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Turok 2: Seeds of Evil



Acclaim 1998

Nintendo 64


I'm not much of a FPS person, while I enjoy them as much as anyone else I tend to majorly suck when going up against real people in this type of game. I don't know what it is, maybe I just don't posses the right gene for first person shooter competency. Thus in order for me to get into a FPS game it's got to have a decent storyline and good one-player missions, so I can feel like I'm getting something of worth out of the game in addition to getting repeatedly fragged and called demeaning names online.

Enter Turok 2: Seeds of Evil for the N64, sequel to the best FPS game for this system behind Goldeneye and Perfect Dark . The story for these games seems to have little to do with the comics. Back in the day Turok was about an indian in the 19th century who gets stuck in this Land of the Lost type valley filled with dinosaurs (thus Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.) The games have expanded on the concept and made it instead like this alternate reality populated by bizarre aliens, lizard people, and insectoid monstrosities. There are still a few dinosaurs running around.

The single player missions revolve around you as Turok as you attempt to find pieces of a superweapon to stop some all powerful alien mastermind called the "Primagen" from taking over the universe. This involves you going to various areas of this Savage Land type valley and basically killing everything you run into. The levels are large. I'm not kidding. Each one takes minimum an hour to get through, and that's only if you know where exactly to go and what to do. The insect hive levels are full of twisty corridors that double back and forth in loops and can keep you busy all night. The levels look excellent (probably the best you're gonna see in an N64 game) with good lighting and lots of minute details like crests on the walls or blinking panels on machinery that flesh out the "world." They are plagued by an overabundance of N64 fog, although it doesn't distract too much. Jungles and crap are supposed to be misty anyway.

If there's a problem here, it's that the levels are borderline too damn big. They just seem to go on for ever and ever, and each part pretty much looks the same as the rest, so it's easy to get lost. Seeing how the levels are just built around you getting keys to find the exit (although each level has a few objectives, mostly rescuing people or killing/destroying specific things) they could have made them a bit more linear. True, the word "linear" is a naughty word when it comes to a video game. But wandering around in the same beehive level for three hours with a key where I don't know where it goes to because every door looks the damn same is pushing the fun factor down a bit for me.

After each level you find a spirit totem-thing that gives you a specific power like the "leap of faith" that rockets you through the air, or another that lets you walk on lava, etc. Thing is you can only use these at specific parts of the levels, which blows. But that's the game I suppose. Also at the end of each level you have to defend these energy beacons for a limited amount of time. These little sections turn into you standing in the wide open and engaging a horde of bad guys at point blank range, and are really, really, really hard. Save often, and be prepared to fail. A lot.

Bad guys include a menagerie of weird bestial things, freakish lizard people, horrible flying insectoids, weird aliens with high powered energy weapons, giant spiders, zombies, and dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaurs have guns on them, I don't know what's up with that, but I suppose it fits with the story somehow. A few of the levels have you riding around on a triceratops and blowing people away. These snippets are bad-ass, the concept should have been integrated into the game more. The enemy types also react realistically when shot in different areas, thus shoot a guy in the leg and he'll fall to one knee, a head shot makes his skull explode, you can shoot off arms and leave him weaponless, or blow off a zombie's legs and watch him crawl after you. Awesome.

Weapon types are the highlight of any Turok game and this one does not disappoint. You get the usual melee knives, a "talon" (which is a glove with claws on it,) bows and arrows, pistols and shotguns, but also some more exotic weaponry like a "Tek Bow" which is a sniper bow with exploding arrows, and the "Razorwind" that is like the circular boomerang blade-thing that the Predator uses (and can also hit stuff on the return.) Best by far is the "Cerebral Bore," which looks like a piece of medical equipment and fires these guided powerdrills that latch onto a dirtbag's face and bore into his skull, spouting a river of blood in the process until the unfortunate fellow's head explodes. Truly the coolest thing ever.

Overall the one player missions are very long and difficult, each easily taking several hours on the first playthrough. Yet there is a definite feel of satisfaction once completed. Multiplayer allows you to choose several additional characters (including a raptor that has no long ranged weapons but moves really fast.) However Multiplayer relies on split screen, that while it looks and moves decently just doesn't cut it in the days of online play. Still the game is worth it for the long and arduous single player missions, the humbling but addictive gameplay, and awesome weaponry.

Graphics: Among the best you will see for the system. Really good lighting, transparency, energy, and water effects. Each character has a high poly count (for an N64 game that is) and a unique look without much of the blurriness associated with N64 textures. Blood flies in rivers and looks realistic, flowing and splattering like a real liquid. There is a lot of the usual N64 fog but most of the levels are built in such a way as to hide the horizon, thus it's not as noticeable as in the first Turok game.

Sound: Good sound effects for each weapon, unique war cries for each enemy type. Lots of voice samples. Whenever you get an extra life the game screams "I AM TUROK!" all loud, which is funny at first but sometimes ruins the atmosphere.

Gameplay: Run around and kill things in lots of twisty corridors and levels that go on for miles upon miles. I'm not kidding, the levels are gigantic even compared to games today, maybe just a bit too big for my liking. The game is not easy, although the difficulty curve is tolerable. Because the levels are so large it seems as if there's a lot of downtime inbetween enemy engagements that can get somewhat monotonous, but one cannot just blow though this game.