Two things in the history of man is likely to set his primal urges off. First a beautiful woman, stretched naked, asking him to ravish her. Secondly a man trekking his way through a danger infested paradise, with his trusty knife and gun! While in both cases, some stabbing is involved, there is little help I can suggest for the first case! For the second case, Turok 2008, is a good substitute!
Some years ago, I played Turok on the Playstation. While I don't remember being awe inspiring, I do remember it being OK! Of course, now-a-days its graphics would be laughable. But the things that stood out the most, the fact that he had the coolest name in the world, and the odd jumping quirk. Where you needed a near perfect landing or you would fall to your doom, which put a lot of gamers off.
Back to the present, to Turok. In hindsight perhaps it would have been better if the designers had named differently, and probably why some, cleverly referred to it as Turok 2008. So has much changed?
First off the story starts with you on board an “Aliens” look-a-like ship. You play Turok, sent with a team of soldiers, trying to hunt down your former squad, the Black Shadows. After the debriefing, where you learn the target is your former squad commander. The ship is then shot down, and crashes on the planet. After meeting up with Slade, who doesn't trust you one bit, you hunt for the rest of the men and ship that went down in the crash. However you discover, it isn’t going to be that easy; first off the planet is covered with dinosaurs and enemy soldiers. And hey, the story isn't great, but when you picked up this title from the shop; were you really expecting a story driven plot. No neither was I!
The AI, is the most impressive I have seen in a long while. It creates really life like dinosaurs. When you see these critters, you really believe that they act like a dinosaur. Oddly enough the humans aren't as good, and I know humans are complex creatures. But it seems to me a strange thing, mystifying, that we can imitate dinosaurs better than humans?
However, the first portion of the game can lose you slightly. As this is the tutorial and visual wonderland. After a rather lengthy learning part, things do start to pick up! The amount of weapons, action, and excitement you are exposed to gets much better. Even still, you'll often feel a small twinge of boredom, as the pace just feels like it’s dragging a bit too slowly. While this in no way an issue, as this small twinge will pass quickly, and right around the next corner is the next challenge!
The graphics are beautiful and the forest is meticulously done, thick, lush, and densely vegetated. You can even feel the hot humid air on the back of your neck, not letting you sweat. The flies as they buzz around the think stench of decaying carcasses. Of course the bushes look a little pixelated up close, but in no way is that a flaw. Also this adds to the fear, when dinosaurs make a dash for you, they are hidden until they pounce. You can hear them coming, but because of the jungle, you can’t see them. This really adds to the whole experience, and creates that extra layer of tension!
Everything in this game has been drawn carefully, and it really shows. The dinosaurs, forest, and even the men look fantastic. What I most appreciate about them is the fact that they have gotten rid of the glossy shine from their skins. While the majority of games have started to remove this shiny coat, this game really stands out. Everything looks more realistic, and not had a hot wax polish!
In games, using a knife as a weapon, always feels a bit hit and miss. For me, the attack always seems a little limp wristed. This is the main reason why I never use a knife in games, as a paper cut seems like a nastier affliction! But Turok reminds me of the famous quote from crocodile Dundee, and indeed it is! The first time I used it, was against an approaching raptors. Not a limp wrist in sight as Turok jams the blade deep into its skull. The dark think blood spurting out, some running down the blade, dripping in a strong pungent pool on the forest floor. Slightly morbid I know, but thoroughly satisfying. With the constant thread of raptors jumping out at you, you feel extra safe; silly as it might sound, tightening your grip around the blade handle!
The weapons are fantastic, and feel real and deadly, especially the knife and bow. While tricky at first, Turok would be nothing without them, on a side note, the both are supposed to offer silent kills. However, just from experience, the guards always seem to notice when one comrade has been taken down by the bow.
The weapon range is vast; you have a pistol, sub machine gun, a pulse rifle, a grenade launching pistol, shotgun, and more. In fact the only weapon I was not impressed with was the sniper rifle, but it is not missed, as any sniping, is normally performed with the deadly bow. Of course you need to progress much further to obtain these other weapons, and the ones not mentioned here. In fact I was surprised with the assault shotgun, which has a flare attachment. While you can only shoot two flares, and then requires a small period before being able to use them again, this simple attachment is very useful. As you can shoot flares into another dinosaur, and it will then become the target of the pack. Or you can even use it to distract dinosaurs, which is just as much fun and very handy.
I love this game, in all its macho glory, but still it's not without its quirks. Thankfully its nothing like the bug infested Assassins Creed. There are minor ones that produce both humorous and mildly irritating effects. Two such are the odd appearances of enemies and the multiply effect.
The multiplying effect, occurs rarely, and is humorous. During a rather hectic fire fight, I lost my squad. Afterwards, we regrouped, and a little surprised to see three members, when there should have been only two, Slade and one other guy we picked up along the way. There were now two Slade's! That’s when I realized that the computer must have created another Slade, because he had gotten too far behind. So it seems that the computer doesn’t delete the other character, but still it's an extra weapon! (See Picture) I had heard the jungle plays tricks on your mind, but more so than dinosaurs, this is just weird!
The other glitch is due to Turok's gameplay approach. Some parts of a level may have several approaches, which means, that you are able to get into a room from different ways. This is a great thing, as it breaks up the ‘Corridor after Corridor’ feeling. But there is one small hiccup the designers forgot about.
But first, if you know anything about games, you'll know about hot spots. These are points on the map, where a player walks over, and then something happens. For example, when a secret door opens, and bad guys rush into the room. Well you have just walked on a hot spot area. This is a common way of controlling the actions in a game.
Only in Turok, due to the multiple approaches, things can go a little wrong. It is very possible to avoid some hot spots all together. Or what can happen, while exploring, you can travel down a corridor, the wrong way it was designed for, and hit a hot spot. Then turn back, to see what was once empty, is now full of angry enemies. Suddenly they have just appeared from nowhere! But worse still, that you avoid one, hit the next one, the enemies come rushing out, and force you back into the hot spot you just avoided. The designers create a map with the intention of experiencing the enemies in sets. But this problem can lead to some frustrating/challenging moments, and swamp you with two waves of bad guys.
Other little odd moments or flaws are really minor, and none of the above will adversely affect the games experience. While the hot spot is an issue, thankfully, there are very few of them, and not a problem. The only thing that will annoy you a bit, is the loading times, but if you look at the games specifications, at the bottom. You can see why. Turok takes a hefty 16 GB hard drive space, which is huge. Because of this, you will have to put up with the long loading process, but with the vast levels and the beauty of it, it is well worth the wait.
This leads me on to the loading screen, and the numerous tips they offer the gamer. While most seemed to be referring to multiplayer part of the game. None of them, excluding 3-4, seem to offer any useful information. (See Picture) To me they seem like very obvious stuff, and would not consider it a tip! Such things as if I suggested to you, breathing is a good Idea. It seems that they got a little sloppy here, and will make the loading screen feel a little longer. But that’s just me nit picking at an extremely good game.
The only other thing I find annoying is Slade, or whoever is accompanying you on the mission. Sometimes they feel like the kids in the back of the car, constantly whining “are we there yet!” Sometimes there is so much chatter, especially in sections where you have 2 or more soldiers with you, you feel like turning around and telling them to shut up. However this over use of chatting is infrequent and again just picking at some nits.
So has much changed? I really can't remember much from the old Turok, but I certainly won't be forgetting this one anytime soon! James
Minimum Specifications, From Turok Readme File Microsoft® Windows Vista® / XP SP2 2.4 GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 class or AMD® Athlon 3400+ or equivalent processor 1 GB RAM 16.0 GB uncompressed hard drive space 128 MB DirectX® 9.0c-compatible, 3D video card (nVidia® GeForce® 6600 or better, ATI® Radeon® X1300 or better, excluding X1550)
NOTE: Onboard (built-in) integrated chipsets are not supported: (e.g., Intel® on-board 8xx/9xx series chipsets, SiS and S3 series, ATI® Mobility Radeon® 7500 & X1300)