Dobkins will make more pipe bombs and you must throw them again. A cheap trick is to have one ally sacrifice him or herself to get the T-600s to group around the victim, while the other hurls pipe bombs while they are bunched together. Once these T-600s are destroyed, the level ends.
Chapter 4 - The Sights
- Move forward and take out the T-7 Spiders and Aerostats. Nothing special here.
- Continue on and you will battle T-7 Spiders. It is wisest to attack them from the stairwell to the left, hitting them from above while your allies distract them below. There are also some grenades up there.
- Past the second group will be a battle with two T-600s called "Endos". Aim for their heads and keep firing until they go down.
- Scavenge for ammo and a machine gun, then continue on.
- After the cutscene, head down. Three T-7 Spiders will block your path. Get behind them from the corner wreckage across from where they came.
- Press forward. You can grab a shotgun off a dead soldier before dropping down into the hole.
- You will exit onto a main street leading to the office tower. Six T-7s and a horde of Aerostats will be blocking your path; the second three Spiders will come after the first group. You have to hit both groups from the left-hand side wreckage inside the building and not head-on (there will also be ammo back there for you).
- Once all the enemies are mopped up, head into the tower.
- There's loads of rocket ammo in this building; make sure you have it equipped.
- Find the Aerostats, destroy them, then head upstairs.
- An HK-Flyer will attack. Shoot him with a rocket and he will flee so you can go upstairs.
- The Flyer will return on the next floor; shoot him again. If you need more rocket ammo, just collect it from the dead bodies.
- Head to the roof and shoot the Flyer until it goes down.
- After a cutscene you will find yourself outside again. Press through the wreckage.
- You will be hit with several waves of T-7 Spiders. For the first group, it's best if you hit them with a rocket right off the bat while they are still bunched up for an easy kill.
- The next few groups will try to make a choke point on the road; you must head left up the stairs to flank them. Remember that the rifle is perfect for sniping their batteries.
- After they are down, head into an outpost. Collect the ammo and head to the second floor.
- Take out the Aerostats first, then use the turrets to mow down any Spiders below. There will be two waves of enemies. If the turret stops working and there are still more Spiders down below, hopefully you'll have some left over rockets to finish them off, because otherwise flanking them is tough.
Complete Chapter 4 - The Sights on any difficulty
Chapter 5 - Underground
- Follow the linear path through the subway station.
- You will eventually come across a fortification with plenty of rocket ammo and turrets. Save the ammo for now as you will be coming back here soon.
- Stay on the path and you will reach a human encampment and a cutscene. After the cutscene, find Barnes; a tall bald man hanging out in the back.
- Barnes will join your group. Follow him to the fortification. As he fiddles with the charges, you will have to fight off waves of machines.
- The first waves are nothing but Aerostats; just blast them. Once the Spiders show up, man the turrets to get rid of them, starting with the one on the bottom of the choke point.
- Finally the machines will be joined by T-600s. Use whatever you have left in the turrets and your rocket launcher to finish them off.
- Once all the machines are down, you'll be greeted with a cutscene.
- You will need to defend the train in another rail shooting segment. This time you have a rocket launcher with unlimited ammo. Most of your enemies will be motorbikes that you can take out just by firing a rocket into their path. Do not let the motorbikes overtake the train.
- After the first wave you will be hit with a second wave of bikes joined by T-7 Spiders trying to flank the sides of the train. Ignore the Spiders as they are slow and concentrate on the motorbikes.
- Eventually the train will stop to pick up more humans. Your squad will stay inside the train firing rockets. Just fire at everything that moves until the train gets going again.
- Protect the train again. This wave is more bikes, an HK-Flyer and some Aerostats. Simply concentrate on the motorbikes as they are far more deadly.
School Bus Commute
- Another rail shooting segment. This time you are in a dune buggy with a laser cannon. The cannon is very powerful but heats up extremely quick, so try not to overheat it. Your goal is to protect the school bus and stay alive.
- For the first segment, shoot all the Spiders and T-600s. Be careful not to hit cars as they can be tossed around and get in the way of your shots. Also watch for close obstructions moving into your line of fire, causing you to hit them by mistake and getting hurt by the blowback.
- Keep an eye out for machines as you travel; remember that once you see a "blue explosion", the machine has been destroyed and you need to find your next target.
- Eventually you will get a cutscene, and the bus will enter a freeway. Fire at the motorbikes coming up from your rear.
- When the camera angle switches you will find yourself shooting motorbikes as they swerve around your dune buggy to strike at the bus. Try to lead your shots to take them out.
- Once the school bus gets to safety, the level will end.
Complete Chapter 5 - Underground on any difficulty
Chapter 6 - Into the Wild
- The first penthouse suite will have a fight with Endos and Spiders. Blast your way to the second floor and pick off the enemies below.
- Head across the driveway into the next penthouse. This time the Spiders are guarding a dead-end and it's suicide to storm it. Instead, raid the housing to the right via the stairs, collect the ammo, and pick off the spiders.
- Endos and T-600s will eventually blow a hole in the wall underneath your perch. Take them and the Spiders out and enter through the hole.
- Head up the road. Look for a dead body along the way and raid his corpse for a grenade launcher.
- The way ahead is blocked by cars and a wrecked bus. Inside the bus is another grenade launcher. Use the bus for cover then make use of the grenade launcher rounds you have so far to destroy all the T-600s.
- Once you've fought through the blockade, follow the path to the exit.
Into the Wild
Complete Chapter 6 - Into the Wild on any difficulty
Chapter 7 - Angie
- Follow the path into the boiler room for a cutscene.
- After the cutscene, enemies will pour into the room from the entrance you originally came through. It's best to flank the sides of the door and bomb everything coming through with the grenade launcher. Retreat behind the boilers if you have to.
- The surviving enemies should be the T-600s. If you are out of grenades, find a machine gun or shotgun and shoot their chests until they go down.
- Once everything is dead, scrounge for ammo and follow your allies out.
- You have 20 minutes to make your way to the level exit. Conserve ammo as much as possible.
- The first ambush is just Aerostats. Shoot them and move up the stairs.
- Grab ammo quickly in the next area before the Spiders and Aerostats get situated. Shoot them and head into the opened warehouse, grabbing ammo for the machine gun if you can.
- In the next warehouse, be careful about entering the pit to the right of the door. Enemies can trap you in there, however if you are loaded with grenades you can overwhelm them easily. Blow up the Spiders first, then pick off the T-600s with whatever explosives you have left and the machine gun.
- Once you dispatch this group of enemies, head out the open exit. Don't forget to grab the machine gun ammo to the left of the pit.
- The next area is easier. Head up to the left and grab all the ammo you can, then start working on the enemies; Aerostats, then Spiders, then the T-600s.
- The final battle is in the next area and it is loaded with Spiders and T-600s. Round up any rocket launcher ammo you can find and blast them as fast as you can. You need to go all out on them before you run out of time. Once you've won this battle you will see another cutscene.
- This is the final rail gun sequence. This time you will use both LT and RT to fire twin Gatling guns that can also overheat. Note: you will be using what's essentially "Terminator Vision" meaning the enemies will have a red hue and blink furiously when they are killed.
- For the first section, shoot down everything in your way until you reach the first AA site. Shoot down the turrets quickly with your twin Gatling guns or they will wreck your HK-Tank.
- Once the turrets are down, clear the ground of enemies and you will be allowed to move on.
- The next site will come up quickly; make sure to hit the turrets first, starting with the one on the right, then clearing out the ones on the left.
- The third site is after the bridge. This site has HK-Flyers guarding the turrets. Destroy them immediately after the turrets.
- The final site will be the toughest. You need to quickly take out the two HK-Flyers pestering you before you reach the last AA site. Once you reach the site clear out all the turrets around you before are overwhelmed.Once you finish, the level ends.
Complete Chapter 7 - Angie on any difficulty
Chapter 8 - Every Life is Sacred
- As the level begins you'll find yourself under assault from T-7 Spiders. There is plenty of cover here. If one catches you by surprise, lob a grenade or just blast them with the shotgun quickly.
- Head up the stairs after the battle and follow the catwalk to the next fight, collecting ammo along the way.
- The next battle has quite a few T-600s and Aerostats attacking from all around. Get some machine guns and shoot their chests until they are downed. Try not break cover often or you'll be hit in the crossfire.
- If you need rocket launcher ammo, head to the left from where you came in. Kill the Spider there and grab the ammo. After taking out everything, follow the path to the next area and battle.
- Make sure to thin out the enemy ranks from the entrance first before pressing forward. There is a grenade launcher across from the entrance.
- Head into the next zone and destroy everything in front of you before pressing onward to the stairs.
- Climb the stairs onto the catwalk and follow it. You will find rockets, grenades, and other ammo. Save a rocket for an annoying T-600 sniping from the next catwalk above. There will be more rocket ammo on the catwalk underneath them.
- With everything in this area dead, head all the way back downstairs and go through the now-open garage door to exit this level.
Chapter 9 - For the Resistance
- Blair and Connor will go down their own path. Follow to a spot with plenty of ammo
- After you've cleared out the enemies below, go down and then up the stairs ahead. There is rockets and machine gun ammo below if you need it.
- Once you move past the stairs ahead you will be ambushed by Aerostats. Once you clear them all out, Barnes will set a charge that blows open an access to the control room. Stay away from the door prior to the explosion, then enter the control room to trigger a cutscene.
- After the cutscene, you will be under assault by many T-600s. Use the rocket launcher ammo lying around to destroy them.
- After killing all the T-600s, one more T-600 will appear from the doorway Barnes blew open. Kill him for a cutscene.
- After the cutscene, go down the hall where the fifth T-600 was killed. The enemies will all be shut down by Connors' actions in the cutscene, so ignore them.
- Past the disabled Terminators is the chopper. Run straight to it, ignoring everything shooting you. Once you reach the chopper, you'll win the game.
You've now completed all the missions! Assuming you did this on Hard you will also unlock the following two achievements:
If you did this on easy, and don't want to play through this again on Hard, you can use the glitch detailed here to obtain the achievements for completing the game on Medium and Hard with only the completion of the game once (on any difficulty) and the completion of the last level twice on Hard. Here is how you do it:
- Beat the game on Easy with your main profile
- After you beat the game, back out all the way to the title screen and with your SECONDARY account start a NEW GAME on Hard in co-op mode with your PRIMARY account as player 2 when prompted. Once the game starts and you have control over your character... (you hear, "John, are you okay?") you can quit and go back to the title screen again.
- With your PRIMARY account choose Replay Scenario - For the Resistance - Hard - co-op. When it prompts you to, join your SECONDARY account in. Complete the level. Even if you don't have someone to play the other controller, you can easily drag it along as this level is relatively easy and short. Once you complete the level your SECONDARY account will unlock:
- Exit to dashboard. Select My Xbox/System Settings/Memory/Hard Drive (or whatever storage device your Terminator Salvation save file is on) Either move YOUR save file to another storage device or delete it. Yes, it needs to be unavailable for this to work. The only save file that should be in Terminator Salvation now is the one that belongs to your SECONDARY account.
- Start the game up again. With your PRIMARY account start a NEW GAME on Hard in co-op mode with your SECONDARY account as player 2 when prompted. Once the game starts and you have control over your character... (you hear, "John, are you okay?") quit back to the title screen.
- With your SECONDARY account choose Replay Scenario - For the Resistance - Hard - co-op. When it prompts you to, join your PRIMARY account in. Complete the level. Once you complete the level your PRIMARY account will unlock the achievements for completing the game on Medium and Hard just like your SECONDARY account did.
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