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Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

Rated M for Mature

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Acclaim

Developer:

Iguana (Texas)

Released:

February 1997

ROM Size:

64 megabits

Players:

One

Genre:

3D Action/Shooter

Save:

Controller Pak (16 pages)

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 3.9 out of 5.0

Introduction

Upon putting Turok: Dinosaur Hunter into the Control Deck, it was quite easy to see that this game would be one of love and hate. Some will just love it (take a look at other reviews) and others will not. In my opinion, the game can best be likened to Quake: A game with a lot of hype that just doesn't quite live up to it.

Gameplay & Control

Everyone who has heard of Turok knows about the unique control scheme. Using the C group to move, the Control Stick to aim, the R button to jump, and the Z button to fire is very difficult to get used to at first. It honestly feels unnatural to aim with your left thumb. Once you do get use to it, though, you realize just how important it is to the game. Turok's gameplay would lose a lot without the full range aim that you have. The problem is that this makes jumping somewhat of a struggle, especially those diagonal jumps.

 

Turok's gameplay is, without question, the make or break part of the game. Because the game uses polygon-based enemies instead of sprite-based enemies, it means that you won't be fighting hordes of Raptors. The levels in this game are also huge. As a matter of fact, these are the biggest levels you've ever seen. Each one literally takes hours to complete.

 

Although some will like the exploration factor of Turok, it will become frustrating for others. The levels are so huge, in fact, that you will almost assuredly miss one of the required keys that you need to find on each level. This can be very frustrating having to backtrack and trying to figure out where they're at. To make matters worse, you can only save at designated points in each level. The amount of space in between each save point is almost ridiculous. There are also sporadic checkpoints to start from if you die in each level, but it would have been much easier if you could just save anywhere you want and restore your game from there. Another annoying aspect of the gameplay is the regenerating enemies. If they're going to force you to go back to find a save point, then the least they can do is let all the dead enemies stay dead.

 

Turok definitely has some pluses, though. First of all, the game has the coolest weapons ever seen in a video game. Some of the weapons later on in the game defy belief. Another plus is the cool violence factor. The bigger the weapon, the bigger the mess. Each enemy has multiple kinds of death animation, depending on what they were shot with. Blood also goes flying through the air and even sprays on the wall. Disappointingly, just about all the enemies and blood disappear after a few seconds.

Graphics & Sound

Turok has the most beautiful graphics you've ever seen in a 3D action/shooter. Everything is composed of polygons. But the downside to this is the excess fogging to cover up the pop-up in the game. Although cool on some levels, it gets bothersome in some of the places you wouldn't expect to see it.

 

The sound in Turok is much more ambient than Quake could ever hope to be. There are constant drum beats pounding throughout the levels, and there are roars of lions, dinosaurs, and other jungle creatures throughout each level. Fortunately, you can also hear when enemies are getting close to you. Just to gripe a little, the music is all similar in nature and loops too quickly.

Conclusion

Bottom line? Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is not a game for everyone. Although I wanted to like the game, it was too frustrating and boring for me. More variety, less fog, smaller levels, higher intensity, more dinosaur enemies, and being able to save anywhere are improvements that need to be made in my book. Let's hope the forthcoming sequel addresses some of the game's problems.

 

Graphics:

4.7

Sound:

4.2

Control:

4.1

Gameplay:

3.8

Lastability

3.2

OVERALL:

3.9

 

DOWN THE ROAD

As promised, I decided to give Turok: Dinosaur Hunter another rental about a year later. And I must admit that I do enjoy the game more than when I first reviewed it—mainly because I got a better grasp of the control scheme. I still believe Turok was hyped a little too much, but I also understand why people like it so much. I still have a few problems with it, though, most of which I imagine will be fixed in Turok 2. First, jumping in the game is still insane. Jumping wouldn't be a huge problem if you didn't flat-out die in so many places. Second, the save/checkpoint scheme isn't good at all. Considering the levels are so huge, there needs to be far more save points and more checkpoints. Third, with such huge levels, the game would be better off if it were more non-linear. Finally, the sequel will definitely need a huge boost in replay value—hopefully through different objectives and/or a multi-player mode. Nevertheless, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was still impressive a year later and is probably second only to GoldenEye 007 as the best one-player 3D action/shooter on any platform (at this point).

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: March 13, 1997

Appendix Added: March 6, 1998

 

 

 

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