Review By: Jared
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter wasn't exactly revolutionary, but
it was a landmark title in the console FPS genre. In addition to
almost single-handedly reviving a struggling Acclaim, it helped
to establish (along with Goldeneye) the N64 as the FPS
console of choice during the last hardware generation. Over time
the series faltered a bit, staying consistently good but never
approaching the quality and impact of the original. Now Acclaim
is attempting to evolve the series and keep up with the big boys
(Halo, Red Faction II, etc.) with the latest game
in the series, Turok: Evolution. Turok: Evolution marks
the first time the Turok series has appeared on multiple
platforms; unfortunately, beyond that the series has really
evolved very little.
In a way,
that's a good thing as the series has actually returned to its
roots. This game is a prequel to the entire series, as it lays
out Tal'Set's origins as a Dinosaur Hunter. While fighting
Captain Tobias Buckner in 1886, both fall into a rift between
the two worlds and end up in the Lost Lands. Tal'Set journeys to
find Buckner and extract his revenge, but his new enemies (and
allies) have other plans for him. Not terribly deep or
revolutionary, but it keeps the story moving and is pretty
standard for the genre.
attempt to recover the series' past, Turok: Evolution
plays pretty simply compared to the more modern FPS games of
today. Tal'Set's objectives range from destroying every enemy in
the area to finding key items, and usually in order to
accomplish this several platforms and other heights must be
scaled…thus like the original. Jumping is much easier to pull
off here than in the original game though, so the added platform
elements not found in most FPS games is a welcome addition.
Mission objectives are very straightforward and will rarely (if
ever) test the player's trigger finger and not their mind. The
main quest is extremely linear - perform objective A, move on to
B, continue until the end of the level is reached.
Brand new to
the series this time around is a flying mode, in which Tal'Set
hops onto the back of a big bird equipped with various weapons.
This mode is fairly simple, with a couple primary weapons and
intuitive flying controls. In comparison to other flying games
it's pretty simplistic, but as a mere part of this game it fits
in pretty well. I'd rather the levels not be there at all
though, as they break up the flow of the game and feel of the
world. Plus, it's obvious the Turok engine wasn't
originally designed for flying, as the mode is much less
impressive both graphically and control-wise. Overall they're OK
though, and shouldn't totally turn off dedicated FPS fans.
to the engine shortcomings, Turok: Evolution feels like
an unfinished game in several other areas. The most obvious
example is in the enemy A.I. Sometimes it works as advertised,
with enemies ducking for cover, establishing formations,
alerting allies, attacking from the flank, etc. Other times, the
enemies act very dumbly. For example, in sniper mode they often
don't even move after getting shot. They just stand there
waiting to get shot again and again until they're eventually
killed. Killing enemies around other enemies usually doesn't
alert those surrounding ones, so from a hidden position the
player can easily pick off numerous enemies in a group one by
one. When it works it's on the same level as Halo, but it
only works about half the time.
element in this Turok is destructible environments, and again it
feels somewhat unfinished. Firing on various trees can send them
sprawling towards foes, and large dinosaurs can also knock them
over. Many objects enemies use to hide behind can also be
destroyed, forcing them out into the open. Unfortunately these
elements show up infrequently and aren't easily distinguished,
so when they're encountered the player often doesn't realize
they can use them until it's useless to do so. They also aren't
necessary in the least, as no objectives require destroying
certain environment objects to progress further. For example,
something like blowing down a certain tree to scale and reach
another ledge would've been nice.
are good, but obviously the PS2 version's pale in comparison to
the Xbox and GCN versions. The framerate is a jerky 30fps, with
plenty of draw-in and foliage appearing before the player's
eyes. The textures appear to be identical to the GCN version,
but the draw distance is much shorter here. There's a ton of
foliage to be found, all of it swaying realistically in the wind
and reacting to animals that walk through it. The dinosaur
models are nicely detailed, and come the closest yet a game has
to rivaling Jurassic Park (the movie). Blood spatters
quite nicely, although it's a bit disappointing that dead dinos
and blood eventually disappear from the world. Like the A.I.,
the graphics are solid but also feel a bit unfinished.
probably the only area that feels finished, and it's fantastic.
The PS2 version features some of the best surround sound on the
console to really put the player "inside" the jungle.
Each weapon has its own unique sound, and each enemy sounds as
realistic as one would expect. The music is tense and pulsing,
and really immerses the player into the world of Turok. A
rocking soundtrack makes a big difference in any FPS, and
Turok's perfectly fits both the theme and pace of the game.
- Tried and
true gameplay that will appease fans of the genre.
sound effects and an outstanding music score, particularly
for the console's limited surround sound support.
- The A.I. is
spotty at best, and as a result the game is a bit easier than
it should be.
- The flying
levels are solid, but I'd prefer they weren't in the game at
all. If I wanted to play a mediocre flight game, I'd break out
- No multitap
support is disappointing.
is what it is: a solid and above average FPS that will provide
hours of enjoyment for fans of the genre. A few more months in
development finishing up the A.I. and graphics could've turned it
into something special though. With the release of games like the
excellent Red Faction II and TimeSplitters 2 at almost exactly the same time,
the PS2 version is probably just a rental to all but the most
hardcore of FPS fans.