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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Acclaim

 

Developer

Acclaim, Austin

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q3 2002

 

 

- Cool atmosphere

- Solid addition to the Turok series

- Great sound design

- Variety in level design and approach

 

 

- Some levels are really, really tough

- Linear outdoor levels

 

 

Review: Turok: Evolution (Playstation 2)

Review: Turok: Evolution (XBox)

Review: Metroid Prime (Gamecube)

 

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Turok: Evolution

Score: 7.6 / 10

 

Turok Evolution (TE) landed on my plate almost the same time as Starfox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet.  Although the dinosaur – or at least prehistoric – theme runs through both, they’re wildly different.  Dinosaur Planet is more kid friendly – bright graphics, moderate violence, etc.  TE is all about revenge and wholesale slaughter, which isn’t to say that TE revels in its violence.  There are quite a few cleverly incorporated puzzles and intriguing level layouts for those that like to play with their thinking caps on, but TE still manages to pack in the action for those that like to run and gun.

 

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Players take the role of Tal’set who has been sucked into another dimension, the Lost Land, along with his arch-nemesis Captain Bruckner (who orchestrated the obliteration of Tal’set’s people) who may or may not be aligned with Tyrannus, a being seeking total rule of the Lost Land. (Most of this should sound very familiar with Turok fans.)  Tal’set joins up with a local group attempting to purge Tyrannus’s evil from the land, which is convenient considering Tal’set is a veritable one-man army.

 

Tal’set begins with a piddly war club and regular bow.  Of course, he doesn’t like taking on groups of raptors without heavier firepower so scoring the Tek-bow, flame thrower, or Dark Matter Cubes – the ultimate grenade – are high on his list of things to do.  There are 13 weapons available (more if you count secondary fire and flight armaments) and Tal’set will need every one of them.

 

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The action is broken into two parts: regular first-person shooter and 3rd person pterodactyl flying.  Both modes complement each other well and do a great job making you feel part of a larger operation (even though you’re by yourself most of the time).  The flying levels do tend to be more difficult (or “challenging” depending on what word you want to use) but the overall level of mastery required of TE isn’t excruciating – which is good because when you die you restart from the beginning of the level.

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Thankfully, the control aspect doesn’t add to the challenge.  Yes, there’s still a learning curve but you’ll be picking off Sleg forces – those are the bad guys – before you know it.

 

Some of the Sleg forces Tal’set encounters can be tricky to take down, especially when they have foliage to hide behind.  There are plenty of different kinds of Sleg troops, each with their own method of attack and weaknesses.  Much of their strength comes from their positioning in the levels.  Usually they’re placed in just the spot that allows them wide view and the ability to get off a couple of shots before Tal’set can even find them.  Not every enemy is preset though.  You’ll learn to dread the appearance of the spawners, which basically act as portals for more Sleg troops to come through. Then you have to deal with some tricky maneuvers while alternatively shooting the spawner and any enemy troops.  And that’s to say nothing of the various wild creatures slithering or bounding around. (What’s worse, a couple of crocs or a horde of really cheesed baboons?)

 

Consistency marks the level design throughout the game – 14 sprawling, but often linear, levels.  When exploring cave complexes and motherships, it makes sense to have a linear approach since it’s a confined space.  The fact it’s linear can be somewhat forgiven.  But when outside, impenetrable jungle is very common.  Sure, Tal’set can take down groups of raptors with his war club but when presented with jungle foliage he might as well be hacking brambles with a toothpick. (In all fairness, TE isn’t the only game guilty of this.)

 

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But on the subject of foliage, most all of it looks very good.  The outdoor sections are realistically rendered with flora and small touches that set the tone well.  Indoor areas are equally well done but fairly unremarkable; however, the creature design is great.  I found myself looking through the sniper scope to just look at bad guys – that is, before eliminating them.  Most importantly, everything moves smoothly even during the more pitched battles, which actually happen on regular basis.  But some of the flying portions can be a slightly jerky, marred with some mid-flight loading that can be off-putting.

 

Audio deserves a special mention.  TE actually manages to re-create tense moments most often reserved for the movies.  You know the scene, Bob is walking through a dark forest and there’s the sound of a snapping twig.  Bob stops and pricks his ears up to locate any other sounds that might help him identify what’s stalking him.  I did this a few times without even really thinking about it – listening for clues instead of looking for them.  The soundtrack seemed to be a bit much at times but otherwise completely appropriate.

 

Turok Evolution doesn’t reinvent the first-person shooter genre – it generally lives up to its “Evolution” subtitle.  Turok fans should be happy and action lovers will probably enjoy themselves too. (I did.)  Worth a look.

 

- Omni

(November 6, 2002)

 

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