The easy (read : sane) thing to do when revisiting N64 shooters would be to review Rare’s seminal 1997 classic, Goldeneye, surely? Well, yes, but the thing is : Goldeneye is awesome and we all know it. At the time it was as damn well close to a perfect game as we’ve ever gotten, and it still plays well today, standing the test as one of the great multiplayer games of all time. But, again, we know that. It’s pretty much fact.
So, instead, we’re looking at what was at the time referred to in some circles as a ‘Goldeneye beater’. Was it truly a rival to the gold standard? No. Only if you were actively looking to be contrary. Don’t be that guy. But was it actually any good? My honest memory is that, yes, it really was good. How does it hold up?
There’s an evil guy who’s trapped somewhere because of reasons. There’s five things holding him in place, and he’s sent his minions to break them. Ooooooo. Scamps. And you’re Turok, so, y’know….don’t let them break the things. With guns. And for some reason – dinosaurs! STORY!
It is what it is – no Academy Awards for you, Acclaim.
The modern FPS rules stick to the notion that one stick moves you to and fro, the other stick strafes you from side to side. Reason being, it works beautifully. All motions were done with a single stick (or D-Pad) on a large quantity of classic shooters (like in Gol–I’m not mentioning it any more). Turok 2 strays from the pack and embraces strafing, and as a result, can be revisited and played through without too much quarrel from the average modern day FPS hick. Negatives? A jump button – a really crap one at that, and the lack of a dedicated aim button – which would be vexing in most games, but with this being a game about a dinosaur hunter, it becomes a real twat. Do you imagine the dinosaurs stand still very often? No. They’re dinosaurs for pity’s sake. They’re nippy and they wanna bite you. Unloading 20+ bullets into a single enemy becomes a very real and disappointing problem. Granted there is an auto aim that helps a bit, but you’d rather do the job yourself, wouldn’t you? Yeah you would, you’re a badass.
How handy do you think auto aim would be here? Answer : not very.
Turok 2 only has six levels, which sounds paltry, but these mothers are MASSIVE. Like, so massive I’ve completely lost track of how long it took me to to do them. The thing is, this just makes them seem something of a chore. Corridors beget corridors, another corridor begets a slightly different corridor. It just ends up being dull, and I became reluctant to press on as it really didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. The AI is similarly dull, with every enemies plan of attack simply being – “there he is, RUN AT HIS FACE!”. Oddly enough, this wears thin.
Additionally, the multiplayer just doesn’t gel. There’s no specific identifier as to why this is, it just seems to be a general amalgam of average ideas. Dull maps, dull modes, just blah. The fact we can still go back and play the game that shall not be named and other classics such as Mario Kart 64, shows just how strong the multiplayer competition was in the N64’s heyday, so tacking a multiplayer on as an afterthought was never going to win anybody any friends.
A big plus has to go for the weapons in Turok 2 – there are some, quite frankly, f–ed up guns in Turok’s arsenal. Like the Cerebral Bore. Oh MAN, the Cerebral Bore! I’m not spoiling it for you, I’m not even going to post a video. Google it and be happy that you did. Put that in Call Of Duty and I might put up with that energy drink of a game for five more minutes.
Considering the size of the game and the year of release (and the limited scope cartridges allowed for…), Turok looks the business. It’s still an N64 game, so you can expect a hefty dose of your old friend FOGGING, but the environments and enemies look sharp, and I found myself being surprised by the smooth animations during the cutscenes.
I returned to Turok 2 really wanting to like it. I had some fond memories of this game and I could never pinpoint why. And now I’ve played it through again, I still can’t. It’s sad, because Turok is by no means unplayable. Just a little uninspired after all this time. It functions perfectly well, but it simply isn’t much fun. And you can’t play as Oddjob. (SORRY!)
Pros: Still looks pretty damn good, CEREBRAL BORE, I genuinely laughed out loud when I got an extra life and he man-shouted “I! AM! TUROK!!!”, Huge levels….
Cons: ….with nothing in them, Just no fun to play, No dedicated aim button, Flaccid multiplayer, Annoying, jumpy A.I, Fogging!