Review: Turok 2 – Seeds of Evil (Game Boy Color)

In this review, we find ourselves exploring the lost land in the Game Boy Color game Turok 2 – Seeds of Evil. We find out how well this side scrolling shooter plays.

This game was released in 1998. We have some familiarity with this franchise already. Previously, we reviewed Turok – Dinosaur Hunter. That game got a great score here. This was followed up by the PC version. That game got a pretty decent score too. We then tried the sequel, Turok 2 – Seeds of Evil on the N64. That game got an impressive score. Finally, we gave the PC version a try. That game got an identical score. So, we thought we’d try some of the handheld versions as well to see how well they play.

You start off in the city. The reptilian enemies have launched an invasion on Earth. After you hunt down every other reptilian enemy, the last one explains that the invasion is coming from the lost land. The mission objective becomes clear: destroy the incubator and stop the invasion.

At the beginning of the game, you start off with no weapons at all. The only thing you have to defend yourself are your fists. You cannot defeat any enemies, but you can stun them. The difficulty here is trying to tell the reptiles from the normal people. This can be done with select.

Eventually, you’ll come across a satchel. This satchel is apparently called the “Burden of Light”. Once you pick it up, you’ll pick up a small knife. The shirt will rip off and you’ll be able to take on the invasion. Take out all of the enemies on the ground (the snipers cannot be reached). After the last one is defeated, the portal at the beginning will open and you’ll begin your journey through the Lost Land.

As you work your way through the game, you’ll get access to gradually more powerful weapons. Your first projectile weapon is the bow and arrow. The next one is the pistol. Further down, you can find a shotgun, grenade launcher, plasma rifle, and even a rocket launcher.

Standing in your way are a number of enemies including raptors, enemy snipers, and a whole lot more. In addition to this are various obstacles. These include spikes and bottomless pits.

Still, there are various item pickups you can locate that will keep you healthy. The red cross icon restores some of your health (a lot of the time, 20 health is restored). The maximum health is 99. You can also pickup armor with the shield icon for a maximum of 99 armor. This can reduce the amount of damage you take from enemy fire. Also, the small heart icons give you a free life.

While some games just challenge you to pick up certain items or give you a time limit to get to point B from point A, this game has its own ways of challenging the player. This game throws switches that unlock doors or open portals. There are even breakable wall that can only be passed through by explosive weapons (i.e. grenade launchers). Suffice to say, this game requires a certain degree of navigational skill.

If that weren’t enough, you’ll also take on various special stages as well. Some of these stages are bosses. Most require you to shoot a certain part of the boss a number of times before they are defeated. In addition, there are a number of different auto-scrolling stages.

Some of them have you moving away from the screen (like paddling in a boat or running). One has you running towards the screen to get away from a giant sand worm. You can fire your pistol on most of them to help you through those stages.

Finally, there are auto-side scrolling stages that force you to go from left to right. In some, you find yourself riding a raptor while taking out other dinosaurs and jumping large gaps. In others, you ride on a pterodactyl evading enemy turrets and taking down enemy air ships. It’s those stages only that you are permitted to move backwards. Finally, there is one stage where you simply run on foot. For no reason whatsoever, you can’t move backwards in those stages. It’s these stages that have the most epic ideas found in the entire game, really.

This game apparently drew a lot of criticism. I’ll start with what I agree with here: the intro level. This level is probably the most confusing level in the entire game. As a result, the game stumbles out of the gate pretty badly. You have no weapons and all you can do is duck and evade for a good while. In every N64 game I played, you start off with not only a hunting knife, but also a bow and arrow. You also start the game off with some intense action that doesn’t let up. This game, meanwhile, starts off with a whimper and useless fists. If the developers stripped out the first level entirely, the only thing you’d lose is some storyline. Beyond that, the game would improve by a fair bit.

While the first level is weak and confusing, the game gets better after the first portal. While most reviews seem to focus on the first level and a few side portions that could have been better, these reviews seem to ignore about 75% of the entire game. The auto-scrolling levels that go almost every direction shows that this game can stand out from other Game Boy Color games. To ignore the better portions of the game is to simply ignore the forest for the trees.

Even on easy, the game can serve to challenge players through some intense action sections. What’s even better is the fact that the game will remember what you killed off. This comes in handy if you find yourself backtracking a little to find a switch you happen to miss early on (and backtracking tends to be rather minimal).

Another strength is the length of this game. While 8 levels doesn’t sound like much, each level features a number of different sections that can keep players busy for a while. This is probably the first Turok game I played that contains a desert section which makes this pretty interesting in its own right. I would have liked to have seen fewer forest levels and more variety between each level. A couple of stages take place in forest or swamp. So, a little more variety could have proven beneficial.

Generally speaking, this game didn’t get a very fair shake among other critics. It isn’t as bad as they make it out to be. While the first stage probably should have been left on the cutting room floor, this game does offer a fair bit of variety in the gameplay just in the modes of transportation alone (canoe, raptor, pterodactyl, foot). The arsenal is pretty good. The perspective levels break up gameplay pretty well. The puzzles and breakable walls also keep things interesting. While it could have used fewer swamp and forest levels, this game still manages to provide some good solid entertainment.

The graphics can have its strengths and weaknesses. The perspective levels really pushes things to another level. The boss stages could have been better drawn out, though. While some backgrounds are pretty average, others are pretty well done. This ironically includes the first stage, the alien base levels, and the desert levels. Turok is nicely animated, though the animation sequences could have been better for enemies.

The audio is pretty decent. My favorite track is easily the side scrolling levels. I almost didn’t even want to leave those levels because of the music. The music for the rest of the game is pretty decent, though nothing huge. The sound effects are pretty decent as well. A decent job here.

Overall, this game is definitely a more underrated game. While I wouldn’t call it amazing by any means, it’s not exactly terrible. It does stumble hard with a confusing first level, but once you get past the first level, the game does get better and better. It features a wide arsenal of weapons, puzzles, and hidden passages. The graphics are pretty decent. It ranges from OK to nicely done. The audio is pretty good – especially the music in the auto-scrolling levels. An overall decent game.

Furthest point in game: Destroyed the incubator (beat the game on easy)

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 70%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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