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Turok: Dinosaur Hunter Review

By:

06/06/04
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE  
PLAYERS 00 
PUBLISHER  
DEVELOPER  
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence

What do these ratings mean?

I think I know why the dinosaurs went extinct.

A shadowy figure on a wall... The glint of tempered metal... Reflected from the barrel of a gun... Reflected from the steel tip of an arrow... Reflected in the cold gleam of a hunter's eye...

The bow is drawn, tensed in your hands like a coiled snake, dripping with stored energy. There is a small sound, the hiss of death. The startled sentry clutches at his lacerated neck in a vain attempt to staunch the arterial spray. Gurgling and choking, he staggers a few steps before he falls from the wall.

You quickly stash your bow in favor of an automatic shotgun. The time for subtlety has passed. You leap over the body of the fallen to dispatch his comrades to a similar, if noisier, fate. Poor bastards. They really don't stand a chance.

Such is the life of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, killer of men, machines, animals, aliens, and yes, dinosaurs.

All I want to say is that finally there is a really good game for the N64. It has been 5 months (count 'em yourself) since the release of the N64, and we haven't exactly been bombarded with games. Even the few games that have been released have been unimpressive: failing to take advantage of the impressive graphical power, like Cruis'n USA, or lacking in gameplay, like Shadows of the Empire. Take heart, N64 owners! Your time has finally begun.

The plot of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter comes to us from a 40 year old comic book series. You are Turok of the Saquin, and you are one of many. The first born male children of the Fireseed family carry a particular burden. It is their fate to become Turok in their turn. As Turok they must protect our world from the Lost Land, a universe of strange technologies, dinosaurs, aliens, people and animals lost in time.

A villain known as The Campaigner is attempting to put together the pieces of the 'chronoscepter', an ancient artifact that can pull down the barriers between times and universes. With the artifact he hopes to be become master of the whole space-time continuum. A real underachiever.

Having a bit of spare time yourself, your duty is to stop him single-handedly. Unfortunately, the Campaigner has amassed quite an army to stop you, full of human soldiers, ancient warriors, bizarre creatures, aliens, raptors, and psychos packing energy weapons riding on gigantic cybernetically enhanced dinosaurs (whew.)

Fortunately (like in most games of this genre), you are a nearly unstoppable death machine with combat skills and firepower that make Rambo look like a weenie.

The game itself takes place from a first-person point of view. Anyone who hasn't been in prison for the past few years will recognize the format immediately. With the barrel of your weapon visible at the bottom of the screen (or the tip of your arrow or the haft of your knife), the game plays the same way as Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, and a host of others.

The control, however, is configured the same way as in the Marathon series. You use the N64 analog joystick to control your view, while movement is controlled with either a left or right D-pad configuration. Firing, jumping, and the map toggle are controlled with the triggers. I like this type of control and have found it to be more versatile than most standard 3D game controls.

The graphics are simply fantastic. The 3D power of the N64 is demonstrated brilliantly. The terrain, the fully rendered texture-mapped 3D enemies, the barrels of the weapons themselves, gripped in your hands - I don't think I've seen a single sprite in the entire game. The movement is great with a smoooooth 30 frames/second. The graphics in Turok are certainly most similar to those in Quake.

The enemy animations also look great. They move smoothly, their heads track to follow you, and they can even die in several different (and sometimes gruesome) ways. One note of warning to concerned parents. The level of violence in the game is quite high, and is probably not appropriate for young children. The earlier description of a man clutching his neck and staggering about while his blood squirted everywhere was not poetic license, but an actual scene from the game.

The attention to detail is marvelous, with bloodstains splattering the wall behind dead enemies, real-time lighting, cobwebs gently drifting in the breeze, and even a terrific lens-flare effect and drifting clouds if you decide to look up into the sky.

How big is the game, you ask? There are 14 different weapons, from the knife to the fusion cannon. There are dozens of unique enemies, from big insects and carnivorous plants to demons and cyborgs. There are only 8 different levels, but they are huge, with over 5 million virtual square feet to explore. If you don't use any cheats, this one should take you quite some time to solve.

Of course, the game is not without problems (you knew I'd eventually get here). The first complaint is with the N64 controller (which I don't like). The little stick is difficult to use and is spring-loaded, making it hard to aim because it is always trying to pull itself back to the center. You need to react quickly in this game, and fumbling with the analog stick can be a pain.

Some of the levels just have too much jumping. If I wanted to jump about on moving platforms, I'd play Super Mario 64 instead. If you miss, you usually fall and die, but you can't always tell which pits will kill you and which ones won't. This can be especially frustrating because there are some pits you have to fall into in order to find certain objects.

So you spent $200 on an N64, and $80-$110 for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter... Wanna save your game? That'll be $20 more please. Like the PlayStation, the N64 requires a separate memory pack, and so does Turok. I would advise picking up this pack as soon as you pick up the game.

Even if the first person shooter is becoming an older genre, Turok is a worthy new addition. The graphics are as good as Quake's, even after you run Quake through a 3D accelerator! The wide variety of weapons and enemies keep it interesting and entertaining for hours of end. This is easily the best first person shooter for any non-computer system to date, and it ranks up there with the best that a high-end PC can offer. Looks like the N64 in the Game Revolution offices won't be gathering dust anymore.

A- Revolution report card
  • Great graphics
  • Good gameplay
  • Terrific enemies
  • Finally a good N64 game!
  • A bit too violent for the young 'uns
  • Tough to aim, tough to jump

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