Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (Video Game)

I'd like to start off by saying that I am a big fan of Turok, because it crosses two interests that I've had since I was a little girl: dinosaurs and Science Fiction. Of course, it borrows ideas from Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Lost World, and The Land That Time Forgot, but it mixes those ideas up, and adds other elements that still make it a different and unique story.

I've read a quite a few of the Dinosaur Hunter comics (I even have the first issue), though I haven't been able to read any of the old Son of Stone stuff. I haven't seen the animated film yet, and I've heard mixed reactions, but I'm still hopeful to see it. Here's the problem with the video game series when it comes to the story, though. The first game in the series stays true to the story in the comics. The other games don't quite as much. The second game does okay, but it still has it's problems. It's the third game on that take it way too far out, particularly Evolution. I might review those games some other time, but I just wanted to get that out because a lot of people criticize Turok's story as being boring or stupid, but that usually comes from the people who are only playing the video games. Otherwise, it may be a little screwed up because the series has had a lot of different writers. If you read into the series enough, you'll realize what should and shouldn't be considered canon, thus effectively getting an entertaining story out of it.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is the kind of game that shouldn't be played for the story, though the story is still cool. It's not explained in the game, which means no dialog , cutscenes, text, etc., which is excellent because it allows for more gameplay instead of having to sit there watching a movie interrupting your gameplay. A lot of modern games should take a lesson from this game (the later Turok games should have as well). If this game did have cutscenes and the like, it'd be annoying after having such a fun time and wanting more. "Sweet, next lev-oh what the . . . come on, what is this? I want to kill some dinosaurs, damn it!" There's not even a cutscene before you face the bosses. Not even the technologically enhanced fire-breathing, laser-shooting bionic Tyrannosaurus Rex (yes, it's actually in the game). You just get right into the fight immediately after seeing him, and if you don't move quickly, you'll be dead in a hurry.

Speaking of enemies, other than dinosaurs, there are people and various other creatures to fight, such as giant plants and worms, and they all tend to come dashing straight at you. I was shocked to see the first enemy in the game because I thought this game was about killing dinosaurs. It is, but I was also thinking that there wouldn't be any after seeing the next enemy pop up. Then the third one did, a velociraptor. I was scared at first, fearing death early in the game, but I sighed after beating him, not just because I was still alive, but because I finally saw a dinosaur. The thing about the enemies, though, is that they resurrect sometimes. That velociraptor did, and I lost a chunk of my health because I didn't know about that.

The other cool thing about the enemies is that they react quite well when dying. Instead of just dying or falling, they scream, grab body parts that hurt, writhe around, etc. It never gets old listening to bad guys scream when you blow them up. Even when they're dead, they scream if they're hit.

And speaking of blowing things up, we now get to one of the Turok series' main claim to fame: the weapons. The series is well-known within the gaming community mostly for them. You have your regular weapons, like a knife, pistol, bow and arrows, shotgun, rifles, etc., but you also have a gun that disintegrates enemies, a gun that explodes after it's initial shot (like when the T-1000 died in Terminator 2), and, of course, what many fans call "the nuke." They're not actually nukes (they're called a Fusion Cannon and a Chronoscepter), but they're considered to be as powerful as nukes. So, if you're looking for a destructive first-person shooter, this game should definitely be your choice. Here's a video of the weapons in use (thanks to Phrozenbot):

Despite how cool the weapons are, this game is still quite difficult. However, it has what I like to call The Contra Effect, where a game is incredibly difficult, but it's also incredibly fun. The enemies don't drop weapons for you to pick up, but they make up for it by at least having them drop health and ammo pickups (unless you're playing in Hard mode), although they're usually small, which is one reason why the game is so hard.

Another reason is because of all of the exploring that you have to do. In the game, you have to find three keys that lead to the next level. They're not too hard to find at first, but in the later levels, it's a major challenge. That and you're also given the task to find the Chronoscepter pieces, which is even harder to do. It's not necessary, but it helps with the final boss battle. However, he is easier than the T-Rex that you fight not long before him (thought that's my opinion, it may be different for others). The enemies otherwise tend to be easy if they're alone, but get several around you and you'll probably have a hard time, maybe lose a chunk of health in the process.

The controls take a bit of getting used to. You use the C-buttons to move forward/backward and strafe, and you use the control stick to look around. It's confusing at first, but you might, at some point, find it better than Goldeneye's default controls, although you can change Goldeneye's controls to be similar to Turok's.

Don't sweat it if the game is too hard for you, though. There are cheat codes. I know a lot of people don't like using them because it makes a game more fun without them, but that depends on personal opinion. I've known some people who haven't even tried using codes and said that, and most of them had a tendency of not being able to beat their games. Games can be fun even if you can't beat them (like this game), but wouldn't it be more enjoyable to be able to beat them? Besides, after you beat a game and it gets boring after a while, cheat codes can make the game fun again, and this game has more than just cheat codes for invincibility, infinite ammo, etc. It also has codes for big heads and tiny enemies (which make the enemies sound funny), flying around, slow-mo, changeable graphic modes, etc. What's really cool (and it doesn't get old, at least not for me), is using the have all weapons cheat code on so you can blast anyone with the Chronoscepter before you can even officially get it in the game.

So yeah, this game kicks major ass, more so than the other games in the series, and even more so than most other first-person shooters out there. Turok 2 is pretty good, Rage Wars is fun to play, and the new Turok is decent. Turok 2 has framrate problems, and one control issue (looking straight automatically sometimes), and the new Turok game's story sucks (they didn't even walk through a cave to find The Lost Land like in the comics), the weapons are mostly generic, and it's quite easy to get lost for a really long time. Rage Wars is like the Unreal Tournament of the series, focusing mainly on multiplayer aspects, which is still pretty cool. The other two games, Turok 3 and Evolution, aren't too great. If anything, Turok 3 has a bit of merit, but I'd suggest staying away from Evolution unless you're a hardcore fan like myself. Even then, expect to be quite disapointed. Overall, the first game in the series is by far the best, and I consider it to be one of my favorite video games ever. I'd recommend it to anyone, especially people who've never heard of Turok.

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