This week on Nostalgia Trip, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. The game where you play as a Native American as you fight hunters, dinosaurs, aliens, cyborgs, and the bastard known as fog.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was a comic series that ran from the 1954-1982, but was rebooted in the 90’s. The game takes it’s story from the 90’s reboot. You play as Tel’Set who has taken upon the mantle of Turok: Son of Stone as you traverse the Lost Lands to find the path to the Campaigner. The Campaigner is an alien cyborg bent on total conquest. Your job is to travel to the 7 points of the Lost Land to find the runic keys that will finally allow you to face the Campaigner.
Released in February, 1997 for the N64 and PC, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was the first in the series of Turok games for N64. Developed by Iguana Entertainment and published by Acclaim Entertainment.It was followed after with Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion and Turok: Rage Wars. The final game of the original series, was Turok: Evolution, a prequel to the first game released on the Gamecube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. The reboot Turok in 2008 had little to do with the original story, except the name, and dinosaurs. The game did last long as the main shooter on the N64 as Goldeneye was released later in the year. Goldeneye was the better game in many aspects, but Turok still had its merits.
The game is an FPS shooter with platformer elements. The game uses a semi-Doom method to aiming. You can look around, but there are no crosshairs. You basically use the center of the screen as guide point to hit enemies. Turok, uses a level like structure with a central hub. The first level leads to the hub with 6 portals leading to the different levels with the final portal leading to the final confrontation. Each level has a series of keys that need to be found in order to proceed to the next set of levels. For example, the keys for levels 4 and 5, are split between levels 2 and 3. Spread across all 8 levels are pieces of the Chronoscepter, the most powerful weapon in the game, that only has 3 shots. This is appropriate as you don’t find the last piece until right before The Campaigner.
I am Turok!...the ragdoll
It follows the Doom/Quake model for health, in that when you are at 100 health, +2 health items will continually increase your health to a maximum of 250. There is also armor found throughout the game that will decrease first before health. Weapons range from the knife and bow to pistol and auto-shotgun to the Quad-Launcher and Fusion Cannon. Ammo capacity can increased with a backpack.
The game uses a life system. You start off with 3 lives, and gain more by collecting 100 Golden Triangles which will be signified by Turok’s voice saying “I am Turok”. I’d like to think they are Doritos and Turok just has the munchies. The entire story is just one long trip. The collection of these will help when it comes to dealing with the platforming deaths that will occur.
The enemies are not too difficult to deal with. Most of the human enemies die from 2-3 shots from the pistol. As you progress through the game, the enemies change. For example, the hunters become cyborgs, the raptors get laser cannons. Some of the enemies you face are just plain annoying. There are these little dragonflies that get up in your face, and you can’t shoot them, or the tribal shamans who just eat bullets and fire flame skulls.
DIE DIE DIE
Worst enemy you will face is the distance fog. The developers designed the draw distance like this to reduce strain on the N64. This is why you can only see a certain distance before you see black or fog. This makes some parts of the game hard if you need to jump down to platforms below. You either aimed right and landed, or you jumped to death.
Watch for any sort of hint to make sure you jump safely.
Why does Turok hit that nostalgic feeling for me? The game was cool! Back in 97’, I was 6 years old shooting bad guys and dinosaurs with arrows and rockets. I had no idea what the story was, just enjoyed playing the game. I had a Gamepro at my side with all the codes and just had general fun with the game. There were so many awesome enemies to fight, from the cybernetic enhanced raptors, to a giant mantis, to, and as Dr. Evil would say, A T-Rex with a frickin’ laser beam attached to his head!
Does the game hold up? After replaying the game after so long, 17-18 years, the game is at least fun to revisit. Turok is still a confusing mess, which the fog does not help. Having to jump into fog to find the next platform is not ideal platforming. Not to mention some ledges require exact jumps or else you die. I died missing jumps more than getting killed by enemies, which in my playthrough was once. I died once at the first boss, all other times was either missing a jump or accidentally doing a side dash off an edge. Playing the PC version, by hitting strafe twice quickly you do a quick side jump. Most of the later levels have you fighting on platforms so I ended up accidentally side dashing a lot. The bosses can be summed up pretty easily, circles! If you constantly run backwards in a circle while attacking the bosses, you are almost guaranteed to never be hit.
So what do you guys think of Turok? Have you played it or will play it?
Next week on Nostalgia Trip: fighter jets, land carriers, awesome music and sidescrolling goodness.
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AlmightyDuke is a casual gamer that’s stuck on a island called Newfoundland. So, he uses the internet to spread his know-how and opinions about gaming to a larger audience. Follow him on Twitter @AlmightyDuke_NL