Written By Shaun McCracken

I'll admit, the Turok series was never one of my perrenial favorites. I do own Turok 2 for the N64, this game, and that's about it. The series is good at providing massive environments with great detail and giving players a lot of weapons to brutally kill dinosaurs with. Plus, it's really bloody, which may appeal to a sick few. But the series always had problems; if it wasn't with the controls, it was with the level design or the multiplayer stages. There were many things that held it back from being an excellent shooter.

So did Turok Evolution resolve these issues? In a short answer: NO. In fact, Turok Evolution seems a lot like the Turok games before it. It does have large stages, it does have dinosaurs, it does have an interesting selection of weapons and it does have a lot of blood. But it also has the same control problems, the same unbalanced difficulty and even problems with it's frame rate (which is much more improved from previous efforts, but still drops now and then). Is it worth picking up? Read on.

Turok Evolution really never changed it's storyline from past games. Somehow a native American named Ta'l Set gets sent into this alternate, prehistoric society that is somehow technologically advanced. There's talking dinosaurs, and look, they have guns too! How odd? And you know what? They want to kill you (the hell you say)! But then there's a group of people who want you to eliminate the dinosaurs and reclaim human society! Did I mention the crazy general that comes along with you, and also wants to kill you? Haven't we seen this kind of story too many times before? But in a first person shooter, do we care?

Turok Evolution starts off pretty slow and eventually does pick up in action. But here is where one of the problems lie, in the enemy AI. At first, the enemies seem really stupid. Almost like they pity you and give you something to kill, just for free. Then they get "smart". They run in groups, hide behind rocks or trees and will run away if you hit them too much. What's unfair is that they hide in really intricate places where they can't be found. I don't know how many times I've been shot at by an enemy and couldn't find where it was coming from. Sometimes I can find them on ledges, but then it's all a mystery. And no matter how spastically you move, they always to seem to have an impeccable aim. Therefore, I have been killed a lot by dinosaurs that can't control themselves. But there is a bright side, with your Tek Bow, you can stand pretty far and eliminate enemies without being attacked. Of course, this only works if they can't see you and if the area isn't populated with enemies.

The game design is fairly straight forward. You spend most of your time in a first person mode, but there are stages where you take flight on a pteroyldactyl and shoot things. In a way, it feels almost like Agent Under Fire, where you take a break from shooting and do some driving. The difference is that Agent Under Fire did this better and seemed to make more sense. The flying stages here are almost there because other games have tried to vary the game play. It's not bad, I just thought it could have been executed better.

The level design can be called ambitious and frustrating. Turok Evolution is not a flat game. You will climb, swim, scale cliffs, jump over ledges and more. Unfortunately, this would work better in a platform game (such as a Mario game) that in a FPS. The biggest problem is in jumping. In most FPS games, jumping seems secondary, but in T:E, it's mandatory. And it's hard because you need to adjust your view to make the jump. It's just more frustration and aggravation.

The control scheme could have been realized a little better. While it's not as bad as Turok 2's default scheme (which is really confusing), this one takes some getting used to. I wish it was more like Agent Under Fire's, minus the fumbling for items with the D-Pad. Here, the main stick moves you forward and side to side, while the C-Stick is responsible for turning and looking up. A minor tweak could have made this tolerable. Firing weapons is rather easy, as is jumping and crawling. Weapon selection may be a little confusing in the beginning.

The graphics and sound are fairly good. It's not at the highest point it could possibly be, but it doesn't have pixelation or poor sound sampling. The game is fairly populated with trees and shrubs and plants. Plus, there's dinosaurs that act as decoration. All of it comes together pretty well, but it chokes the frame rate. It should be running at 60 frames per second, and at times it does, but when there's too much, it drops around the 20-30 area. Out of the 3 versions, the GCN version has the faster frame rate, but the X-Box version is more stable (from what I hear) running around 30 fps. It's really not bad, not like SpyHunter or running SSX Tricky on the GCN in a 2 player mode. The textures are adequate. They aren't pixelated, but don't really have much depth. It's fairly standard. They look good from afar, but up close, it's kinda blotchy. The sound is good. It's not totally obnoxious, but it could be better. The voice acting is terrible. The sound effects are spot-on.

Finally, I have to say this: Turok Evolution has one of the WORST loading times I have ever seen in a Gamecube game. Nintendo designed the GCN for minimal load times, but somehow Acclaim managed to create 20-30 second load times in this game. Considering that the chapters are broken up into 4-7 stage pieces, you'll be sitting there watching the loading screen twiddling your thumbs. I can imagine it's even longer on the PS2.

Turok Evolution may be the next shooter fix you've been looking for, if you can stand some of the game's unbalanced problems. It is longer than other FPS games I've played, and will have some replay value it it's multiplayer mode. And while it's not a perfect game by all means, it does manage to bring some much needed FPS action in a Turok package that manages to be better than the previous games in the series.






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ESRB Rating:
MATURE [17+]



There are a few problems holding this game back from being a truly great shooter. 

Unreal II: The Awakening


Unreal Tournament (PS2, 2000)

Unreal Tournament 2: The Liandri Conflict


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Half Life 2

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