Terminator 3 has you shooting all over the playfield to get to the wizard mode. The biggest down side for some people is the RPG, which stops the game for a bit, but it's a fun interruption. You can disable it if it starts to get annoying.
If you had to pick one or had a small collection, I'd say pick the T3 unless you have some nostalgia attached to the T2 (like me). However, If you can swing it I'd get the T2, play it for six months, then sell it and get a T3.
T3 is the better game by a large margin. T2 is a classic layout and has longer shots and I believe the chase loop on it feels much faster than the one on T3, but the rules, music and lasting appeal are far better on T3. Biggest negative about T3 is that it is ugly as hell.
Although I agree that, gameplay wise, T2 < T3 on my personal list...T2 is definitely NOT mediocre. It's a well designed game for a time where rule sets were much simpler and demand was high amongst the customer base (ops) for something simple and quick.
T2 only falls short of T3 in 2014 because the landscape has changed since 1991. T3 offers more rule depth and more stuff to accomplish, which is much more welcome in an era where pinball is mostly a game played in private basements.
They both fall short to Ritchie's ultimate Terminator layout design, AC/DC.
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