Even though it may have been just about two decades ago, the era of the Nintendo 64 is far from forgotten. We still get little reminders here and there just how awesome that era was, from Activision’s release of Goldeneye 007: Reloaded to re-releases of N64 classics like Mario Kart 64 and StarFox 64 on Nintendo’s hardware.
But NightDive Studio has managed to bring back a pair of classics for fans to enjoy with both Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, which were released in the midst of the N64’s run and introduced fans to a pair of console-based shooters that really defined the era. Granted, the series has lost some steam since then, as Rage Wars and the previous Turok reboot for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 didn’t really do enough to bring it back to greatness. But, still, we’ll take a humble beginning over nothing at all.
Now, if you haven’t played the original Turok games, you might want to know up front that these games are old. Not to say they’re ancient and won’t entertain you, but they have a more simplified control scheme than most of today’s shooters. On top of that, even though they’re in remastered form, they do look aged for their time, especially when you start killing enemies and see them go through similar death animations.
Stay, and Slay For a While
But once you accept that this isn’t your conventional set of shooters, you’ll have a good time. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter sets things into motion, as you make your way through Aztec-style villages, wiping out human and dinosaur adversaries alike while picking up a variety of weapons. The adventure continues with Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, which features better visuals, more elaborate level designs, and fancier weapons, including that awesome Cerebral Bore, which fires off homing bolts that drill their way into enemy heads, then explode just a few seconds later. Still the best after all these years.
The one thing we’ll note here is that the levels in both games are huge, which means there’s a chance that some rookies might get lost. You can turn on a map at any time, but it’s not very helpful, since it just reads a simple grid instead of showing you where everything is. Perhaps that was the intention of the original development team at Iguana Entertainment, who handled both games. Perhaps the idea was to get you to explore and find hidden goodies, as well as little gems that scored you a 1up upon collecting 100 of them (with you yelling out, “I AM TOO-ROCK!” for good measure).prevnext
Blasts From the Past
That said, both games are a blast to play. It’s especially cool to use some ingenuity to clear out waves of enemies, whether you’re firing off an exploding arrow, or being less-than-subtle with a shotgun in your hand. The weapon variety of Turok 2 is much greater, especially as you start getting fancier and more destructive with your pick-ups. But don’t waste too much of your ammo – some bosses await later on in the game, and you’ll need all that you can get. (Make use of those checkpoints!)
I think I prefer the classic design of Turok 1 compared to the elaborateness of Turok 2, even if it is shrouded in that classic N64 fog for the most part. There’s something majestic about bringing down a raptor before it has a chance to snack on you, as well as bringing down a giant monster with a few well-timed shots. But, again, don’t let that deter you – both games are equally enjoyable, provided you have a Turok frame of mind. (Like, not in the current age of games.)
NightDive Studios’ treatment of the material is excellent. Both games have been remastered nicely, right down to the opening Acclaim and Iguana logos from the original games. They run at a fluid frame rate, and while some of the details are a bit on the ugly side, they’re true to their N64 coding, so no argument there. The audio is good too, especially Turok 2, which features a much more diverse (and adventurous) soundtrack than the first game. But, really, you’ll dig the sound effects more than anything, especially the “death screech” of the raptor. It’s like they were rehearsing for this.prevnext
Welcome Back To the 90's
The games don’t offer much longevity outside of exploring and looking for new stuff, but keep in mind they were built back in the late 90’s, when it was more about technical pizzazz in a game and not so much replay value (though some are arguably built with that, like F-Zero X and Mario Kart 64 with their stupendous multiplayer).
But for $20 each, the Turok games are highly loaded in value, mainly on nostalgia alone. NightDive Studios has treated these games with utmost care, and it shows with each battle you get into with each game. Sure, the puzzles are a little on the simpler side, and you might end up getting lost in some parts, but the games eventually come back to being a good time, as you mow down a number of dinos with your weapon of choice. Besides, it’s not every day that you can take down a T-Rex with a laser mounted to its head using your masterful array of weaponry. (Well, unless it’s sometime in the late 90’s, of course.)
Bottom line – don’t miss the Turok games. They’re well priced and full of value. And who knows? With their success, Nightdive Studios can dig in to more classic N64 ports. It’s about time we gave Re-Volt and those Extreme G games another round, you think?1comments
WWG’s Score: 4 out of 5.
Disclaimer: Review copies were provided by the publisher.prev