Turok: Dinosaur Hunter Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #18

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

Acclaim, an early member of Nintendo’s so-called Dream Team of N64 supporters, along with subsidiary developer Iguana helped make the N64 the FPS console of choice with the Turok franchise. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter even beat Goldeneye to market by several months.

Turok is actually based on a comic that dates back to 1954. Acclaim picked up the rights to Turok when they bought Valiant Comics in 1994.

The basic idea is that you’ve got to protect the world from the Campaigner, who seeks to reforge the Chronoscepter weapon and use it break the barrier between Earth and the Lost Land, a place without time …something like that.

Turok is made up 8 massive levels, each containing numerous enemies, obstacles, and puzzles. These are not quick run and gun affairs. To get through each level you’ll need to explore every turn to collect keys necessary to open up subsequent levels. Jumping, climbing, and swimming are all just as important as the requisite shooting in this FPS. If being hunted by humans, dinosaurs, and worse isn’t enough of a challenge on its own, Turok’s demanding first-person platforming certainly is.

To pull it all off, Turok employs a pseudo-twin stick control setup where the joystick is used for aiming while the C buttons do the walking, a compromise that makes the best of the N64’s strange controller layout.

Dinosaur Hunter’s arsenal ranges from the mundane in its early going – knife, bow, pistol, shotgun… to the extreme – I’m talking fusion cannons, shockwave weapons, and quad rocket launchers. Best of all, taking down enemies with this stuff results in gloriously gory, blood gushing theatrics.

Having said that, Turok’s detailed graphics come at an unfortunate price. The game suffers from heavy fogging – enough that you can only see a few metres ahead. While this does serve the game in a sense, heightening tension during enemy encounters, it does make exploration even tougher. It’s hard to tell where a wrong turn ends until you’re right up against it. The overly up-close ingame map doesn’t help much, either.

Turok was a real challenge in its time, and even harder now for players accustomed to more precise controls and much more directed action. If the challenge of it all is too much, thankfully, the game does include a cheat menu. Everything from unlimited ammo and all weapons to really dishonorable stuff like invincibility and straight up level warping is possible.

The success of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter led to numerous sequels. There were two more mainline entries on the N64, plus the multiplayer-focused spin-off, Rage Wars. The most recent sequel was an attempted series reboot in 2008 that didn’t really go anywhere.

Let me know what you think of Turok and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like this video and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #17 on the Definitive 50 N64 games.