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InfiniteKnifeInfiniteKnife Twitch
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Turok Evolution – GameCube

Turok Evolution – GameCube

Turok-Evolution-GameCubePlatform: Nintendo GameCube

Developer: Acclaim Studios

Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment

Release Date (NA): August 29, 2002

Genre: First Person Shooter

Nerd Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Turok: Evolution is one of the few games that I’m coming into with a clean mental slate. When I play a Sonic or Mario game, I generally have an idea what I’m getting myself into. When I play some other new video game, I can gain some perspective simply by the box-art and the featured images on the back. This is one of the rare times that I purchased a less-than-complete copy of a video game as I typically refuse to buy any form of visual or audio entertainment without a case and insert/manual. Being as I have never seen Turok: Evolution anywhere for a paltry $1, I was beyond compelled to make this disc-only transaction. Prior to the game’s release, Acclaim Austin promised more gore and better graphics, both of which are vividly apparent upon the game’s introduction to the title screen which features a humanoid reptile (known as a Sleg) taking a flying hatchet right through his head. Blood splatters on the “O” in the word Turok as the Sleg slides to the ground, head split in two. Is this what we’re in for? Damnit I hope so.

The Turok: Dinosaur Hunter video game series started as a comic book in 1956 long before it was ever conceived as a video game. The very first game in the Turok series was Turok: Dinosaur Hunter which was released on the Nintendo 64 and PC in 1997. The game was considered a big success financially, so it’s no surprise that three more titles were released for the Nintendo 64 with Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (1998), Turok: Rage Wars (1999),  and Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion (2000). With a total of four successful games on the Nintendo 64, bringing Turok to the 6th generation of gaming consoles was a big task with high expectations. There was a major technological leap between the 5th generation of gaming (N64, PS1, Saturn) and the 6th (GC, PS2, Xbox), and the idea of having a true 3D experience was finally becoming a reality. Can Acclaim deliver?

turok evolution 5

In the wild old west in the late 1800s, Tal’Set finds himself in a heated battle with his enemy Captain Bruckner. Out of nowhere a wormhole appears sucking both Tal’Set and Bruckner into the jungles of the Lost Land. The Lost Land is a world born of chaos that has been ruled by tyrants for a long time. Local inhabitants River Village discover an unconcious Tal’Set and lead him to safety. When Tal’Set awakes, he sets out to destroy the Sleg (reptilian humans), free some prisoners, and stop Captain Bruckner once and for all. Legend says there may be one man who can save them all…

Turok: Evolution’s story is exceptionally bland and for the most part boring. Sure, this game isn’t meant to be taken as a series of realistic events, but randomly sending them to some random planet is just too ridiculous and lazy. But let’s be honest with ourselves, while we do love a good story, we’re here for the action and the gore. Don’t lie to yourself, you know I’m right. Story be damned, I’m here to kill aliens and spray blood and guts across The Lost Land.

Turok-Evolution-GameCube2

Turok: Evolution starts off with some decent voice acting and a movie-esque introduction of the plot to set the tone. The music is wildly intense at times and set my nerves writhing with discomfort (this is a good thing). Each level is somewhat open-world where you can explore, but there are also some paths strewn about to help guide players in the right direction. Turok: Evolution presents a series of task-based levels that require strong practice in the art of patience and perseverance. Even with a vastly improved game design (still not perfect), the story is possibly the weakest part of the game with the game mechanics in a close 2nd. But I don’t drop a game’s Nerd Rating too far down just because of a weak storyline as most games can feel nearly the same with or without a story.

I dropped the Nerd Rating due to the game’s myriad issues revolving solely around control scheme and visual layout. Making a first-person shooter game is no easy feat, but there are too many instances of having to walk along narrow paths and execute precision jumps which require you to focus your camera on the ground just to keep from dying. Some of these areas are unforgiving with a maddeningly horrific environmental design likely created just to cause teenage boys to commit suicide.

Turok-Evolution-GameCube1

Don’t kill yourself yet though (you’re still going to want to, just finish the article first) because there’s more. The graphics are above average and look pretty decent for a GameCube game, but I was really hoping for something a little flashier. More pizzazz. But maybe that’s just because my expectations are so high. Up close the bushes and trees can look a lot like they belong in a Sega Saturn game while the ground texture looks like it could be in a Nintendo 64 game… Get my point? The finer details are lacking a bit, but the colors are superior to previous Turok games and the animations are pretty good too. The framerate can be a tad bit slow on occasion, but overall it’s a lot easier to discern what’s what than in previous installments. If the graphics are good then the music is great.

turok evolution 3

The soundtrack in Turok: Evolution appears to be on a short continuous loop, but most of the soundtrack is neither wildly invasive or overly hidden. It lulls along with typical jungle-music-instruments like pan-flutes, bongos, and other percussion instruments. There’s a moment when the track goes from soft and eerie to wildly intense and terrifying to the point where you want to throw down your hatchet and sprint for your life in fear! And then it just stops for a couple seconds before going back into a slow trance. Overall, the music is quite unique yet perfectly appropriate for the setting and tone of the game. It elicits a sort of uneasy feeling throughout with layers of mystery and exploration. Though lacking in variety, it is done quite nicely.

turok evolution

That soundtrack to Turok: Evolution might be the best thing I can say about the game even though it’s not entirely terrible. The gameplay, however, is a mixed bag of, “Whoa look at this!” right along with “WTF… Really? This is impossible.” Controls are decent at best except the horizontal turning speed is painfully slow. But guess what? Acclaim Austin was nice enough to include an advanced game option that allows the player to control the horizontal and vertical speed of your controller, so I bumped it all the way up to 10 and felt much happier. But then came the struggles to control the horizontal panning when it came to aiming my gun at the enemy. A speed of 5 to 7 is too slow to turn around fast enough to kill a raptor attacking you from behind while 8 to 10 is too fast to effectively aim your gun or bow and land a hit. Either way you’re going to be losing some life, so choose your poison.

Turok_Evolution_4

To sum it all up, Turok: Evolution is an average game on almost all accounts. While it does have some mildly entertaining sequences for a game of its time, it’s a tough sell with its arsenal of below average features. The controls feel like they’re covered in sludge and the graphics are pretty inconsistent. Loading times can be long enough to order and receive a pizza from Pizza Hut while framerates can occasionally dip below expectations for a 6th generation game. The story is extremely lame and the level designs are about as weak as Ben Affleck’s performance in Pearl Harbor. But the worst part of the game is the absolutely moronic and borderline retarded artificial intelligence (A.I.). I’m talking… stoopid, y’all. I watched an enemy Sleg charge at me only to watch him get stopped by a tree with a 5″ diameter trunk. That tree kept him running in place for about 30 seconds until I got behind him and he finally broke free of the tree’s eternal grasp. That is just one example of many. Turok: Evolution’s saving grace comes in the form of its wonderfully composed soundtrack. It’s the only thing that evoked real emotion in me.

Overall, Turok Evolution deserves a lot of praise for keeping the franchise alive and bringing it into the next generation of gaming, despite poor critical reviews of Turok 3. But they could have done a better job bringing Turok back to its roots. Evolution did do a fair amount for an early 2000’s game, but the hype was just far too much for what was actually delivered. They promised more gore and I didn’t see enough to peel my demented eyes off of Mortal Kombat or Killer Instinct and say, “Holy shit look at that blood!” If you see Turok: Evolution at your local flea market for $1.00, I know what you can do… Mosey on down to McDonald’s and get you a McChicken. Tell ’em to hold the Turok.

Nerd Rating: 5.5

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry


Nerdberry here. It’s about time I updated this badboy (been a loooong time). I’m currently loving time on my Xbox 360, as I destroy aliens left and right through the Gears of War games (man these games are good).

But that doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love for retro-gaming! My wife and I just bought a house (December, 2015) and we have a baby due ANY DAY NOW (my mini-nerdette-berry is 1 day late as of December 10th), so I haven’t fully unpacked the hundreds of cartridges that I own.

BACONEER ENGINEER EATIN’ STEER… AND PORK.

 
 

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