Platforms: PC (reviewed)
Remember back in the infancy of the Nintendo 64, and before we had Goldeneye 007 to lean on, we had to play Turok: Dinosaur Hunter to fulfill our first-person shooting needs? While it no doubt looks like an odd duck compared to today's standards, you have to admit there was something magical about the game during its release, whether it was the vast, explorable levels, or the sheer fact you could bring down dinos and humans alike in your quest for vengeance.
Now, Night Dive Studios has managed to bring back Turok for a new generation to enjoy, revitalized for the PC/Steam market. While it will no means have the longevity of something like, for instance, Star Wars: Battlefront, it's still an excellent throwback to the simpler days of first-person shooter – and there's no question you'll get your fix of Nintendo 64 nostalgia here.
Good Ol' Reliable Combat
One aspect in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter that really works in favor for the game is its old-school combat. You can mow down Raptors with a couple of well-timed shotgun blasts, take on a dangerous dino boss in the hopes of surviving to make your way to a new stage, or even watch as you slice a hapless human with your knife, watching them succumb to their newfound neck injury.
It's not complicated, but that's what makes Turok so likable, even nearly 20 years after its original release. It's a fun game to play, and while it can take a while to figure out some of the later levels (they're built like one giant puzzle), that's part of the enjoyment that Night Dive has put back into the classic design. What's more, the levels are a lot larger than you'd find even in today's games, whether you're exploring catacombs (with jumping lizards throughout) or jumping across a large chasm, in the hopes of not having to land back in the water and climb back up again.
While the game lacks replay value – this is one of the Turok games that doesn't come with multiplayer attached – the single player component is still meaty enough to quench your retro-based thirst, and it's just fun seeing old encounters from the N64 days, reborn on a new platform. If only we could get Night Dive to consider console releases to boot…
A New Turok, But Not
Night Dive has done a commendable job porting over the similar graphic engine from the original Turok to the PC. While it's obvious that the game hasn't aged well in particular aspects (like with the overuse of fog in some spots and a few ugly character models), it still looks quite spiffy, thanks to a speedy frame rate, a few nice visual details (the Raptors appear better than ever) and other little touches here and there. It won't win any awards, but when it comes to N64-to-PC ports, this is easily a good example.
The sound is about right for a port as well, with decent (if somewhat repetitive) background music, enjoyable sound effects (hearing a wounded enemy gasp his last breath is utterly satisfying – no, I'm not a sicko), and good sound effects. Obviously, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil lapped this with a greater soundtrack and effects, but for an originating title, Turok doesn't do half bad.