Turok: game of
much potential, infinite hype and disappointing quality. Just so theres
no confusion here, now, or everdont believe the hype. Easily the most
overrated game in recent memory, the bulk of the mainstream press is
lying to you. Turok blows.
I know, I
know. I shouldnt use language like "Turok blows"; I should say Turok
doesnt live up to expectations, or Turok is disappointing, or the
semi-effective graphical achievement of Turok is compromised by a number
of glaring errors that ruin the playing experience, or I could say that
Turoks lack of an in-game save renders it all but unplayable, but all
of that clouds the greater issue because Turok blows, and we shouldnt
lose sight of that.
Turok, how doth thou blow? Let me count the ways: First and foremost is
the lack of an in-game save feature. I thought we had beaten this little
piece of ill-founded foolishness out of gaming for good, but I was sadly
mistaken. Each level, every gun toting enemy lizardman alien, every
jumping puzzle, every dinosaur, every potential for a single misstep
that can send you plunging to your doom, must be negotiated flawlessly
to pass a level. One misstep and its back to the start for youwhich
means you will play most levels over and over and over again until you
either quit and tell everyone you see that Turok blows, or you pass it
and move onto the next level, which you then do over and over and over
again until you either give up and tell everyone that Turok blows or you
go onto the next level where you play it over and over and over . . .
You get the point. Heres what happened, I imagine, at some point:
generic Turok developer: "Hi fellow developers, I have an idea for Turok.
Instead of having an in-game save that gamers like, lets make it easy
on ourselves and just have a save feature between levels. That way when
they get shot, which happens all the time, or twitch their wrists and
fall off a cliff, which happens sometimes, they have to do the whole
level over and over again. Repetition rules! Everyone knows that".
Bobs boss: "Yeah, ok Bob. That sounds like a good idea".
What should have happened:
Bob, generic Turok developer: "Hi fellow developers, I have an idea
for Turok. Instead of having an in-game save that gamers like, lets
make it easy on ourselves and just have a save feature between levels.
That way when . . ."
boss: "Bob, you need to shut the hell up. You always say stupid crap,
and, quiet frankly, Im sick of listening to it. Nobody likes you
Bobnobody. Not even your Mamma, and do you know why? Its because you
have stupid, asinine ideas about pretty much everything. It you ever
open you mouth again, youre fired. As a matter of fact, pack your stuff
now, get out, and dont come backever".
Unfortunately thats not what happened, and the game is substantially
poorer for it, which is just another way of saying that it blows.
to being an FPS, Turok occasionally has stages where you fly on a
dinosaur armed with machineguns and rockets. You shoot stuff as you fly,
more or less on rails, until you enter a wide open area where you can
maneuver around a bit more and shoot things. I encountered a control
problem, especially evident on the first sequence of flying missions, in
which the camera, upset at my choice of flying direction, literally
ripped control away from me and smashed me into mountains more times
than I care to admithorrible lack of adequate play testing, that little
routine. Aside from that, the flying is pretty standard. Theres nothing
special or horrible about the rest of the experience. If it werent for
my sense of duty to bring the whole scoop to the gaming public I would
have given up on this "game" after the first flying stage.
predictably disappointing multiplayer mode is flavorless and inspiration
free and it also blows, to be more colloquial. Although there are
weapons exclusive to the multiplayer game, a reasonable number of
levels, as well as ten different game modes, there is still little to
recommend the experience. No cooperative play. No bots at allzero.
Generally, even skimpy, tacked-on multiplayer modes will go to the
effort to throw the gamer a bone and add a few bots to round things out,
but no such luck here. Neither thought nor effort went into delivering a
top notch multiplayer game and it shows.
If you can
endure the experience long enough, Turok does have a few above average
points. The guns are pretty cool, especially their stellar effects.
Assorted energy blasts and vicious projectiles devastate with flair.
Weapons generally have two functions providing additional variety to
your devastation, and for extra fun the zoom function on long-range
weapons allows for moderately gory decapitations from afar. Turok also
features less conventional weapons like the remote controlled spider
mines, and battling hordes of viscous dinosaurs with a flame thrower
satisfies in a way I cant exactly articulate, which is what makes the
enormous overall failure of Turok, and the fact that it blows, that much
graphics and presentation are pretty decent overall. Thick vegetation
and winding mountain trails provide atmosphere and look good from afar,
but are not nearly so impressive up-close. Paper-thin vegetation serves
as an impassible barrier marking the boundaries of many levels. The
dinosaurs look good as well; its enjoyable watching a T-rex charge you,
and its too bad that the dinosaurs are background players to the much
more common laser-gun toting lizardmen.
theres anything wrong with laser-gun wielding lizardmen, but these
baddies arent the brightest bad-guys on the block. Enemy AI is pretty
inconsistent, featuring some glaring holes. At times the evildoers will
duck behind cover or even hit the ground rolling to avoid your shots,
returning fire as they go. Other-times they just stand there getting
shot, or worse, running around in circles waiting to get shot. I even
encountered invisible barriers which pursuing dinosaurs mysteriously
wouldnt crosseasy picking if you stand behind the invisible line.
be noted that the X-box version is the best looking of all the versions,
featuring sharper images and better lighting effects than either of the
other two systems. The X-box version looks only slightly better than the
Gamecube version, while both the X-box and the Gamecube easily put the
PS2 version to shame, demonstrating an increasingly evident trend,
though in the end it doesnt amount to much because even the best
version still blows.
line is that Turok: Evolution looks decent, but the overall experience
is severely lacking. The first few minutes of game time notwithstanding,
I never really wanted to play Turok: Evolution. After the first level it
was much more of a chore than an enjoyable game, so I advise you to be
extremely cautious with your fifty-dollar investmentkeep in mind that
Turok: Evolution blows when deciding whether this is the game for you.
With X-box titles like Timesplitters 2 and Unreal Championship among the
highlights on the imminent FPS horizon, youre better off saving your
money and waiting for quality.