Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

Turok 2 is an N64 action game that was first released in 1998 and was ported to the PC several months later. The game is divided into five episodes, each one comprised of huge inter-connected levels that you access from a central hub. Every episode has a set of specific objectives that need accomplishing, usually simple stuff like ‘find this item’ or ‘activate that switch’ type of goals.

Almost immediately you’ll notice a few major design flaws hampering navigation. First and foremost are the absolutely enormous levels plagued by a striking sense of sameness. Large areas look too much alike and take forever to navigate, an issue stemming both from the sheer size of the levels and a limited suite of textures. Level design gets so generic and repetitive that you’ll often end up losing your way, a mistake made all the more easy by a thick fog (implemented to increase framerates) and a narrowed-down field of view. The PC version allows you to set the FoV but not the drawing distances.

9_1There’s a not a whole lot to do in these levels either. Areas are unlocked by activating switches which then open up new areas to search, where you’ll activate more switches and so on. The 2D automap is completely useless in making sense of things as it only displays a very small area around you, and fails to note important locations such as objectives or levers. Often times the automap will reset each time you jump between areas, regardless of whether you’ve already explored the place, which is completely baffling.

You’re granted quite a good amount of free roaming from a central hub, but this aspect too degenerates into painful grinds. Making progress between levels hinges heavily on finding each and every key, and you’ll often be required to replay huge portions of the game to find that one lone switch or whatnot needed to progress in a later chapter. Needless to say, this process loses its appeal after several hours. It doesn’t completely depend on how methodical you are anyway, as some early areas will only be unlockable much later in the game, making these long and largely uneventful revisits to already cleared territory purely mandatory. Isn’t free-roaming awesome?

Cerebral Bore


The ‘Cerebral Bore’ in action. Ewww. . .

But all is not lost! Though the game can be disheartening, it does have its ‘wow’ moments, in part thanks to the sci-fi weaponry. You start out with a basic wooden bow but advance to shotguns, pulse rifles, stun guns, grenade launchers and even an overpowered portable nuke. The weapon design is outlandishly clever, with one piece named the “Cerebral Bore”, an alien apparatus that launches an airborne drone which latches itself into a victim’s skull before sucking out every last bit of grey matter. Enemies with very thick skulls (such as the ape-like Purr-linn) or those with too little grey matter are rendered immune to the Bore’s bloody effects.

Yet combat too has its downsides. There seems to be some minor issues as far as hit detection goes, and you’ll almost always find yourself short of ammunition. Needless to say, these two issues work in tandem to make the game even harder than it already has to be. For instance, consider how you can only carry twenty shotgun shells, a pathetic amount by any standards. You fortunately possess a bow capable of firing reusable arrows, a godsend that makes the game more tolerable in the two early chapters.

The monsters found here have some good fight in them but ultimately fall short of spectacular. Some enemies will take cover, others can leap from wall to wall while others find their way around obstacles and unto platforms above them. Learn their patterns and they become all too easy to defeat.

Tunnel Vision

The default FOV (field of view) in Seeds of Evil is extremely narrow, around 45 or 50 if I’m not mistaken. Playing any 3D action game with an FOV lower than 70 is simply unbearable, and at no more than 50, Seeds of Evil looks like it’s viewed through a pair of binoculars (Note: footage seen here was recorded at an FOV of 80). Reducing vision and draw distances are common cheats used in console games to cram more detail so the machines running them won’t stall. Imposing those same limitations on the PC while not informing or giving any clear means of changing the FOV from the menus is inexcusable. Besides making your character extremely vulnerable to side attacks (an exploit rampant in deathmatch games), the narrow view also makes estimating distances a lot harder, a handicap you wouldn’t want to have with this game’s unwieldy platforming element. Regardless, you can increase the FOV manually through the console (eg: type ‘set fov 80’).

Even considering the above, Turok 2 isn’t the worse console port I’ve ever seen. The game runs under 3dfx cards by default but can also switch to Direct3D mode, with a good amount of graphical customization in between. Numerous control keys have been added while the game’s multiplayer component has seen the most significant overhaul from its N64 days, supporting both LAN and online connections with up to 16 players.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil has its share of flaws, some are limitations imposed by the console it was designed for, others just flaws. But if you’re bent on experiencing one of the most challenging FPS shooters out there, then go for it. Grab it from here as well dk.toastednet.org

System Requirements: Pentium 200 Mhz, 32 MB RAM, 4 MB Video, 200 MB HDD, Win95

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