Review by KFHEWUI

"Turok Evolution has all the elements of a great game yet it has two major flaws that hold it back from perfection"

Tal'Set, survivor of the Saquin tribe, and Bruckner, leader of the unit that crushed Saquin tribe, are engaged in a duel, and during the fight a portal opens and thrusts Tal'Set into the Lost Lands however Bruckner also was sent back in the past. He meets a tribe of water people, and the strongest member of the tribe, Djunn, agrees to help Tal'Set in his journey. Strange creatures and weapons have appeared in the Lost Lands, and Tal'Set realizes Bruckner was also sent through the portal. Tal'Set and Djunn set out to stop Buckner.

Turok Evolution has a good story, and before each level there is a brief explanation of progress that has been made. Although this game shares the same name as the console versions, the story is completely different which is no surprise since this version was developed by a different company.

Turok Evolution is a 2D action game, and the best way to compare is to Metal Slug. The gameplay is fast and fluid like Metal Slug however it does not have the cartoony nature of the Metal Slug series. The single player campaign is composed of twenty levels that take place over five areas (four levels per area), and the game will take players through forests, ruined subway system, and mountains to name a few areas. Like Shadows of Oblivion, this time players can choose from two characters Tal'Set and Djunn, and Djunn has one advantage over Tal'Set which is melee weapon which can also be used as a grappling hook to reach out of reach areas. Aside from the design and melee weapons, both characters play the same.

Enemies come in a nice variety including human enemies and a nice mixture of animals and dinosaurs, and the human enemies will endlessly spawn. This is a big problem because a missed jump will sometimes result in having to climb back up, but by the time the player gets up a nice army of enemies is waiting to wail upon the player. Not only this but some of the enemies can take a ton of damage before dying. One particular enemy can shoot fireballs and is met later in the game, and I emptied almost two hundred bullet into the enemy from a machine gun even this was not enough to kill the enemy. The bosses are unique and also suffer from extreme health, and they can take a beating before going down. This would be okay if it were not for one major issue, and the boss levels start out with a side scrolling section were enemies will attack the player. So the player has to survive an endurance run before they can even fight the boss and this would be okay if there was health in the level. Yes, boss levels have no health at all so if the player reaches the boss with less than half their health, well they are in for a tough fight.

There is a nice variety of weapons including flamethrowers, machine guns, shotgun, and rocket launcher to name a few plus there are also alien versions of every weapon except melee weapons. Choosing the right weapon for the moment is key since some weapons are more effective on certain enemies than others.

The game looks beautiful, and the graphics are gorgeous. The enemy sprites are nice and detailed, and the popping effect when they die and turn into a cloud of blood looks great. The bosses are unique and unforgettable including a blob that has to be electrocuted, an armed train car, and Buckner's fight is completely unforgettable. Backgrounds are detailed and beautiful, and there are a nice variety of locales. Enemies and characters are nice animated, and before the start of each level is a still shot screen that looks great. Sadly the game recycles the same shot for each level in the same areas.

Controls are solid and the layout is good, and the controls are responsive. It does not take too long to grasp the controls, but if there is one issue I have with the controls, it is that the weapons cycle to slowly. This can be a big problem in the heat of battle when the player is being attacked by numerous enemies.

The soundtrack sounds great, and there is a large selection of tracks. Each one is catchy and unforgettable, and the boss tune is definitely a great tune. Sound effects are not bad with enemies screaming, and creatures sometimes howling.

Scattered across the levels are dream catchers and picking up this item will give the player armor, and the blue bar next to the health bar represents how much armor the player has. Also in the levels are stars, and these stars allow the player to summon a water spirit that does an attack that hurts all enemies on screen. One star is required to summon the water spirit. These attacks are best saved up for bosses or tough patches of the game. Health is scattered around the levels and are represented by what looks like a shield with a red cross. A big problem is that the health is poorly placed, and it can frustrate some players due to the fatal flaw with the game.

Turok Evolution is brutal and unforgiving even on normal (lowest setting), the game will repeatedly hand the player their butt on a silver platter, and at first I accepted the challenge. This did help fuel my desire to beat the game however as I progressed through the game, and the difficulty continued to go up, my desire quickly faded. There is nothing wrong with a challenge however the reward for beating this game just is not worth the effort at all.

Sadly a few tweaks, and the game could have been a lot better. For example if there were more health and placed at better spots, and the biggest change should have been with the respawning enemies. The enemies respawn to quickly, and they can overwhelm the player very easily. Since there is no checkpoint system, this means the level has to be beaten without dying which results in having to play the same section over and over again just to learn the layout of enemies. Ultimately, it is not fun.

Another issue is the password system which is composed of two lines, and one line is for the character Tal'Set or Djunn while the second is for the inventory. A password is given at the end of every level. Every password is composed of FOURTEEN characters, and this is unacceptable. There should have been a save system for this game, and with the absurd difficult and long passwords, it makes hard to play this game on the go.

As for replay value, there are two difficulties, but there is co-op so two players can play at once however two GBAs, two copies of the game, and a link cable are required.

Turok Evolution has all of the right elements for a great game however the sadistic difficulty completely ruins the game which is a shame because there is a solid game here that not many are going have the patience or desire to see through to the end.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/15/12

Game Release: Turok: Evolution (US, 08/26/02)

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