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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41573)
Written on  :  Feb 27, 2012
Platform  :  Nintendo 64
Rating  :  4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

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No first-person shooters featured dinosaurs ... until now

The Good

When I was a kid, I remember reading these comics titled Turok: Son of Stone which my father had around for years. He was a fan of the adventures of Turok and his sidekick Andar. Over the years (post-Dell), the rights to the comic book were handled by Golden Key Comics, then Western Publishing, then Valiant, then Acclaim Comics. In 1997, in conjunction with the rebooted comics, Acclaim released a series of video games. The first one, titled Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, was a commercial success.

The game featured Tal'Set (Turok), a Native American tasked with protecting the barrier between Earth and the Lost Land. Someone calling himself the Campaigner is seeking an ancient artifact called a Chronoscepter. To prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, the Chronoscepter was broken up into eight pieces and scattered throughout the land. Realizing how very powerful it is, the Campaigner plans to use a focusing array to magnify the Chronoscepter's power, destroying the barriers that separate the ages of time and rule the universe. Tal'Set plans to find the Chronoscepter pieces and put an end to the Campaign's schemes.

Right at the start of the game, you are instructed to search for the central hub and use keys to open portals. Usually, you find these keys on a pedestal which is scattered throughout the levels, and quite a bit of exploration is required to find them. You also have to find one of the Chronoscepter's piece, cleverly hidden from view, and use it to defeat the Campaigner in the end. You can still defeat him without it, but it's going to take a long time.

Stopping you from completing your task will be a variety of enemies as well as dinosaurs that attack you for just being there. Soon not long after the game starts, you encounter poachers dressed in Tomb Raider outfits; then two levels later, you see warriors who make use of their peashooters; then eventually, you come face to face with robots that really don't belong in this game. Their death animations are nice, especially when they start by grabbing their ear. Their gurgling noise sounds excellent.

When it comes to weaponry, you start with a knife and some Tek Arrows, but as you proceed through the levels, you will be able to pick up shotguns, chainguns, and some alien weaponry. The more advanced ones, such as the Fusion Cannon, are capable of disposing enemies in one shot and turning enemies into statues. For this reason, I prefer the advanced weapons over the normal ones, since they can also interact with the environment, bringing down palm trees and such. Not that it helps you.

There are multiple routes you can take in each level, and that's a good thing since this is not something that was uncommon in other first-person shooters before the game's release. It also calls for more exploration. You can discover areas you have not visited before, collect more ammo and health. There are blue warp portals that have the habit of appearing right in front of you, and entering these portals is ideal if you are about to run out of health or ammo.

The graphics make full use of the N64's graphic capabilities and they are heaps better than the PC version. The HUD looks better, and basically everything looks superb. Most of the levels take place outside, and there are at least two levels that are inside as well, and you have to go through some caves to reach a certain point. Because of the way the levels are laid out, it is easy to get lost if you don't use the map.

Before the start of the game, there is a beautiful animation of the Iguana logo that deserves to be watched more than once. When you walk off the edge of a platform, seeing Turok fall to his death is a nice touch. It's a shame that other developers haven't thought of this.

Most reviews I read have criticized the use of fog on every level of the game. Although you can't see what lies ahead of you in the distance, it adds to the atmosphere of the outside levels. However, I don't agree that this fog should be indoors as well.

There are bosses you need to fight in the game, usually to get the last key in a level, but you won't get to fight them at the end of each level . My favorite one has to be the second boss, the mantis. I believe it is the only boss that proves quite a challenge, as it spits acid right near you and it is capable of jumping over you if it sustains enough damage.

The music is excellent, and the soundtrack to each level changes depending on which location you are wandering through. The outdoor levels have a soundtrack composed mainly with drums. The music gets more intense when you are fighting bosses. When you swim underwater, the music has that relaxing feel to it. As for the sound effects, the best ones come from Turok himself.

The Bad

Near the end of the game, you have to venture through this fortress and kill androids and other enemies along the way. This fortress doesn't fit in with the overall theme of the game, and just walking through it, along with going up lifts to access different floors, is a waste of time.

There are checkpoints and save platforms in the game, a concept I still haven't got used to. If there is some difficult task, such as jumping between pillars that are too far apart, the checkpoints are miles away meaning that you have to travel quite a long distance to get to that difficult spot.

The Bottom Line

I enjoyed Turok and wouldn't mind playing it again in the near future. The game includes some nice cheat code, some of them are quite amusing. I entered a few codes and got to replay some levels I enjoyed, but with the weapons you can't get until later in the game. I had a go at the PC version and the graphics are inferior in my opinion. For fans of the comic books will enjoy this game. If you haven't read the comics but still like the idea of venturing through a world inhabited by dinosaurs, then you will enjoy this game even more.