Turok: The Dinosaur Hunter


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 3

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


Back in 1996, Turok made sense. After playing through countless other first-person shooters, it's hard to imagine how it worked. The control scheme was truly revolutionary for a console FPS, and now it's obvious that it was just a small step towards the familiar dual analog set-up.

turok1n64.jpg (15858 bytes)That's not to say Turok isn't fun. It's just dated… horribly. The graphics are well below sub-par, the platform jumping completely out of place, and the entire engine is eclipsed by a fantastic sequel. With the proper mindset, Turok does work.

Aiming feels natural, and the gore that accompanies a successful kill makes each one satisfying. The enemies react depending on where they're shot is a masterful addition to make player's feel as if they're doing damage. The graphics engine prevents it from fully working, fogging the screen, blocking views of any upcoming challenges.

Unlike the sequels though, this first entry (in a series constantly fluctuating in quality) maintains a steady frame rate. The smooth feel is definitely something lacking in even higher budgeted FPS's on the console. That gives Turok a surprise advantage, but it doesn't make for a great game.

This is an ambitious title, one that may have tried too hard to become "next gen." The wildlife populating the world is one of the many touches that made this special. It's an experience without question, and the expansive, involving levels only make it more immersive. This is the game's best asset, and it would be in the sequel as well.

Though linear, the levels are laid out in a way that you almost feel like you have total freedom. The annoyances are there (platforming deserves mention again for nearly killing the game in the first level alone), but the designs are compelling enough to try to complete each stage. The lack of any huge firefights is actually a positive too, giving the game a more atmospheric quality. Just the sound of an enemy is enough to add tension.

The controls make this far too difficult though. The configurations by default don't work as they do now, and not being able to turn on one and strafe on the other is disorienting. It no longer feels right and there's no point in fighting them when you can just pick up a sequel that trounces this.

Now a common pick-up, Turok is worth trying nine years later. If it feels ok to move the lead character around and you can handle some infuriating jumping sections, you'll be engrossed in this bland-looking FPS. It's a game that was created before the system was ready to handle it.


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Last updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 12:42 AM