The new Turok
is set in the future, on a distant planet populated by dinosaurs. Rather than the time-travel device of the earlier game, this Turok
is firmly set in the science-fiction world of James Cameron’s Aliens
. Beginning with the opening sequence, which is a pitch-perfect reproduction of Signourney Weaver’s introduction to the Colonial Marines, Turok
tracks the tried-and-true action storyline.
Here, Joseph Turok is sent with a team of what might as well be Colonial Marines to capture rogue special ops agent Roland Kane. When the team crash lands on the planet where Kane is hiding, they find that he is in possession of a virtual army of bad guys. Plus, dinosaurs. If there’s a connection between Kane and all the dinosaurs, this reviewer didn’t catch it.
But besides that plot hole, there are few surprises in this straightforward story. The familiarity isn’t all bad. One-line zingers throughout the game ring as true as any in a Schwarzenegger or Stallone vehicle from the early 90s. And the voice-acting is a notch above mediocre. By now, not having Ron Perlman in a video game might be called innovative, but add Powers Boothe, Donnie Wahlberg, and some other B-list actors, and you’ve got a fantastic palette of ironically trenchant performances. Oh, Timothy Olyphant
, how you’ve fallen!
Maybe the movie, ahem, "stars" come out when the studio backing the game is Disney. As Turok
is Disney’s first venture into the “mature” section of the gaming aisle, they’ve disguised their name. It may actually be bankrolled by the monied mouse, but it might as well have been Midway or any other producer of middle-of-the-pack shooters.
That’s because Turok
toes the generic line. There are long corridor-like levels, big predictable bosses, and lots of guns to clear them away with. In many ways, Turok
, in being upgraded to special ops agent, has lost much of his prehistoric personality. Take away the dinosaurs, and you’re playing any other sci-fi shooter.
But the dinosaurs make a big difference. All the major players are here: the raptors, the herbivores, and T-Rex himself. The dinosaur A.I. is exceptional, especially in the case of the raptors who will divert your attention in the front in order to flank you from the side. The bigger dinosaurs shake the ground (and your aim) when they tromp around, and little chicken-sized dinosaurs will nip at your heels before you wring their necks.
Most of the dinosaurs, as well as the human opponents, can be dispatched with special melee attacks. The camera zooms out for these moves, able to take in all the brutality of Turok
leg-sweeping, suplexing, and slicing open of dinosaur and human alike. These moves are fun to watch, but grow old since they all are triggered by the same button. Even worse, if you aren’t in range of the opponent, that same button causes you to perform a lame half-speed Norman Bates
impersonation with your knife. It isn’t uncommon to be spinning in a tight circle with a raptor, raising your knife like it was the proverbial roof.