- Publisher: Acclaim
- Developer: Iguana
- Release: Nintendo 64, 1 March 1997
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Saving: Controller Pak, 16 Pages
- Rarity/Cost: Common, US$5-15
I'd imagine not many people know this, but Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is actually based off a long-running comic book franchise which Acclaim picked up the rights to a few years before releasing this game. In fact, according to the retcons established by Acclaim Comics, Turok isn't even the player character's name, but rather his title. Technically, his real name is Tal'set Fireseed, a Native American warrior from the mid-1800s who protects the Lost Land, a parallel world where "time has no meaning". That means having dinosaurs and aliens in the Lost Land is a natural occurence. Not so natural is our villain, the Campaigner, who seeks to break the barrier between Earth and the Lost Land and cause all manner of chaos in the interest of ruling both. A weapon known as the Chronoscepter, which is so powerful it had to be disassembled into eight pieces, will prove crucial to both factions' goals, but we'll discuss that later on.
Compared to the claustrophobic corridors from the more in-vogue FPS series of the time, TDH showcases a varied array of environments, like wide-open jungles, the ruins of an ancient city, and intricate catacombs. Each of the 8 huge levels in the game is accessed by a hub, and you'll have to travel back and forth as you collect keys to open the next levels, as well as the 8 pieces of the aforementioned Chronoscepter, a beam gun which will give you a major upper hand against the final boss. Rather famously, all these locales are draped in a curtain of fog or darkness which shortens your range of vision somewhat. Although intended to ease the load on the N64's graphics processor, this could create tense moments where a raptor or something jumps out at you with no warning. ...Okay, while that was just a hypothetical (if possible) scenario, I do sometimes get spooked by most enemies' tendencies to continually respawn after death. Sadly, items do not regenerate if you ever have the need to go back to a level. For this reason, try to find all the keys on your first run through (and pay attention to the handy checklist from the pause menu). And in another oddly innovative feature, you can re-color the blood to red or green, or turn it off completely. Lemme tell ya, more games should do that.
|Platforming passages are prevalent.|
As I previously warned, these levels are huge - so big they not only have checkpoints, but save points. Although this could add tedium in the event you have to backtrack, it's still something to be proud of for such an early game. Packed in these levels are power-ups like Life Force tokens, which award one extra life for every 100 collected, FPS mainstays such as backpacks to hold extra ammo, Tek Armor to take hits without losing health, and of course, ammo for all manner of weapons. You start out with a knife and bow, but can collect everything to a basic pistol, shotgun, and assault rifle, to crazier fare such as a pulse rifle, the charge-up Particle Accelerator, and the mini-nuke Fusion Cannon. The bow and shotgun can also use alternate explosive ammo. It's another feature that was ahead of its time, but if you have any available, there's no way to switch back to the regular ammo in order to save it for later. All this will serve you well against the occasional boss, such as a hunter who summons Humvees to a giant bionic Tyrannosaurus Rex. Have fun.
|Some weapons use alternate ammo.|
Control: 4 keys out of 5
Design: 4 keys out of 5
Graphics: 4 keys out of 5
Sound: 3 keys out of 5
The Call: 80% (B)
Next Episode: I review another game from Acclaim - and again, it's actually pretty good.