Turok Dinosaur Hunter was one of the most popular titles on the N64. Excellent FPS gameplay coupled with the then novel feature of having to take on dinosaurs, made the game stand out as a title for more mature gamers at a time when the N64 was full of titles for the younger gamer. Two sequels later and we are now ready for the fourth instalment. Unlike the other Turok games though, Turok Evolution is available on all the current consoles. This review looks at Turok Evolution on the Playstation 2.
This time around the story is actually a prequel to the events in the original Turok. Captain Tobias Bruckner tries to wipe out the Saquin Nation along with the character you control, Tal'Set. The games introduction sees Bruckner involved in a battle with Tal'Set. During the fight Tal'Set gets knocked into a portal that sees him leave his world and arrive in The Lost Land. Injured from the battle with Bruckner, Tal'Set is cured by a Seer Tarkeen and told that he is to become Turok, the protector and saviour. Reluctantly Tal'Set accepts and begins to help in the fight against the evil Lord Tyrannus.
Much has been made about the AI of the enemies but to be honest the AI is a mix of the excellent and the average. Sometimes when shooting one of a group of enemies, the others will run for cover or attempt to get backup whilst on another occasion the others will simply stand there and wait to be picked off. What is impressive though is the way that you can use the environment to help you defeat your enemies. This can be done by shooting at trees so that they fall on your enemies for example. This adds a fresh edge to the gameplay and it would be nice to see it taken further in future titles.
Graphically the game has a few problems. Generally speaking everything looks good but the pop-up is quite severe. The flora and fauna is most noticeable when spotting the pop-up. Grass, bushes and animals all seem to appear from nowhere. Whether the lack of draw distance is down to the limitations of the Playstation 2 is uncertain, as I don't know if this occurs on the XBOX or GameCube versions. Load times are also too long. Thankfully the framerate isn't too bad although there is some slowdown at times.
Provision for deaf gamers is quite poor. The introduction is not subtitled and neither are the in-game cutscenes. At the beginning of each chapter mission objectives are given but these cannot be recalled. This is not too much of a problem though because it is difficult to go any other way other than the correct path.
Overall Turok Evolution could have been excellent but ended up being only average. Severe graphical pop-up and no use of subtitles puts a big dent in the score too. Despite the criticisms though the game is actually a descent FPS game and if you are a fan of the Turok series and don't have access to a console other than a PS2 then you'll probably enjoy Turok Evolution, if you can live without the subtitles.
Overall Game Rating: 6.7/10 Disappointingly the game is only average. Whether the pop-up is confined to the PS2 version is as yet unknown.
Deaf Gamers comment: No subtitles in the cutscenes or introduction but the game is playable.