Fans of dinosaurs and video games should be familiar with the Turok franchise. Born in 1997, the comic book-inspired series fascinated T. Rex and Velociraptor aficionados for a little over 10 years before it went dormant. With the property set to return with Turok Escape From Lost Valley on July 25, the following is our ranking of every title in the franchise so far.
Best Turok Games | 7. Turok: Battle of the Bionosaurs
Turok: Battle of the Bionosaurs is forgettable. This Game Boy companion title to Nintendo 64’s Turok: Dinosaur Hunter hardly evolved the action platforming genre in the same way that its counterpart completely changed the meaning of a first-person shooter. The password system, focus on exploration, and transition between top-down and side-scrolling perspectives are clearly taken from popular series on the market and don’t offer anything new. Battle of the Bionosaurs is too safe and suffers as a consequence.
Best Turok Games | 6. Turok
Turok was met with lukewarm critical reception when it launched for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on February 5, 2008 and it’s not hard to see why. Though some dinosaur animations and models are impressive, the game fails to excite from a technical perspective due to wonky stealth mechanics, questionable AI, and graphical glitches. This being said, its multiplayer mode offers a unique twist on the standard deathmatch and capture the flag modes by introducing impartial dinosaurs into every round. The beasts could quickly change the tide of battles if contestants aren’t careful. Like Battle of the Bionosaurs, Turok doesn’t offer too much to set it apart from its peers. However, it is still fun in the right circumstances.
Best Turok Games | 5. Turok: Rage Wars
Turok wasn’t the first entry in the series to offer a compelling multiplayer component, as Turok: Rage Wars gave fans a cooperative campaign and a suite of deathmatch, capture the flag, and “Monkey Tag” options to enjoy in 1999. “Monkey Tag” is novel in that it transforms one player into a monkey that other contestants need to frag in order to win. As enjoyable as Rage Wars‘ multiplayer functionality may be, its short single-player campaign may not justify a purchase by dinosaur fans who prefer to play solo. Four boss fights and waves of death matches may be interpreted as mundane by people looking for a fleshed out narrative or story-driven experience.
Best Turok Games | 4. Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion
Though Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion improves upon its predecessor Turok 2: Seeds of Evil by offering fans a wider field of view, four times the draw distance, excellent lip-syncing, and plenty of unscripted events to enjoy, its poor frame rate and muddy graphics make it seem less technically impressive on the surface. People who are able to ignore the title’s outdated presentation may find playing the campaign as either Danielle or Joseph simultaneously fun and challenging, as each character has his and her own strengths and weaknesses. Multiplayer is also pretty novel considering how there are 42 different maps to run amok in. Turok 3 offers plenty of bang for your buck and is worth looking into by fans who can disregard its lackluster aesthetic.
Best Turok Games | 3. Turok: Evolution
Turok: Evolution is the most insane title in the series, as it has fans ride atop Pterosaurs armed with rocket launchers and rip apart dinosaur skulls. Its gory nature makes it the Turok equivalent of Doom. Having a vast arsenal of powerful weapons available from the outset aids in the carnage and its easy to upgrade a pistol to a sniper rifle for long-distance destruction. A derivative narrative and wonky AI keep Evolution from being as great as a few of its predecessors and the game doesn’t offer a lot in the way of innovation. This being said, this Turok entry succeeds in being a mindless romp to play alone or with friends whenever one is pining to decimate dinosaur herds.
Best Turok Games | 2. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
It’s no surprise that Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was one of the most popular games on Nintendo 64, as it gives players plenty of freedom to explore its semi-open world environments. It evolved the first-person shooter genre with its surprisingly realistic animations and remarkably precise controls. Watching grunts grasp their throats as blood spews out is a beautiful (albeit gruesome) sight to behold. An occasionally poor frame rate and disorienting distance fog keep Dinosaur Hunter from being the best entry in the franchise, but it’s certainly still worth playing by any dinosaur aficionado today.
Best Turok Games | 1. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
While Turok 2: Seeds of Evil suffers from the same flaws as Dinosaur Hunter, its high-resolution graphics, expressive sound design, and immersive levels make up for its faults. Other Nintendo 64 games at the time couldn’t come close to matching Seeds of Evil‘s sophisticated arsenal of weapons. One can’t forget his or her first use of the flamethrower or the Cerebral Bore, the likes of which fires a homing missile that burrows deep into an opponent’s head and explodes. Stages are long and complex thanks to thought-provoking puzzles and impressive enemy AI that ducks behind cover when under fire. Seeds of Evil‘s foes are so powerful and cunning that fans may find themselves carefully planning out their approach through corridors lest they see another game over screen. The second game in the Turok series may not be perfect, but it does represent the best that the property has to offer.
Turok Escape From Lost Valley‘s adorable aesthetic certainly sets it apart from every entry in the franchise so far. Its “cute but dangerous twist” on the formula may help revive the brand not too long after its 20th anniversary. What’s not to love about teeny tiny dinosaurs?