Review by DandyQuackShot
"I, Am Turok!"
Just looking at the cover art of this game and you will know that this is one of the best games involving dinosaurs to date. Turok is Acclaim's most original first person shooter and Turok brings a lot of originality and design to your typical run and gun. Turok is very different from comparable games such as Doom or Goldeneye 007. The most obvious differences are the controls and the ability to jump and swim. The other differences are the mood that this game sets as well as very long missions that will get you confused about where you are in a game. The environment of Turok gives you a very isolated feeling and with various portals opening and closing at many points in the game you always have to keep watching behind your back. Now the one thing that will disappoint is the misleading subtitle of this game. "Dinosaur Hunter" is not necessarily a prelude to what you will be doing in Turok. Turok is more of a hero that has to stop intergalactic struggles going on throughout the universe to save his own planet Earth. So if you were expecting to spend this entire game trying to bag that T-Rex you will be quite surprised to find yourself ducking for cover when that T-Rex shoots a rocket at you. The dinosaurs are not a major part of this game at all although it is one of the big sell points for it. You will encounter a lot of raptors, a genetically modified rocket firing T-Rex, and some other dinosaurs, but mostly you will be fighting more odd looking creatures from other planets as well as some mindless humans who will charge at you regardless of the weapon you are holding.
If you get this game without the instruction booklet then you will be at a loss for what this game is about. The game has no dialogue apart from Turok's one liner and some other small talk. The story starts you off in a very isolated environment fighting off raptors and native warriors to collect keys and move on to the next level. This remains the premise throughout the entire game as you move through the game and fight to get to the next save point. The background story is that a bad guy named the "Campaigner" is trying to collect the pieces of the Chronoscepter (one bad mother of a weapon) to array its power and take over the universe. Turok is a time/galaxy travelling warrior that must stop these annoying tries at universal domination and must stop the Campaigner by collecting the pieces of the Chronoscepter first and using it to kill the Campaigner. The Campaigner has quite a few hired hands to help him out. A crazy hummer driving commando, a technologically advanced T-Rex and a plethora of crazy warriors and creatures out to attack you. As far as the story goes there really isn't any plot development despite this being a game based from a comic book. And although this game is very long it has no plot development at all. You are simply tasked with acquiring several keys in each level along with the pieces of that gun and then it is time to rock and roll with the Campaigner. There many different environments that will have you doing more exploring than shooting and you can pretty much well leave to the imagination what may have occurred at each of the locations to make them so desolate.
Turok's gameplay is awesome. The only real trouble that existed with the entire series were the odd controls for moving around. You have to use the C-Buttons to move around and the control stick to turn. With all of the other easier controls you can easily get things confused. Reaction time is slower too if an enemy appears behind you. What I do like about Turok are the weapons and everything else that goes into this game. Well, no, I do have one more beef about Turok which involves a retro perspective on the 2-D games and you have to run around and collect one hundred floating diamond shaped things to gain an extra life. You would never expect Turok to have a little heart for Sonic. The system is set up this way because you will have one long gaming experience ahead of you if you play this game straight through. I remember having almost played through entirely with no cheats and I was quite upset when my brother had erased my memory. Not to be discouraged however, Turok does have save points and plenty of BFG's to get you through the long levels in this game. If you are not one to enjoy a game for its challenge and difficulty then you will have plenty of fun cheats to spoil things for you. Turok is mostly all about exploring the maps and you have several puzzles that mainly involve unlocking doors to get to keys and other items. The enemies will get creepier and more difficult as you move along the game. You will encounter guys that charge right at you and of course there are the raptors. Then you start encountering bigger and badder creatures that will prove to be a lot for Turok to handle. Of course not many can stand up against the Tek Bow or shotgun with the explosive shells. And the violence level is really up there with the blood and the enemies' last throes of death.
Going back to the 2-D perspective of this game you do have to do a lot of jumping and there are plenty of ledges to miss and fall from. A short but hilarious clip of you will play falling down a bottomless hole as well as being resurrected with Turok proudly exclaiming that he, in fact, is Turok.
Conserving ammo will be a must, but you will usually be able to pick up ammo, and health off of dead enemies as you go along through levels that can take hours to finish.
The weapons are able to be upgraded and you get everything from a survival knife to the world ending Chronoscepter. Unfortunately without cheats you will only be able to use this weapon on the Campaigner, but it is still worth the rumbling glory that it delivers. There are not any vehicles that you can use so you will just have to get Turok 2: Seeds of Evil for some dinosaur riding experience. Although the only vehicle I remember in this game is the Hummer driving madman at the end of the Catacombs.
The music and graphics deserve a lot of appreciation for a lot of serious work put into this game. Graphics won't be up to par these days of course, but those polygonals were the best of the best back in the day and the game's frame rate is easily able to maintain itself with the fog that is employed. You won't be able to see all that far off in front of you but this is what helps the frame rate to never slow down. You also have plenty of blood and you can play around with dead bodies until they disappear into the mists of time. The enemies have some sort of AI and will also have their own dramatic way of dying. There is little voice acting in this game beyond the grunts and yells of your enemies and Turok remembering who he is. I am getting close to having this review done. You will be able to collect arrows that you shot as well as turn some prancing deer into venison for some added health. Underwater can be scary with the creatures that will come up on you really fast in dark underwater caves. The graphics hold up very well though as you will see. There is not a lot of scenery as you would expect from a game like this, but what you do see is good enough. With the effects of the fog and the ability for enemies to appear out of nowhere (think Star Trek) through beams of light, Turok establishes one isolated mood.
And to further expand on that mood of isolation you have one phenomenal soundtrack in this game. The music really gets you into this game and a lot of effort was put into the soundtrack for each level to get a certain feeling or mood in a particular level.
Turok is a model game for being very playable for a single player game. There are no multiplayer options at all for this game and to even mention Turok: Rage Wars in this review is disgraceful. Let's just say Turok was never meant to be a multiplayer game. However, Turok takes several hours to beat and it is definitely worth your time. For the impatient you have a plethora of cheats that range from having all the weapons to level selects. You can even play through with a variety of crazy options such as Ink Mode and even have all of your enemies dancing. Turok is a great game to go back and replay. With some very awesome bosses and a lot emphasis on exploration you get a game that is very much worth your time.
Final Recommendation 8.75/10
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a game that sets one of those precedents that no other game bearing the name Turok could ever beat. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter follows the same path as Goldeneye 007, but unlike the James Bond videogame franchise, Turok is followed up by some really excellent sequels on the Nintendo 64. Don't get Turok confused with any updated versions like the Xbox 360 version. So is this game worth buying? For any owner of a Nintendo 64 this game is a must own classic! I would highly recommend you get the entire Turok single player series of games on the Nintendo 64. Note I said single player. You may skip Turok: Rage Wars. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is the still the original classic and if you have never played this game then you are seriously missing out on videogame culture. Turok is definitely one of the best first person shooter games of all time.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/29/08
Game Release: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (US, 02/28/97)
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