Turok: Evolution
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox, GC, PS2
Publisher
Acclaim
Developer
Acclaim
Genre
First Person Shooter
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence, Blood and Gore
 
Grade
The Good

• Large levels
• Excellent music
• Aerial shooter levels offer change of pace

The Bad

• Graphics never take advantage of Xbox hardware
• AI is inconsistent
• No bots in multiplayer

 
Grade
C+

During a bloody struggle with his nemesis, Captain Bruckner, the Saquin warrior Tal'Set is blown through a portal into the Lost Land, a world populated with dinosaurs, technology and a violent war between the Lord Tyrannus and the human River people. Tal'Set is healed of his wounds by the Seer TarKeen and sent to discover his purpose in the Lost Land. When he comes to learn that his arrival is of no coincidence, he must come to terms with being "Turok" or the Son of Stone - who is the chosen protector of the Lost Land.

The gameplay of Turok is fairly easy to pick up. You have a variety of weapons, including a tomahawk, bow, handgun, and later on you'll find a shotgun, rocket launcher and grenades to use. Each level has a goal, most of which involve getting from the entry point to the end without dying and putting down as many enemies as possible. Enemies range from small mammals to the lizard troops of Tyrannus to the larger dinosaurs, including T-Rexes and raptors. While the goal in each level is often simple, and any locked door or closed path can be dealt with by finding a switch or item, the process by getting to the end can prove to not be so simple. In the wilderness, you can often sneak up on enemies and snipe them using any weapon with a scope (like the Tek-Bow). If you rush blindly into a canyon, you might find yourself under sniper fire from multiple enemies. At certain points, you'll also be able to use cannon and gun implacements to dispatch the seige of enemies.

To break up the FPS gunplay, there are also some flight-based shooter levels where the player will fly a pterodactyle armed with guns and missles. For fans of shooters, these levels are a nice break and keep the game from getting monotonous. But, for everyone else, these levels might just come across as a hassle. And, while most levels are straight combat, you will, from time to time need to use stealth to sneak into a location. And, when you have friends over, you can play with up to 4 people in the multiplayer mode. But, be warned, there are no artificial "bots" in mulitplayer, so you better bring a lot of friends along to get the most of it.

Visually, Turok is unfortunately inconsistent. The vast foliage in the outdoor levels is a really nice touch and the fact that it reacts to movement is also a plus, but some barren areas look rather plain. Even worse, the water looks plastic and shows no effects when an animal or enemy move into it. The character models for the Slegs and a lot of the larger dinosaurs look really nice, but the human models look blocky and unrealistic and the smaller creatures, like deer and monkeys look almost like cardboard cutouts. Levels are vast and have a lot going on, so you won't have to worry about walking ten feet and having the level end. Texture maps, for the most part look good, but they never really seem to take advantage of the Xbox's bump mapping technique. The same goes for lighting effects, as the game never looks bad, but it could look a lot better. Explosions from the rocket launcher tend to look good, but the grenade blasts just feel shallow in comparison.

Turok's music is exciting and powerful and really works towards charging the player during the level. The wide array of sound effects add a good amount of depth and the vocal parts during levels are a nice addition, as they often give the players clues (especially during the stealth portions). The voice acting during the cutscenes is decent. Nothing to earn an award by, but far better than most games.

Outside of the fact that the graphics don't seem to take advantage of the Xbox's hardware, the enemy A.I. seems to be flawed. From a distance, most enemies will stand around and let you shoot at them. In fact, you could spend most of the game sniping enemies with the Tek-Bow and not have to deal with too many of them. The closer you get to them, the more likely the enemies will react to you, but even then, they'll usually just move to cover for a moment and then jump back out to resume the gunfight. But, then again, it may be in your best interest to snipe everyone you can, as you never seem to have too many weapons that can deliver some serious damage. Even the shotgun can take a ton of shots to put even the most basic grunt down.

With that said and done, Turok: Evolution is a game that Turok fans will want to look into. It's not the best looking FPS out and there are better shooters out there in terms of depth of gameplay, but if you loved the Turok series, then you should be able to forgive the game's shortcomings.

- - Vane

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