Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
At first, EGM was unsure what to think of an Indian somehow transported into a prehistoric era-a land where dinosaurs and apes have bionic arms and hi-tech weaponry. To us, this whole story sounded strange. Then EGM realized that Acclaim was talking about Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and everything became clear. Originating from the pages comic, Turok is trying a new kind of adventure-one in a 64-Bit monster rather than a hand-drawn half toned world. Turok is pleased and has every right to be. The game has a huge array of weapons to find and choose from nd the graphics and charac-er animations are enough make a gamer's jaw drop off their face. Need we say, "Ouch?"
Since the comic world, Turok has had his ups and downs going from comic company to comic company, being released then cancelled). He's now found a safe home with Acclaim. Who knows what they have planned for Turok besides a game? What we do know for sure is that the N64 first-person action title is something special.
EGM was able to see an early version of Turok recently when Acclaim graced us with their presence, and what we saw made us anxious about what later versions will bring--and the final production copy! But that's the future and what we saw was only three playable levels of the game that had a similar motif and dozens of screen shots of later ones with bigger enemies.
In the style of Doom, Turok offers something no other home system can do: the sharpest graphics, huge levels and a cool story. All of this on a cartridge-that's the difference. No load time! The enemies-be they man or beast-have been rotoscoped with Acclaim's motion-capture technology to ensure high-quality, realistic movement.
With these real enemies comes a need for some real weapons. Turok can deliver with no problem in this department. Like many Doom-type games, the dino-huntin' Indian starts with only his axe. After enemies are killed, more weapons can be obtained. Turok's arsenal can be found in the weapons sidebar below-aptly named, eh?
Early versions of Turok showed heavy fog effects to cover up some of the problems with the environments and loading of the texture maps. EGM is glad to say that we saw no glaring use of fog in this updated version, even though there was fog used in the Jungle Level (and probably in later levels at press time unseen). With more tweaking and optimization, the final Turok could very well be the most impressive first-person action game to date.
So far it seems like Turok sets out from the past (like dinos and giant ferns and such) eventually making his way to the future world where the alien-bionic dinos originate from. Each level has its own style like the Jungle Level shown. Unlike games such as Duke Nukem, Turok goes for a more gritty, realistic look. The characters don't necessarily look like hand-drawn, modeled characters. Instead they look and move like real people and or animals.
Now that EGM knows what Turok is all about, the idea of an Indian in a dino-laden world blowing them to pieces is okay. After all, who better to do the job than the adventurous hero, Turok-using his nuclear fusion cannon EGM likes to call "Big Poppa."
- MANUFACTURER - Addlaim
- DIFFICULTY - MODERATE
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Download Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Turok's biggest problem and overriding failure is perfectly described by Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park. "We are going to see some dinosaurs on this dinosaur tour, right?" For a game so obviously preying on the fact that you are going to see some pretty impressive monsters, Turok Dinosaur Hunter has so few actual in-yer-face dinosaurs that you will be perfectly within your rights to ask for your money back under trading standards.
But of course you won't discover this fact until you've played it from beginning to end using our in-depth solution on the following pages, but be prepared to be underwhelmed. The biggest thing you'll see up until the final level is a raptor - big deal! Bypass protesters are more frightening...
But that's not to say that Turok, initially at least, is not an incredible interactive experience. Few games in recent memory have such a convincing and lifelike game environment, and many of the levels are well designed and challenging.
Once past the obvious jungle-fied menu system, and comical, but ultimately bland rendered sequence, you're into a world of majestic splendour which is alive with sights and sounds.
Leaving the dying embers of your tamp fire you venture into the first canyon, gripping your trusty Bowie knife and gut-string bow. To your as the mist ahead clears, a monkey cocks its head in your direction and "coos;" sensing movement in its peripheral vision. It then bolts for the nearest mile-high tree, before disappearing into the distance with shrieks of alarm.
Something roars ahead, but is it miles away, or hiding in the dense foliage ahead? You switch to your bow and hold down the trigger to tense up an arrow in preparation. Creeping forward you make out a shape coming towards you. A man.
Instinctively you let loose an arrow but it misses and still he comes, breaking into a run now and yelling with it. Fumbling with your weapon you whirl around and look for cover - that bush - you can make it. Shots ring out and bullets whizz past your head. Dropping to the floor you spin and loose your next bolt which catches the native through the side of the neck. A look of surprise breaks across his hardened features as he realises that a three foot long spurt of his own blood is pumping out of the hole in his jugular. Fully motion captured, he slams both hands over the wound to stem the flow but it's too late, and after much convulsing he drops to the mossy floor and dies in a lake of blood - disappearing completely moments later.
This is just one of the life and death encounters you will face in the initial stages of Turok, and it's made all the more frantic by the fact that you have such primitive weapons. To survive the legions of tribesmen and more than a few blood-thirsty raptors, you quickly need bigger and bigger guns.
Luckily Turok delivers, but thankfully your progression to the next weapon is carefully planned, with some not appearing until right at the end of the game, and this means you are always aware that you're mortal, and one stray bullet or rockfall could end your adventure.
After your initial two you quickly find a pistol (nice recoil, but Arnie wouldn't be seen dead with it), and then the more impressive super shotgun, which has a rotating cartridge chamber for rapid fire. Curiously though you find this before the normal shotgun, which kind of makes it redundant.
Other choice 'finds' include the brutal chain gun, which unlike the effort in Doom, actually has a rotating barrel which slowly loses momentum after firing and boasts a great 'ziiing' sound effect. Think of that tobacco chewing guy in the film, Predator, and you'll know exactly what to expect.
The rail gun from Eraser is also a brutal armament, along with the grenade launcher, nuclear hand weapon, laser gun and of course the Chronosepter, which can only be used once you have found all its pieces scattered through Turok's eight levels. This is a clever sub-plot, and also a satisfying one, because letting loose with the Chronosepter is like watching the end of the world!
Generally all the weapons in this game are conversation pieces in themselves, and put those in all other 3-D shoot-'em-ups to shame. Pyrotechnic delights await those with itchy trigger fingers and the Nintendo is stretched to its limits in creating showers of colour and ear-splitting explosions. Yes you will be amazed.
Ammunition, or rather the lack of it, is a key factor in Turok and one that adds much of the tension. As in Doom, Quake 64 and Duke Nukem 3-D shoot-'em-ups thrive on recreating the feeling of you being low on ammo but still caught between a piece of granite and a hard place.
A great portion of your time playing Turok will be spent swearing profusely, looking for more bullets and blindly running into a group of the enemy shouting "C'mon - you want some of this motherf*cker!" Before inevitably becoming the lunch of something with more teeth than the BeeGees.
Alternatively you can spend your time sneaking around using only silent weapons, but this inevitably leads to some trouser-filling moments in dark tunnels and is recommended for people with iron bowels or large dry-cleaning budgets.
The control system is unique to Turok, but there's no doubt that it will be copiously copied. You basically use the four yellow arrow buttons on the pad to move forward and back, and left/right strafe, and the analogue stick acts as your line of sight. This means you can be running forward, but shooting to the side, and you can use it look for hidden ledges and objects in all directions. A similar system is used in Mario 64 when you are in the closest zoom mode.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but it totally revolutionises this style of game in the same way that the mouse is the best way to play Quake on the PC. Once again this control method proves that the Nintendo 64 control pad is the cleverest invention Nintendo has ever created. So much so that Sony has copied it with their double analogue pad.
Graphically, Turok is fabulous, and you'd be hard pressed to find anything that doesn't gob-smack your average PlayStation or Saturn owner. But if it didn't then I'd be worried - this is a 64-bit console after all, and so you've got to expect that it will look, sound and perform better than anything else.
The thousands of colours on-screen at once help to make this the best looking N64 game yet. A subtle masterpiece compared to the brash primary colours of Mario and Wave Race. Even Shadows of the Empire looks dull after Turok.
There are also plenty of clever touches which distinguish the game as the most accomplished Doom variant yet. Look up and the sun causes you to squint and produce lens flare. Waterfalls plunge to the plateau floor and produce vast clouds of water vapour. Gaze into a water pool and you can actually see water bubbles rising to the surface. Stuff like this has never been seen before and it is instantly captivating. Over eight levels though, the originality starts to wane.
The Bad News
The lack of real dinosaurs is definitely a problem because once you're used to coming up against raptors and men, there really isn't anything left. On many an occasion, the sound effects will lead you to believe that something truly huge is waiting in the antechamber ahead, but then you'll find it empty, or even worse, full of those annoying little beetle things.
Turok desperately needed to have more moments like the one in Tomb Raider, where you suddenly come across a huge T-Rex which thunders across the plain to eat you. Surely you should be hiding from such brutes, with the artificial intelligence high enough so that the hunter becomes the hunted!
Imagine it - legging it up through caves to avoid a T-Rex, and then having it staring in at you while you are trapped. Such imagination is lacking in Turok and it's a real shame because the hardware is no longer an excuse.
You also only ever come up against a maximum of three or four enemies. What's the point of having weaponry that could slay a continent in one blast, if you could kill them all with something as lowly as a bow and arrow? And what have these things done to you anyway?
The name "Dinosaur Hunter" is misleading because you're not hunting dinosaurs at all, they just get in the way. It would have been a far better game if humans played a very small part in it, let alone the cyborgs that appear at the end. Hands up who's tired of shooting at robots?
The game should have been a sort of Jurassic Park meets the White Buffalo, with you sworn to vanquish a huge Tyrannosaur who had slain your family. That way you could spend the game tracking down the mamma T-Rex until the last level where you'd corner it. Honestly, where is the imagination these days?
Another major flaw in Iguana's game is the repetitive nature of the levels themselves. Oh sure you are in awe of it all for the first couple, but then you realise that to increase the challenge and the time it takes to complete them, the developers have thrown in far too many instances where you have to jump across many raised platforms.
For Mario this is fine, but a first person perspective game such as Turok is not designed for such precise antics and so it quickly because incredible annoying as you plunge to your death for the hundredth time. In real life you can see your feet and arms and this sort of thing is not a problem, but imagine doing it with no arms and then see how many acrobatics you attempt.
In the end you use the map to judge whether you've made it or not, but this is still a stupid and lazy way of filling a game, especially when later on the developers really take the p*ss by making you leap over to moving columns which are surrounded by lava. As if it wasn't difficult enough!
So far Turok has attained scores of 95% and even 97%, but this is a lie - it is nothing like as inventive as Mario 64 and those who claim it is simply haven't played it through.
Although Turok is visually impressive and certainly a good argument to put to your better half for buying an N64, the gameplay soon because repetitive and any clever ideas brought on in the early stages make way for mindless shooting and maze exploration near the end. The last level is utterly boring when it should have been the most thrilling of all. This stinks of a lack of imagination and a desire to get the game finished on time. A decent game, but one that misses the target too often.
A Brief Warning To Any Software developers who might harbour a pathological aversion to 3D accelerator cards: your days are numbered. One look at Acclaim's Turok - Dinosaur Hunter should be enough to persuade even the most hardened cynic that this is the way forward and that from here on in, there's no going back. Games players: if you haven't bought an accelerator card by Christmas, you're either skint, mad or sick of games. Because the accelerator card-only PC version of Turok looks better than the Nintendo 64 original. Hardware retailers who fancy doubling the sales of their 3Dfx stock would be well advised to stick a copy on display as soon as possible.
Running at an 800 x 600 resolution, in 24-bit colour and at 60 frames per second, this is pure spectacle. The player takes control of Turok, the eponymous 'dinosaur hunter', leading him through a series of sprawling levels populated with all manner of disagreeable human marauders and cybernetically-enhanced dino-bastards. Essentially, it's Doom all over again - but this is Doom set out in the open air and shot in Super-Stupefaction-o-Vision. By a hallucinating cameraman. In heaven. You get the picture.
For those about Turok... we salute you
Aside from knowing a thing or two about 3D animation, the game designers at Iguana clearly have a 'thing' about guns. Most first-person blasters feature one truly incredible megaweapon, a kind of antagonist's Holy Grail, which becomes available periodically during the later stages of the game; the the finest example would be Doom's BFG. Turok, on the other hand, contains about five such 'ultimate weapons', as dazzling as they are deadly - each exploiting the accelerator card's capacity for producing 'Ooh! Wowl' lighting effects to the full. It's like some kind of mobile fireworks display. Seldom has merciless killing looked so darned pretty onscreen. Alongside the usual collection of knives, pistols and sub-machine guns, there's a gun that fires radiant pulses of electric-blue energy into the enemy's face, another that unleashes a salvo of five heat-seeking missiles each time the trigger is pulled, an enchanting 'rail gun' (lifted wholesale from Arnie's Eraser) which leaves an attractive trail of smoke rings in its wake, and a frankly terrifying piece of kit that actually fires nuclear warheads at the trembling foe.
Yes, nuclear warheads. Well, okay, so they're not called nuclear warheads, but they may as well be. You've never seen anything like it: the ground rumbles and shakes, the screen fills with light, immense shockwaves radiate from the point of impact, and most important of all, everybody dies. You wouldn't want to set it off by accident in a crowded lift. It's by far the most ostentatious weapon yet feature in a computer game, and short of producing a tremendous gun that fires planets into supernovas, it's hard to see how it could possibly be bettered for sheer spectacle. So, your eyeballs will want to kiss Turok all over, again and again. But...
All surface, no feeling?
So, there's an even better-looking version of a notoriously awesome Nintendo 64 game on the way to the PC - hooray! But wait. While it garnered plenty of good press on the strength of its looks, the N64 original was a bit of a Melinda Messenger at heart. It looked fantastic, but beneath the surface it wasn't actually very interesting. Higher resolution graphics aside, the PC version is more or less identical to its console precursor, so it stands to reason that it should inherit most of the original's weak points. For instance, just like the Nintendo version, the preview PC version we examined suffered from an absurdly short depth of field, resulting in objects and enemies that would only loom up out of the fog when you were practically on top of them.
There are further criticisms to be levelled at the original, the layout of the levels themselves being a case in point -the truncated perspective view renders spectacular architecture redundant, and the frequent bouts of platform-to-platform hop-around become irritating. Despite beating them all in the visual splendour department, it isn't as much fun to play as Shadow Warrior, Quake or even Doom. In short: the gameplay doesn't match the graphics. Whether Acclaim intend to address these shortcomings for the final build of the PC version we can't say. We've got our fingers crossed, but the developers are hardly going to spend ages tweaking the PC version when they've obviously already got a monster hit on their hands. Don't hold your breath for a multi-player option.
A few things are already clear, however. For one, the game benefits enormously from the mouse control movement system familiar to Quake heads everywhere. The tri-pronged, poncey-pants Nintendo joypad is ideal for many purposes, but as a control system for a first-person 3D killfest it chews pole, big time. The mouse is where it's at. Furthermore, Turok is the ideal weapon for the on-going pursuit of pissing off your console-owning friends. It makes PlayStation games in particular look unbearably blocky and muted, while Nintendo nymphos will turn a light shade of green when they realise their hallowed plastic dreambox has already been beaten at its own game (mind you, there's little chance of Mario 64 turning up on the PC, so let's not jump the gun completely, eh?). Sega Saturn owners have probably shot themselves already anyway, so they don't count.
Despite our concerns regarding the gameplay, Turok - Dinosaur Hunter looks certain to set high new standards for PC game visuals. It could even be the long-awaited 'killer app' that really kick-starts the 3D card revolution. But between now and the New Year, we can expect to see an unstoppable slew of titles with genuinely dazzling graphics, the likes of which haven't seen before. Whether Turok seems so incredible following the release of Unreal, Messiah and Quake II remains to be seen. We'll be reviewing the final code in an upcoming issue, so sellotape your eyelids to your forehead and keep staring at these pages in a mesmeric trance till then.
The Plot: You Are The Turok, The first-born son of the Fireseed family, Native American community police of The Lost Land. The Lost Land is an inter-dimensional sewer, where every kind of scum hang out. Think Braintree on a Friday night. People from the future rub shoulders with lumbering dinosaurs and everyone has guns. Arch-villain - The Campaigner - has worked on the said dinosaurs with a hammer, chisel and some bionic parts to make them very unfriendly. His plan is to lead them in war against the universe. It's up to you to try and mix it up with him and his evil minions.
My Gahd! It's huge
So, it's another first-person shoot 'em up. And I must admit I wasn't overly enamoured with it at first. As I played it more though, I got more and more into it. And now I love it. (Which is probably why I've given it a good score). Alright, the graphics, even with a 3Dfx card, aren't gobsmacking compared to most these days. Some of the detail even looks a little scant in places. But this becomes understandable when you realise the size of the levels you have to fight through. They're bloody enormous. There are mountains with sheer cliffs, primeval forests, steaming jungles and the interiors of ancient ruins. Some of the sheer faces are climbable, there are areas to swim through - it's sort of like a first-person-viewed Tomb Raider. In fact, think of it as the lovechild of that, Quake, Duke, and the old wander-about-and-survive-em-up, Robinson's Requiem.
The weapons are cool, varied, nicely-animated and will bring a flush to the cheeks of devastation lovers everywhere. You start with a poxy knife and bow-and-arrows. The arrows soon become explosives-tipped however and soon you're picking up better and better weapons, from shotguns and grenade launchers to something that's like setting off a nuclear explosion in a halogen distributor's warehouse.
I think I've fouled my breeches
And there are some seriously scary bastards to fight. Each level is chocka with savage dinosaurs and artillery-equipped cyborgs. Once you've had your first few encounters, the dull thud of dinosaur feet will soon start to set the adrenaline flowing (if not the bowels). It's bad enough when they're au naturel, but when you start coming up against the tooled-up mutant dinos, with all sorts of death-dealing megaweapons mounted on them, things start to get very hectic. The alien infantry types even zig-zag when they run towards you. Overall, the animation is superb. And unlike many games of this type, it's a good one-player game (which is good, considering there's no multi-player option). The huge levels with their exploration elements, varied backgrounds and hugely destructive weapons combine to make this one of the better and more entertaining games around at the moment. It's also one of the very few games to make you scared while you're playing (well, a little bit).
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is Acclaim's first game for the Ultra 64. It's based on the comic of the same name. Acclaim is hoping to be able to use a whopping 64-Megs, complete with amazing graphics and sound that such huge games usually deliver.
Set in a bizarre rift of time where dinosaurs and humans wage a desperate war against each other, you play as an Indian hero who must protect his people. This world is a desolate ruin where prehistoric beasts roam undaunted. You are armed with a simple, yet deadly bow. Dinosaurs killed your tribe, and you are out for vengeance. If you are familiar with the comic, you'll understand the plot a bit better.
The game itself looks like a Doom-type 3-D adventure where you'll come face to face with the various creatures that roam the jungles, ruins and catacombs you must explore. The denizens have been rendered realistically using motion-capture and other animating techniques to give them the smoothest, most realistic movement possible. You'll actually see the raptor-like dinos slither and slink before they strike. All of the creatures have individual movements, too.
Acclaim has put a lot of effort into bringing the world of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter alive.
Steven Spielberg may have brought dinosaurs back to life in Jurassic Park, but it's your job to kill the computer-generated critters in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Turok, Valiant Comics' superhero, makes the jump from B.C. to A.D. in this title for the Nintendo 64. You control the gun-toting hero as he battles his way through hordes of various dinos. From the screen shots seen. Turok's carnivorous prey includes raptors and possibly the fearsome and toothy Tyrannosaurus Rex. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter looks to be a prehistoric romp through fog-enshrouded swamps, caves and jungle settings, all rendered in startlingly realistic texture-mapped graphics. Again, the N64 comes through with some excellent graphics-even though the game's still in early development. You might want to hunt this one down.
Acclaim's first crack at creating a Nintendo 64 game has finally made it to completion. Originally scheduled to be released at the system s launch back in September, Acclaim decided that they wanted quality instead of rushing a game out that was substandard. The result will be hitting the Nintendo 64 this month, quenching gamers' thirst for new 64-Bit titles.
The game stars Turok, who has been sent back in time to stop the evil Campaigner from screwing up the future using an army of robotic and cretaceous dinosaurs and cyborgs. At the end of your quest, you'll go head-to-head with the Campaigner himself.
The first thing you'll want to do is get yourself familiar with Turok's control scheme. The game has a Training Mode that will teach you how to jump, climb and the other techniques that a lone warrior will need on his quest. After mastering the basics, the control becomes more intuitive to the player.
Turok's arsenal of weapons is both powerful and plentiful. No matter what kind of firepower you've seen in other first-person perspective action games, Turok has weapons that produce amazing graphical effects on the screen. There's even a weapon that nukes every enemy in view. The amount of detail that has gone into the design of each weapon is evident by the special effects each one produces.
Action is divided into eight levels, each one presenting a new challenge to overcome. Most of the levels take place in a jungle environment with drums pounding away a very tribal beat to accompany your journey. In the background, you'll even hear the monkeys that roam high above the jungle floor. The music changes with your surroundings. Plunge into the water and the music becomes a very mellow, soft tune. The game's music and sound effects take advantage of the capability of the Nintendo 64's music processor. The screams, grunts and groans that your enemies let loose are both loud and realistic.
The enemies Turok faces throughout the levels are not just made up of dinosaurs. You'll run into members of the Campaigner's army who will try their hardest to chop you to bits. There's everything from robot guards to tricer-atops-riding sentries, if you're stuck up against a group of bloodthirsty raptors with only your knife in hand, you better hope there's extra health points nearby.
The graphics in Turok are smooth and fast, although the backgrounds and textures can get somewhat repetitious. The fog effects create a realistic environment, and the lighting and lens flare are worthy of appreciation. The most impressive part of Turok is when you're swimming. The control of the game may have a high learning curve, but when in the water, it becomes a lot easier to maneuver with.
Four Boss characters await you during the game. Spread throughout the levels are Longhunter. Mantis, T-Rex and the final Boss, the Campaigner himself. All of the Bosses move very fast, and when close up, take up almost the full size of the screen.
When killed, most of the enemies have random death sequences. Some keel over immediately, while others moan in pain squirting blood before hitting the ground and disappearing.
Unless you plan on leaving your N64 on for the time it takes you to work through the game, you'll want to make sure you have a memory cart on hand to save your games. Turok does not have internal RAM to store game saves. Future games will probably require the use of the memory cart when saving games, so investing in one is a good idea.
Gamers will have to judge whether the labor of Acclaim and Iguana has produced a quality Nintendo 64 title. Having been the first third-party title announced for the system, gamers have waited to play it Look for the Review Crew's critique of Turok Dinosaur Hunter in this issue.
In Turok, you'll find yourself up against some of the biggest and meanest Bosses this side of the Nintendo 64. Those that await you are Longhunter, Mantis, T-Rex and the big Boss himself, the Campaigner. During the battles, you'll see a handy Boss life meter appear at the top of the screen during their grand entrance. Using the many weapons that Turok has at his disposal, your job is to rid the world of the Campaigner and his minions once and for all. Because if you fail, all of time as we know it will be destroyed.
It seems like everybody and their mother knows about this one. The graphics in Turok are simply stunning, and the animation is so impressive that I just sit there in awe. For a first-person style action game Turok is leaps and bounds above practically every other one I've seen (as far as looks go) but when we get into the area of control, my thoughts change a little. The control definitely takes some getting used to-if only gamers could customize the controls. I also wouldn't mind seeing a little more variation in the levels. Another small problem is that it's too hard. Last, the weapons are awesome and so are the enemies.
First-person shooters are way too commonplace today. Turok is just another one in the masses. The only things that make it stand out are the weapons, the enemies and the levels. The weapons effects are awesome and will set a new standard for this type of game. The enemies are well-animated polygons, a refreshing change from the sprites that we are used to in Doom games. The levels are wide-open outdoor areas, as opposed to tunnels and hallways. But in the end, these fluffy features don't help Turok stay afloat. It's still a boring shooter at heart. How many Doom games can gamers take before they are fed up?
We were all pummeled by Turok-related hype, so I was a little disappointed when I finally got to play through the game. Sure, it looks fantastic, all lush and pretty and sprawling. But the levels themselves get a little repetitive after a while, just a whole lot of runnin' through the jungle (with few levels of indoor areas for variety). Worse yet, control takes a while to get used to. Strange as it may sound, the camera buttons control your movement, while the analog stick controls your view for aiming. I wish there was an option to switch to a more conventional control setting. Still, the enemies and animation are superb.
I've got to hand to it Turok; it's got some of the smoothest graphics in a Doom-style shooter yet. Still, I can't help but be disgruntled by the utter lack of activity in the game. Rarely do you meet a horde of characters at one time, like a whole pack of raptors. The difficulty lies in the insanely perilous falls and strangely powerful enemies. My opinion is that the current graphics engine of Turok just isn't powerful enough to handle such details. To cover this up, a very large section of your screen is covered in fog. While this is a neat trick to mask the weaknesses, it's overused and too much of the playfield gets lost in it.
A good blast with excellently destructive guns let down by massive fogging and too much reliance on jumping onto tiny platforms.
Screen-filling dinosaurs, ludicrously bloody violence and some breathtaking weapons. A phenomenally good game.
Given the dismal record of third party games on the Nintendo 64 thus far, it's little wonder that such high hopes are being cherished for Turok from Acclaim. Thus far we've been 'treated' to an appaling rendition of Cruis'n USA, the decidedly unspectacular Mortal Kombat Trilogy (in the USA) and (with the exception of level one) a disappointing Shadows of the Empire. Okay, so there's a decent ice I hockey game, and a new improved Doom. But this is less than we expect from the so-called Dream Team.
It's somewhat astonishing then that a company with Acclaim's troubled recent history holds the torch for the rest of gaming. Let's face it, this is a company with a reputation firmly entrenched in the bad old days of sloppy 16-bit platformers and cookie-cutter pro-wrestling / dunking games.
The good news is that, judging from a 90% completed version, Turok is an astounding game. Iguana has lavished attention on the title and all the delights of anti-aliasing, gouraud shading and mip-mapping have been thrown in to offer an environment as visually stunning as it is mysterious.
Okay, when all is said and done it's just another first person shoot-'em-up. But the major difference here is that it's the best looking first person game yet devised (and this is in a field of hundreds). Turok also offers unprecedented options in terms of weaponry (14 pieces of hardware and a choice of ammo) and the best looking bad guys yet. Plus, you get to indulge in Lara Croft-style activities such as jumping and swimming.
Does it all work? Up to a point. Those enemies are gorgeous and the death scenes are well-crafted. But, unlike say Doom, you're rarely fighting more than one at a time on-screen. This is limiting and inevitably cramps enjoyment. The jumping and swimming stuff, while adding some degree of depth, is not executed brilliantly and can seem disjointed. But well have to see what has changed with the full review copy; sadly withheld from this magazine.
These are criticisms which may well be levelled against the game when it falls into the hands of reviewers. But, while valid, they may miss out on the essence of Turok. It's a violent bloody game, but it moves at a lighter pace than other shoot-'em-ups, and there's a greater element of exploration required. This is no bad thing.
The story itself follows the adventures of an American Indian wandering a lost world populated by dinosaurs and their guardians. Acclaim lifted the entire plot from a series of semi-popular comics books; one of Its subsidiaries publishes from New York. Apart from the world you explore, there is a great deal of fun to be had with moveable elements. Firstly, the enemies. These range from brutish humans to evil skeletons, and from dim-witted but strong dinosaurs, to those which are armed to their incisors. As is often the case, different weapons suit different enemies though it's more often than not strategy which counts the most. Many of the stomping enemies are not so tough from a distance whatever you're shooting. The misty world adds an element of surprise (and naked fear) to all this. Something horrible is always just a few seconds away.
Those enemies in Turok are all polygons, and each one has a number of death-moves which will delight as well as relieve all players. Weapons? Ah yes. You begin with all the usual guff (knife, bow, pistol, shotgun etc..) but then move on to some truly brilliant devices including a Nuke Launcher, Particle Cannon and Eraser Gun.
There are eight levels in Turok with a number of settings, though jungles and over-grown corridors are much In evidence. Although the game is linear, the size and complexity of each new world make it convincingly three-dimensional. One useful touch is the ability to bring the map on-screen -super-imposed upon the live action -which is pretty much mandatory in some of the later levels. With just a few weeks left In development. Acclaim looks to have a winner on its hands.
Prospects: Severe cash injection for troubled Acclaim - marks Doom look like a school day out.
An Indian hunting dinosaurs? It sounds absurd, but it's the basis for one of the weirdest comic books on the stands today. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is published by Acclaim Comics and it will soon be making its game debut on the Ultra 64.
Turok lives in a dangerous yet idyllic place called the Lost Valley. It's inhabited by a plethora of vicious dinosaurs and it stands to be destroyed if the Campaigner, an evil genius obsessed with controlling time, gets his way. He has created a device called the Chronoscepter which, unknown to him, has the ability to destroy the time-stream. When Turok gets wind of the Campaigner's plan, he begins his journey through the Lost Valley to stop him.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a first-person action-adventure which takes advantage of the NU 64's amazing graphics technology. All of the humanoids in the game are motion-captured and all the dinosaurs and environments are computer-rendered. Much like Doom, there are a variety of levels in the game, as well as a huge selection of weapons for Turok to use.
Forget everything you've learned in the real world. You are a warrior named Turok, in the Saquin language meaning "Son of Stone," defender of the land, protector of the earth. Follow in the footsteps of your ancestors, make your way through the Lost Land fighting ferocious natives, dinosaurs, aliens, demons, and cyborgs, to find all of the pieces of the Chronoscepter and defeat the Campaigner.
Or, just have a screamingly wild time running through the jungle, hacking, slashing and/or blowing away everything that gets in your way!
Although the story of Turok as told in the comic books from Gold Key, Valiant, and Acclaim is an interesting one, it's not as important to gameplay as you might expect, which is perfectly fine. From the moment you turn on the game the objective is clear: EXPLORE. Run across it, climb on/up it, jump up/to it, swim in/around it, or slash/shoot it, all in a jungle environment that's so realistic, you'll be tempted to say "Computer, freeze program" ala the Holodeck on the Enterprise.
The idea behind this one-player, first-person adventure game is to survive the elements long enough to find all of the keys scattered in each level to gain access to each other level (and beat the hell out of all the bad guys too). You can return through the gate of a level you've already explored, to find things you've missed or couldn't reach until you had the right weapon. Watch out for dangers all around you -- the natives are restless, the dinosaurs are hungry, and the bosses, well, they'll make you wish you were playing Ecco the Dolphin instead.
The overwhelming best features of this game pack are the controls, the environment, the map, and the weapons. Let me elaborate:
The Controls: If you own a Nintendo 64, you've probably played Super Mario 64, and you've mastered how to make our plumber run, jump, turn, flip, and do all kinds of tricks using the cool new controller. Well, forget all those Mario moves; there's now a better way to move through life -- the Turok way.
The first 20 minutes I spent playing Turok, I got so dizzy trying to move around, it was like a chimp trying to fly a biplane. The four yellow C buttons control your movement, while the control stick controls your line of sight. I naturally wanted to use the control stick to move, so in effect I kept accidentally moving Turok's head around instead of his body. I wanted to punish the idiot that came up with such a screwed-up button system, but once I got the hang of it I realized the awesomeness of this control set -- to be able to simulate fluid head movements independently from directional movement. Look down at your feet as you cross a narrow bridge. Lean back to aim your Quad Rocket Launcher just a little bit higher and just a hair to the right. Aim perfectly and plunk an exploding arrow into the gut of a trooper on a high cliff 50 feet away. It's virtual reality without the cumbersome suit and headset.
The Environment: To describe what you'll see when you go exploring in the 8 stages of Turok would fill several dozen pages and still not do this game pack justice. This isn't just a game with jungle paths and rooms with doors -- you have to figure out ancient puzzles and find switches to reveal hidden paths and prizes. Dive down deep into a well, swim down a river, climb a 10-story high cliff, jump from pillar to pillar, or crawl through a narrow winding tunnel. And the enemies? Well they aren't just dumb objects simply waiting around the corner for you to come and find them. No, in this game the hunter becomes the HUNTED -- the demons and giant beetles and raptors come looking for you. There's more about it in the Graphics section.
The Map: Press the left shoulder (L) button to reveal this gem. The map is a see-through outline of your immediate surroundings, which will come in so handy that, like me, you may leave it on all the time. It spins as you spin, moves as you move, and reveals your path a few feet in front of you and everywhere you've been, showing walls as solid lines and cliffs (or any structure on a different plane as the one you're standing on) as shaded lines. The map is essential for those tricky jumps when the slightest misstep can cause you to plummet to your doom.
The Weapons: When you press the A or B buttons, a roulette wheel appears and spins to your left, letting you choose from your available weapons. You're limited to a knife and bow at first, but in no time you'll have enough big guns to make a card-carrying NRA member jealous. Watch your ammo levels though; try to find the backpack so you can carry twice as many clips, arrows and shells.
Ahh, the heart and soul of a good game, the qualities that will determine if you buy a game from the locked sales counter or from the pile in the clearance bin. You won't be disappointed with Turok. Objects sometimes tend to look a little flat and grainy up close, but you won't have time to notice it. The hazy jungle sky blends evenly with the trees and cliffs, creating a life-like, fascinating environment. You can even follow the glare in your eyes as you look up at the sun. And as any jungle should be, it's teeming with unseen life emitting roars, chirps and other various wildlife sounds from all around. Your enemies have an added touch of realism as well in both sights and sounds. Pump 6 rounds into a charging raptor (before he rips at your gut), and watch him squirm and hear his gargled screeches, all to satisfy your taste for victory. From echoes in darkened corridors to squeals of jeep tires in the arena, your senses will keep you believing you're in another world.
If you like the feel of first person games (ala DOOM), and you like adventure too (like Tomb Tomb Raider), it doesn't get any better than Turok. The smooth controls and fluid all-around head movement make it a real innovation in home video game technology. I wish they would use this game engine and remake some of my other favorite games, like Shadows of the Empire, for instance. Anyway, there's an amazing variety of terrains in eight levels to explore, and a few secret rooms too, so it'll be a long time before you get bored with this one. It's designed for mature audiences, but if you like you can change the blood to green or simply turn it off to soften the carnage. I recommend the following:
- Unless you like getting to level five and starting all over again when you lose your last life. To save your progress, keep an eye out for the "never around when you need one" monoliths scattered throughout the levels.
- Use the biggest screen possible. My brother's projection TV was like a dream.
- Sit in a dimly lit room. You want the full effect but without damaging your eyesight.
- Get surround sound. 'Nuff said.
- Check your heart medication. Don't say I didn't warn you.
For those about Turok, we salute you! Turok: Dinosaur Hunter brings on some serious gun-totin', sauroid-slashin', rip-roarin' action with a cool polygonal look and some gory graphics. Not just another Doom dummy, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is the best corridor shooter on the Nintendo 64!
Turok comes with a host of moves unavailable to standard corridor shooters--the ability to jump, climb, swim, or look around 360 degrees. Added to these abilities are 10 outstanding weapons that make those in Doom look like pea shooters (see "An Array of Armaments" on the next page).
Turok tells the tale of a mystical warrior who's out to stop an evil overlord known as The Campaigner from altering time in nine levels of increasingly frantic and blood-soaked game-play. As a matter of fact, you'll see more red than at the May Day Parade, with excellently depicted scenes of deaths and maiming (parents--watch the rating on this one closely). There's also a slew of non-human aggressors, including genetically altered gorillas, leapin' lizards, and more dinosaurs than in the House of Representatives. You'll face raptors, triceratops, and tyrannosaurs, as you try to find keys and exits for each level.
The graphics are superb, with excellent polygonal motion-captured enemies. They glide in smoothly to attack you, and when you dispose of them, they fly back or die with a realism that's almost too gruesome to watch. The misty jungles, abandoned temples, and eerie underwater sequences are all beautifully illustrated.
The sounds are also top-notch. Accompanying the death screams and garbled groans of victims is a driving jungle beat so intense you may want to do the macarena.
Get Ready Turok
Having produced awesome graphics and slick sound, Acclaim didn't let the control suffer. You track enemies smoothly and, with complete control of your character, you can explore every corner of Turok's world. The only downsides are imprecise jumping and the inability to configure the joystick.
Don't sweat the little stuff, though. Turok has more firepower, more control over its environment, and more gruesome graphics than other corridor shooters. The rest are Doomed to failure.
- You can get under the arc of a thrown grenade to avoid it. Shoot as you walk to take out the grenade thrower.
- When you reach the top of a building, jump to other buildings to find power-ups and weapons.
- Against projectile-tossing enemies, just shoot, then strafe to the left or right Their projectiles won't track you.
- When confronting human enemies, use your ammo wisely. If the enemy is carrying a gun, shoot them...
- ...but If the enemy is carrying a club or other hand-to-hand weapon, then conserve ammo and go after them with the knife.
- When you find save points, make sure that all enemies around the save point have been eliminated, or they4! come back when you load the game.
- Certain small animals (like the deer and the boar) give up health points when shot Use the shotgun to get more points out of them.
- Having trouble aiming accurately at enemies standing on ledges? Turn on the map and use the cursor in the middle as a targeting guide.
Detailed enemies, spectacular explosions, and zero pixelization when you get close to objects make this one of the great graphic forays for the Nintendo 64 so far.
A thundering beat and environmental nuances (dinosaur growls, bird chirps, monkey chatter) make the game a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.
Although you need a few practice rounds to get used to the analog controller, it soon becomes second nature. Strafing, weapon selection, and an onscreen real-time map also make the controls easy to handle.
Welcome to the new standard for corridor shooters. Turok will amaze, delight, and enthrall you for hours with long levels and tons of enemies. Get ready Tu-rok!
Turok fuses futuristic robots with enemies from the Paleozoic past. Notice the slick reflective metallic textures in the robot.
If you think Acclaim did a nice job with Alien Trilogy, these early shots of Turok give you a good idea of how sweet this first-person shooter may actually be. Utilizing the Nintendo 64's advanced capabilities, all the characters will be polygonal with high-definition texture mapping. Humanoid characters will feature motion-captured animations, and all the backgrounds are rendered.
Following several of the story lines from the Turok comics, Turok Dinosaur Hunter challenges you to stop the Campaigner (who plans to conquer the world with his time-altering device, the Chronoscepter) from taking over the Lost Valley. As Turok, you're armed with a hunting knife, tomahawk, pistol, and tek bow. Of course, you can acquire more state-of-the-art weapons.
Turok will incorporate "Warp Generators," which will allow you to play through the game in a nonlinear fashion. This feature will give the game much higher replay value as secret rooms, power-ups, and passages to other levels will be located in different places every time the game is played.
Based on the comic-book series, Turok is a first-person Doom-style shooter. Graphically, the game appears to make good use of the N64's capability to produce high-definition texture-mapped polygons, with fully rendered environments and fully 3D creatures. The player can move smoothly through each nonlinear area, and can discover secret rooms, power-ups, and tons of weapons.
Acclaim has developed an original and fascinating corridor shooter that puts all previous games in this genre to sleep. Turok will amaze you with superb graphics and nearly flawless gameplay.
Gunning for Glory
Serious grunting and groaning goes on here. Explosions are loud and ear-shattering, and the eerie wail of enemies will haunt you for hours. Even subtle sonic cues, like the flying arrows, are clear.
When Acclaim visited GamePro, they brought a whole slew of great games with them (see "Acclaim: In Our House," in this issue). Turok was definitely the showstop-per. Nuances like finely tuned light-sourcing cap off some great rendered enemies and backgrounds.
Turok plays smoothly, with no slowdown. Although switching weapons needs some refinement, this incredible game will still be one of the stars of the N64's first generation of games. We all wondered if Doom 64 would be any match for this shooting juggernaut.
Acclaim's been undergoing major company restructuring lately (see ProNews July), but insiders insist that Turok is still a priority. Time-travelling gamers will go back to prehistory for some first-person shooting at polygonal bionic dinosaurs--the "biono-saurs" created by the evil Campaigner. Your weapons include a bow and arrow, a futuristic 'tek bow," guns, and grenades. Staying true to the game's comic-book origins, the plot is carried through nine levels divided into three chapters: The Plot Revealed, The Ancient Ruins, and The Lost Land.
Acclaim's proprietary motion-capture technology brings realism to the atmospheric 3D worlds created by Iguana, Acclaim's programming studio. Turok is probably a Christmas release.
When it first came out, I pledged my undying love to the carnage that was Doom. When Duke Nukem 3D arrived, I had an unshakable urge to run to him screaming "shoot me!" When Quake came out, I must say that I strayed and let the eye candy lure me into its grip. And when Lara came to town, I had a brief encounter that left me empty. There is a new love in my life now, and his name is Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. I have never gotten so wrapped up in a shoot-the-stuffing-out-of-everything game as I am in this one. Turok is like all those other games combined, and then some. Turok is much more than a first-person shooter; it is an adventure that is well-developed and extremely fun.
Let me try to set the scene for you. It is 4:00 A.M. on a Sunday morning and I have been up all night fighting my way through every ungodly creature this game has to offer. I don't want to give anything away, but I am in a quiet hallway running for my life, because as soon as I stop, some damned Leaper jumps at my ankles and tries to get rid of my instep problem. Then all of a sudden, BOOM! A wall comes crashing in on me, and this giant beast known as a Pur-lin (a gorilla-like creature) jumps out and stomps me into a mud hole. The wall caving in actually made me yell out so loud that the neighbor next door remarked about it the next day. I don't know if it was lack of sleep or what, but it takes a mighty powerful game to scare me.
As I mentioned, this game is a first-person shooter and is much easier to master than the console version. On my trusty $9 gamepad the A button fires, B jumps, and the C and D buttons cycle up and down respectively through the arsenal you carry. If you have trouble with the jumps or aiming, try the tutorial -- it's quite useful in the early going.
As for the game design and structure, there are 8 levels of play, all of which offer some quite unique challenges that you will need to master the final level. I loved the variety of places I encountered, as well as the fact that not only was I constantly having to kill or be killed, I was in search of the all important keys to the portals. As in other first-person shooters, if you don't find the keys, you ain't going anywhere.
Speaking of picking things up, don't forget to look for power-ups and loose ammo lying around. I would also suggest you get to know your weapons well, as I found out with the mega-powerful fusion cannon. I had been beat up pretty bad throughout the game, when a huge triceratops came lumbering towards me. I said "enough of this" and charged that bad boy up -- then boom, I was dead. The waves of carnage that had been meant for my foe not only got him, but the aftereffects got me as well. Bummer. I haven't used that one since, at least not at close range. Otherwise, my knife (Old Faithful, I call it) was very handy in fighting up close or when enemies were just too small to waste a grenade on. You also have a Tek bow that comes with standard arrows, but also fires deadly "tek" arrows that will reduce your foes to a quivering puddle. Scattered among the levels are more weapons, like the assault rifle, the shotgun, automatic shotgun (really useful with exploding shells), pulse rifle, mini-gun, alien weapon, quad rocket launcher (hard to find but packs a wallop), shockwave weapon, and the elusive but criminally effective chronosceptor. Each weapon is valuable in its own way, but not every one is effective against all creatures. Try hitting a Triceratops with an arrow and he may inhale you.
As for the bad guys, you are faced with twelve different creatures. That may not sound like much, but wait until you have expended all your bullets, arrows, and energy on lesser beings and a couple of Raptors decide that it's lunchtime. Remember Jurassic Park? 'Nuff said. And then there's the Triceratops. This big lumbering cowboy will crush you in no time flat if you don't do the all-important run-like-hell thing. It took me five tries at shoot-and-run before I skidded by him and hid behind a tree. And then he ran over the tree and crushed me anyway!
And it's not only creatures you have to look out for -- there are the killer plants as well. I won't tell you what they do, but ouch! Also included are some very pesky blow dart guys who really must be dumb to try and come after me with a hollow stick when I have my grenade launcher in hand. Silly boys.
There are only two beefs I have with this game. One is the lack of multiplayer support. The other is the save game that was incorporated from the console version, which makes you practically go through a whole level before you can save and makes for some very frustrating times when you have to start a level over and over again and keep getting killed at a certain point.
The graphics in this game are pure eye candy. Using my trusty 3Dfx card, the game has a surrealistic quality that is matched by no one. I have been witness to fog in games before, but most of the time it seemed out of place and sometimes overbearing. Not here. As a matter of fact, the fog is a big part of the game, but like real fog it has its limits. I have played games where the fog seems to be smoke-like, swirling around your character, making it almost impossible for you to see the area two feet in front of you. Here it is not so dramatic; it just serves to cover that cliff in front of you that you keep falling off. But most importantly, you have a view range of about twenty feet, which might not seem like much when a raptor comes barreling out of the fog at you.
Inside a cliff dwelling or a building, the fog subsides. There is no time to stop and smell the roses, though, as you are usually about to be attacked. Speaking of which, your foes are all modeled very well and leave nice little blood sprays against any wall or big globs of goo strewn about the place when you nail 'em. Gory, yep, but that's the way we like it, right? If not, you can turn the blood off or at the very least change the color to green.
Still dwelling on the graphics, I drooled over the shimmering water, unmatched by any game I have seen so far. Also the trees, rocks, sculptures, etc... all paint the perfect picture of a prehistoric time. And some of the explosions were truly incredible -- especially with the chronosceptor and the fusion cannon, which exhibit some of the best weapon effects I have seen.
The sound quality was really good, especially if you own a subwoofer. The booms and blasts, the gurgling of enemies stricken by hot lead, and the roar of the beasts as they tear your flesh, all jump out at you. There is really no music track, just jungle-type noises that add drama to the conquest.
No fluff, just 20 pages of descriptions and strategies, etc. The game includes a good tutorial that will help you get used to making the kind of moves you'll need to know to stay alive.
Pentium P120 PC or higher, 16 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive space, Windows 95, second generation 3D accelerator card, Gravis Pad and sound card recommended.
This game is rated M for a reason. The blood and gore are enough to make any highbrow wince and run away. As far as it being too intense for the younger crowd? Nah. You have all seen worse on TV. So I would say without any reservation, try it out -- it's being shipped OEM with some next generation graphics cards, or if you already have one of those cards, spend the money to bring on the carnage. The only real complaints about this game are the incorporation of the save feature from the console version that makes you look for these little stands to save your game, which can really be a bummer at times. Otherwise, the only other thing is the missing option for multiplayer, which for some seems to be important. Basically, buy it.