"Dinosoids? Youch! Dat Gotta Hoit!"
We Americans love dinosaurs don't we? We all grew up going to natural history museums to look at those incredible skeletons of beasts long dead. We all flocked like a mad heard of sheep to make Jurassic Park one of the most lucrative movies of all time. Oh yes, we love our dinosaurs. We especially love to kill our "dinos," as the recent Trespasser and Carnivores, and the not so recent Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, have shown.
So then what the hell are these "Dinosoids?" I'll tell you what! They're gosh-darn communist ploys! Intended to fool us into changing the name Dinosaurs into Dinosoids: a hypnotic word intended to brainwash us all into becoming stateless zombies each time we say or type it! Well I for one resist this! I am against the dilution of our precious red American blood. I am opposed to the draining of our precious bodily fluids! Fire our missiles! Launch I say! Launch! Kill those commie pigs in… New York City? Dinosoids! Dinosoids! Dino….
Ahem. Don't try to make sense of that, it doesn't try to do the same for itself. Dinosoids actually are just the name for the Dinosaur-like monsters found in Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, the follow up to last year's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, a hit first-person-shooter on the N64 that didn't sell as well on the PC, wink wink, nudge nudge, drool drool.
Turok 2 supposedly picks up where Turok 1 ended. Turok (that wacky Native American), after defeating the badass at the end of the first game, throws the superlatively powerful Chronoscepter (the big blue explosion weapon from the first game for those of you who remember) into a volcano. Bad move. This awakens an intergalactic near-do-well insectoid called the Primagen. It is now up to Turok, who has gotten a haircut, to put a wrench into the foul plans of the Primagen over the course of 6 massive levels.
Before I proceed to tear into this game,there is one thing I feel duty bound to say: If you liked the original Turok, you will be overjoyed with Turok 2. If you hated Turok, you'd be well advised not to give this one the time of day. That said, the rest of this review applies to everyone else.
All the main faults with Turok 2 lay in its Nintendo 64 origins.
The first problem is control. Because the N64 has far fewer buttons on its controller than PC users have access to, certain traditional commands, like 'run', were simply left out. This means that Turok is always moving at a leisurely pace about half way between the typical run and walk speeds. Unfortunately, this gives the game a somewhat syrupy feel that will put off many quick-twitch PC gamers. On the other hand, control is definitely superior on the PC thanks to the use of a mouse for targeting rather than that damned twitchy N64 thumb-joystick.
The graphics also suffer from the limitations of the Nintendo 64 platform. Although the graphics are decent, with a good polygon count, tasty special effects, and good colored lighting, the entire world is shrouded in a thick fog. This is because, due to the N64's lack of power (compared to a Voodoo 2), Turok has a very short viewing distance. The fog is there so that the game doesn't suffer from an intolerable case of scenery pop-up. This, combined with the sloppy movement, makes the gamer feel as though the game is being played while wearing many layers of heavy, stuffy clothing. There is really no excuse for not going into the code and reworking the engine for a larger view distance. PCs can handle the strain.
But, not all is lost. The weapons sparkle of genius. Turok 2 features weapons like the Cerebral Bore, a weapon which locks onto the brainwaves of intelligent creatures, sticks to their heads, drains their brains onto the pavement, and then detonates their cranium. There are also some wonderful deaths in Turok 2, involving many shades of dismemberment. There are also lots and lots of types of enemies, although you really only see the Dinosoids in the beginning.
The sounds and music are adequate, the music in particular being quite compelling.
But then comes the levels. Although the levels are not quite as linear as they were in the original Turok, there is rarely any deviation from the beaten path. Much of the time this makes enemy encounters almost reminiscent of Wolfenstien 3D, as you rarely are inclined to drop down from above, launching rockets, landing in the dissipating explosions, taking out your War Blade, and slicing off your opponent's head. You wont do all that for fear of having to trek back over possibly 10 minutes of game time that took to get onto that ledge (There is still a lot of Mario 64 style jumping in Turok 2). Fortunately enemy AI is good enough to make for some interesting encounters.
To add to all that, the length of the levels makes for a lot of dull repetition in the environs which can take more than 2 hours to get through, each. The most confusing save game system ever seen doesn't help either.
There is also a distinct identity crisis here. While the original Turok took place in the jungle and in the mechanical fortress of the big daddy bad guy, Turok 2 takes place in two cities that seem to have a distinct fantasy bend. Two underground environments, also possessing that fantasy feel. Finally there are two, non-fantasy space ships. Although variety is nice, Turok 2 makes very little sense.
As far as multiplayer goes, the internet multiplay is supported fairly well, although some of the mulitplayer maps are just way to big for the number of players.
That aside, for those who liked Turok or can forgive the faults of Turok 2, it is an enjoyable game. The decent graphics, great weapons, abundance of gore, and unusual environs offer something moderately new to the first-person-shooter crowd. It's even fun. That is, until the tedium sets in and you start proclaiming your angst over all this game's N64 caused misfortunes, in song, with a New York accent, so that "Dinosoids" doesn't sound quite out of place.