Review: Turok – Dinosaur Hunter (Nintendo 64)

By Drew Wilson

Turok is one of the first first-person shooters released on the Nintendo 64. It is also another video game that basically launched a whole series. We check out this classic video game.

Turok was released in 1997. Unlike a number of other first person shooters that focused on a sci-fi horror themes like Doom, this game centered around a jungle theme (at least, towards the beginning). It also introduced a lot of players to the analog stick which helped players gain unprecedented control of their aim as they explore the lost land.

The player starts off at a camp fire at the end of a long trail. After seeing a monkey race across the screen, the player travels to a bridge over a small lake. There really isn’t much of a story line at this stage of the game other than trying to find the hub which contains all the portals to every level in the game.

Eventually, the player has to find keys to each level. The first level has a unique number of keys (six) while every other level has three for levels in advance. The player also has to find pieces of a chronosceptor which has been broken up into several pieces. One piece is found in each level with the final piece being available after defeating a mechanized T-Rex that breathes fire and has a laser mounted on it’s metallic head (Yikes!).

One interesting feature is that the player can occasionally spot a blue teleporter appearing randomly throughout the level. If the player is fast enough, they’ll be able to jump through into a sort of bonus level where the player can hone their overall movement control (most of them are merely stepping stones). With the exception of one bonus area, the player doesn’t die if they fall – but rather, get teleported back to the beginning of the bonus area to try again. It’s ideal to complete these areas because there are bonuses like ammo, “tek armor”, and even the occasional ultra health which can add 100 health points above the standard 100 cap.

Another feature is the backpack which enables the player to double their ammo capacity.

A additional feature is the spiritual invulnerability which slows the enemies down – allowing you to run up, take a shot and escape well before the enemy is even aware you are there.

This game is great because there are several checkpoints along the way. That way, if you fall off the edge of something by accident, you’ll be revived at the last checkpoint or save point you crossed or accessed. So, you won’t have ti do a lot of hiking if you die. Of course, there is a limited number of lives, so do your best to collect as many life force diamonds (gold life force adds one point, red adds five and purple adds a whopping 10 points). For every 100 points, you get a free life. If you manage to earn a tenth life (game technically caps this at nine), you’ll be awarded the infinite lives cheat.

The downside to this game is that if you forget a key or a chronosceptor piece, after you beat a level, you have to do a lot of hiking and backtracking to find it (and some keys/pieces are well hidden).

The graphics are quite decent for a game of its time. The tek bow offers a neat blue explosion and environment isn’t overly cluttered with bushes and trees, but there’s still plenty to see like fish as you swim past them and a neat tech environment when you reach the fortress. The downside is the limited visibility you are afforded as you run through the levels. It’s also possible to see through some walls if you run up to it and press forward enough against the wall.

The music is pretty good as well. I particularly liked the theme of the fortress area of the final level. Another nice touch was the ambient music of the catacombs level where there is the occasional creepy scream permeating throughout the level. Another nice touch was the sound effects of some of the weapons you hear when you select them. One of the excellent sounds is when you select the nuke weapon which really screams power as it slowly makes its way onto the screen.

Overall, it’s a great classic game to play. You can easily play through it in two or three days. Or, if you know the levels enough, you can probably make it through the entire game in one day if you put set aside the whole day to accomplish it. In any event, there’s a number of hours of fun to be had with this game.

Furthest point in game: Beat the game multiple times over the years.

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 5/5

Overall Score: 82%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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