It's been a few years since the Turok franchise released another game and we wondered whether the hiatus would result in some ground breaking changes in this 3D shooter. In some respects Turok does deliver on this, however the underlying premise of man against dinosaur remains.
As a departure from previous games you are now flung into the future where your spaceship crashes on an alien planet inhabited by dinosaurs. Your challenge is to gather up the survivors of this crash and get off the planet before you become lunch for the local fauna. You play the role of Joseph Turok who is descended from an American Indian tribe. Not only are you on an alien world filled with hungry dinosaurs, there is also a band of renegade human soldiers to deal with for some added spice.
It’s an interesting concept whereby you are battling the soldiers, while the dinosaurs treat you and your opponents as potential snacks (they are equal opportunity predators). In some ways this can be an advantage; you can let the dinosaurs eat your enemies then simply shoot the dining dinos once they have finished with their screaming and struggling meals.
You arrive on the planet with little in the way of armaments. Your trusty knife quickly comes in handy for dealing with the speeding velociraptors that seem to move like the wind. Rather than kill them, your little machine pistol seems to irritate them to greater speeds and the desire to target you as a light lunch on legs. Various button pushing combos can culminate in a satisfying 'gut' scene where Mr. Knife spoils the luncheon date.
This raises one of the annoying features for us in the game: some of the weapons lack grunt and stopping power. The small machine pistol takes an enormous number of rounds to stop a human let alone a dinosaur. This can be offset by dual wielding some of the weapons, although often the knife seems a better proposition.
There are the usual weapons -- the tried and true shotguns and rocket launcher, and a very Rambo-like compound bow. Disappointingly though, the bow is woefully underpowered. Rather than the satisfying “thunk” you’d expect from such a bow, it’s more of a “Pfft” and even on human targets more than one arrow is required to bring the target down, even with the held-trigger power up.
The alien planet is dark and jungle-covered. The game engine does a good job of rendering realistic grasses and underbrush which move and sway as you pass through them. More ambience around mist and light effects would have been appreciated, though. The game itself channels your movement, and quite obviously so. Certainly a greater degree of freedom would have been better -- even if it were contrived. It just feels very overt in this game.
The rendering of the dinosaurs is great and their speed and towering size (yes, Mr. T. Rex, table for one was it?) can have you leaning back in your seat. Sound is solid with some good voice acting, but again a higher level of background sound would have helped create a more believable setting.
Online, the game begins to spark a bit more with the added twist of letting the dinosaurs loose on your opponents. Remember, of course, that a meal is a meal and they are just as likely to turn on you.
Overall, Turok is a solid shooter with a different twist from the usual alien/terrorist challenges. It has however come into a market swamped with other great shooters, and it falls short of greatness. Nonetheless it is a good game and worth a look.