Many first person shooters do one of two things when they are released: shine or totally flop. Unfortunately, the anticipated Turok: Evolution falls into the second category.
The Turok franchise was started on Nintendo’s N64, and has since had 6 installations since on the N64, GBA, and now the three next-generation systems. The story, however strange it may seem, goes like this; an Indian somehow gets teleported back in time to the Prehistoric Era, and modern humans (with shotguns, etc.) are there to meet him along with dinosaurs. Yeah, the story is pretty screwy; but more often than not, FPS’ aren’t known for their exquisite stories or plot lines. Where Turok does focus, however, is on the action. In Turok: Evolution, there’s no shortage of this aspect.
First off, one thing must be addressed: Turok’s graphics. In most FPS’ these days, they set out to redefine the genre with jaw dropping graphics, this is not the case in Turok: Evolution. Turok is definitely not a gorgeous game, the frame rate stutters, bump mapping is unheard of, etc. Now if these things and more don’t bother you, go for it: buy the game. I had an open mind when it came to the graphics (you definitely have to), and they certainly aren’t bad, but nothing special. Character models are often laughably bad and the scenery mostly looks good because there’s so much of it. With there being so much scenery, that brings me to my next complaint: draw distances. After recently conquering Mario Sunshine, the draw distances seemed like you could only see to the barrel of that shotgun or even less. This, luckily is only a problem in the campaign, and doesn’t usually distract multi-player skirmishes.
The Turok franchise has been known for its different/ creative game play, and Turok: Evolution, surprisingly, doesn’t pursue this aspect. The N64 outings of Turok had such things as jumping puzzles and key searches; this is not lost, however, it is not major in this game. These puzzles have been mostly tossed out the window and replaced with gun fights ga-freakin-lore. Speaking of gun fights, Turok surprisingly falls short in this area. The intricate battles shown in the E3 demos and such were forgotten and replaced with laughably stupid enemies. I often found myself sniping the dumb sons of (expletion deleted) when they were “taking cover” behind the smallest of obstacles. This, and more, is how stupid the enemies are. The whole thing about the lesser of the creatures surrendering to you was cool, but you really don’t care after the second time and just blow their face to pieces as usual. The whole gratuitously blowing the limbs off of enemies is actually the most fun I could find with the single player campaign. I’m not usually a gore-loving person, but this is the most fun you’ll have with the single player portion of the game: successfully destroying the head of your enemy. Overall, the single player mode is all but memorable and will only train you or refine your skills for the next portion of the game: multi-player. Let me get this across first: the multi-player aspect of this game is certainly not bad. I would recommend pushing Halo completely out of your mind when you play this because you’ll subconsciously hold a grudge against this game. The game has its share of multi-player modes, though not anything no one has heard of, they serve their purpose. The one mode of play that stands out is the aerial deathmatch, which consists of the Pterodactyl riding mode of the game in small areas. This mode was certainly fun, and helped hone your skills for the near impossible levels on campaign. The rest of the multi-player is certainly fun; I thoroughly enjoyed the whole monkey chase thing. Getting fragged for holding a little monkey and running around is memorable. When thinking of Turok: Evolution’s multi-player, I certainly have many hilarious memories (one consisting of one of my enemies hiding in tall grass with a club and ambushing others), and that is definitely the purpose this mode completes: it’s extremely fun.
If you’re going to have fun with a FPS, you need good controls; and Turok does fine in this aspect. Getting started takes no time at all and once you get the controls down, you’ll be figuring out intricate strategies from behind cover. The sniping aspect of the game was executed well with slow movement while in the scope mode to ensure success. I’m glad that Acclaim included the secondary weapon modes, because those add a lot to the game. When in the Pterodactyl flight portion, the controls are easily confused with others such as Star Fox, but they aren’t complicated or difficult to get the hang of. In the end, there’s nothing to gripe about in controlling Turok.
Sound in a FPS is either good or bad, and Turok is mediocre. The game often presented a satisfying score to all the action, which I was very surprised about. In the action portion of the game (all 99% of it), the sound serves its purpose with loud bangs for the sniper “rifles” and cocking sounds for the shotguns. In conclusion, the sound is the usual fare for a game.
There really isn’t much in this game to play over. If I had to find one thing fun enough to play over, it would be the multi-player. The multi-player isn’t the best in the world, but it’s something that you won’t find in many other places.
In the end, Turok is definitely what everyone was hoping it would be, but that’s mostly because of the large standards everyone has set. Turok is definitely not one of the year’s best, but a good rental for all adult gamers.