Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

snap859Turok was critically acclaimed by the console crowd as one of the best shooters on the Nintendo 64 (not that hard, with the only competition being the disappointing Shadows of the Empire) and its success made the prospect of a PC port very probable considering the huge fanbase it garnered. All told, Turok has lots of promise with attractive graphics and a bizarre setting — but like so many half-hearted console ports, it doesn’t offer the options or variety many PC owners demand, and the result is just another console curiosity piece.

Turok is hub-based, a la Hexen II and Quake II, and most of the eight levels are difficult to distinguish from each other. Blame it on the extreme fog coupled with repetitive wall textures (the original Turok had to be shoehorned into an eight-meg cartridge, and there wasn’t enough space left for any graphical diversity). The game files are tiny as a result, but the levels oh so bland as they are large.

Unlike the stuffy dungeons and military bases of Doom and Quake, Turok takes place in enormous prehistoric jungles, canyons, and stone ruins. Sadly, you can’t actually see much of the level at any given time, since Turok has an uncomfortably limited drawing distance. The screen “fogs out” after twenty feet or so, shrouding your surroundings in a cloudy mist — and while this works well in terms of atmosphere, the fogging gets extremely irritating after a few minutes of play. The game has a bunch of other maladies inherited from its console days – a horribly limited field of view that makes platforming a nightmare, a poorly integrated interface for changing game options (video, sound and controls), and the god-awful checkpoint saving system.

snap832Turok’s solo gameplay is nothing special, but the massive firepower certainly is. The weapons are more varied and fun to use than in any other 3D shooter — once you get your hands on the elusive Fusion Cannon and let that sucker rip, you’ll be scooping your jaw off the floor. And the enemies that you’ll disintegrate are pretty cool — the motion-captured humans and dinos are eerily well animated, and have some pretty gory death sequences (the standard grunt gags on his own blood while spurting arterial spray). Boss encounters are just as good — the final battle with a mechanized T-Rex is fantastic.

But despite the simplistic gameplay and annoying console conventions, the lack of enhancements for the PC version is the nail in Turok’s coffin. With such great weapons, there is absolutely no excuse for not including some type of multiplayer. And while playing a first-person shooter was definitely a cool novelty on the old N64, Turok can’t really compete on the PC with games like Quake II or Jedi Knight.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

Tags: Full Download Turok Dinosaur Hunter PC Game Review