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Turok Evolution Package Art
†GENRE
††First-Person Shooter
†DEVELOPER
††Acclaim
†PUBLISHER
††Acclaim
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-4
†CONNECTIVITY
††no
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Turok Evolution

If anyone out there is Turok fan, then they have no doubt played the first Turok on the N64. That game had a superb mix of explosive weaponry, ferocious dinosaurs, and inspired levels. Itís still a fun game to play today. After the original Turok, though, the series seemed to take a steady decline in the quality department. While you could be on either side of the fence for Turok 2, there is no doubt that Turok: Rage Wars and Turok 3 were the absolute lowest the series and the FPS genre have seen. It's with a heavy heart that I announce that Turok Evolution for the GameCube fails to fair much better.

visuals

Turokís visuals have always been uniqueófor example, not many games let you blast a T-Rex with a particle accelerator. That being said, unique doesnít necessarily mean good. Weíre in the "next generation" of video games now, which means sharper graphics that in turn lead to a heightened sense of realism. Weíve seen what graphical prowess the Gamecube is capable of with titles such as Resident Evil and Eternal Darkness, so itís a shame to say that the visuals in Turok are just a notchóa bare notch, mind youóabove those witnessed in the previous N64 incarnations of the series.

There are some positives. Some enemies are detailed, and the death animations are superb, along with many of the visuals for the weapons. These positives, however, do not make up for the absolute lack of detail on most of the enemies, allies, and all-around details in the game. The T-Rex is made up of jagged slabs of flat-flesh polygons. There are walls and borders in the game where youíre looking into empty, dead space. But most importantly, the levels seem completely uninspired. It seems that the Turok team took care and patience for 70% of the crucial details in the game, and then threw the other 30% of it together in a week.

audio

The music in the game is pretty standard. Some tunes and themes work well together to fit the mood nicely, such as the orchestrated jungle tunes. However, throughout most the game the music just sits idle in the background, failing to be the rallying call needed to stir your blood and make you want to kill them all. Isnít that really what the music in a Turok game should try to do?

The sound effects however, are truly terribleóIím talking worse than N64 here. When youíre shot, even with Dolby Surround Sound, you cannot tell the direction the attack came from. You just hear a shot, and damage occurs to Turok. You look around blindly, desperately searching for where the sniper might be, but you canít see him. Repeat this process five or six times, until you see a small spec on the horizon that is your foe, and youíre about ready to toss the controller into the television set.

Another problem with the sound effects in this game is that they actually detract you from doing things in the game. Get ready to turn DOWN the sound when youíre about to go for a swimóit might bring back memories of your head being dunked in the toilet and a swirly being performed on you. Itís pretty much the H20 equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

gameplay

Controlling Turok is as much fun as trying to ride a bicycle with one foot pedaling the opposite direction in rush hour traffic. After twelve hours with this game, I still couldnít gain supremacy over the controller movements. I always had to stop moving, and take a moment to focus until the crosshairs were on my target. It wasnít a natural feeling; it was as if the controls were working against me. Thatís not a good thing, especially in a game this difficult. Which brings me to my next complaintÖ

This game is impossible. The save points are few and far between. You can spend thirty minutes going in a straight line against horde, after horde, after horde of baddies, only to die and have to do it all over again. On several occasions, I fell off a cliff... only to land safely just in time to repeat my trek back up the mountain for another ten minutes. Not fun. On other occasions, due to an extremely suspect collision detection engine, I fell off a ledge when I wasnít even near the edge of it. Then again, that may have been the lag/frame-rate issue that caused the problem. Itís a toss up.

My worst experience with Turok occurred on the fifth level. I was tossing around grenades when this piercing screech invaded my ear canal. It was so loud that it couldíve been mistaken for nuclear holocaust sirens, and so horrible that I was torn between throwing a brick through my television or driving a nail through my ear. GameCube off. Yes, thatís right. Seems Acclaim didnít iron out all the bugs in this "masterpiece" before the release. Let me describe to you my shock. Oh wait. I already have.

Load times in the game are unbearable. It takes one full minute just to load the options menu. No joke. That's a lifetime in today's games. You turn on the game, and you have to sit and wait... for the longest time just to be given game play options (single player, multi-player, options, etc.). Then, once youíve selected your choice, be prepared to wait another excruciating minute until you get into the action. Funny thing is, what you get when you finally get into the game isnít worth the wait.

multiplayer

The multiplayer in Turok Evolution isÖ well, there. The arenas are patchwork playgrounds littered with weapons; imagine jumping around and shooting at each other and youíve got it. Iím guessing itís fun, if youíre prepared to spend time getting to know the level layout. My friend and I spent ten minutes in death match wandering around and never ran into each other. Not once. The multi-player isnít necessarily bad, given the plethora of options available, but it isnít necessarily good either.

overall

Turok Evolution screams two words: Rush job. Given another three months of work, this game couldíve been enjoyable. Perhaps Acclaim thought it was better to spring this one on the public unawares, market the game by throwing a bunch of gruesome commercials on television, and hope enough people bought it before the word got out. This could also explain why Acclaim didnít send reviewable copies to video gaming media publications (such as EGM) before the game was released.

So, is Turok Evolution the final nail in this seriesí coffin? I canít honestly say for sure. But after this game, I donít see why Iíd want to play another Turok game in the near future. Especially considering there are so many more (and better) titles to choose from.

So, that leaves me with only one thing to ask: Have you no shame Acclaim, have you none at all?

final score 3.2/10





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