Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Before we get along with this perceptions, a few things need to be mentioned. I got this game as a kid, it came out in January of 1997 and I was only 9 at the time. Despite this game being a Mature game, only thing that was in it was violence at even at an early age I had a pretty good grasp at morality and how violence is unacceptable unless in defense of ones life. Among other things.
Now this game was delayed to January 28th of 1997 it was originally going to come out in September 26th of 1996. The delay was to fix bugs of which Acclaim could not allow to exist because Turok was it’s last chance of survival. A few years back (1994) Acclaim had acquired Valiant Comics, and came of ownership of Turok the Comic series. By 1996 however Acclaim was in dire financial straits… why? Well Acclaim as many of you would recall was a prolific game publisher back in the 8-16 bit eras but was very slow to move on to the new consoles.
They would turn the comic series into a video game series hoping to spawn a marketable series of various merchandise. And they would with Turok, it just so happened to be the first third party title for the Nintendo 64, as well as the first, first person shooter for the new console. Just so happened that Turok was one of ten games for the n64 during its launch season, and its ironic that it was one of ten N64 games that survived “the flood” which is a topic I’ll talk about at another time. This game would be so successful for Acclaim and save it from an untimely fate that based on the pre-orders of the game alone they announced a sequel Turok: Dinosaur Hunter 2. Though that title would change and is also a topic for another time; with the background information dealt with let’s get to the perceptions.
#1- It’s Based on a Comic…
Okay this ones easy, but it was and is based on comics, I already mentioned this and most people knew about this prior to the game coming out. Of course me being nine wouldn’t know until I played the game considering I wasn’t into comics until later and even then it was brief. It did however help the fact the instruction manual booklet had a mini comic of Turok packed-into it to mention that fact.
Now the comic originated in 1954 by Western Publishing and Dell Comics with the first appearance being in their Four Color Comics #596, and his first comic in December of the same year; Turok: Son of Stone published by Gold Key Comics from 1956-1982. The Main character “Turok” was called Turok in those early comics, he would be given a real name by Valiant comics and Dark Horse Comics which would also go on in the first Turok game, this one I’m commenting on and it was: Tal’Set.
#2- Turok isn’t Turok but is but isn’t.
The main characters name isn’t Turok, in fact for the game its more a title, kind of like the Hero of Time from the Zelda games. The Main characters real name is Tal’Set, and at the very least he is in deed the same thing as the original Turok, that is to say he is a Native American Hunter. Where as Turok the original was from a nondescript time period (as far as I can tell), Tel’Set is from the 1800’s of our own real time line/history and its questionable. In game he has no issue with dinosaurs or cyborg/cybernetics, guns or anything else that would be alien to an 1800’s Native American, that I’m more than sure the comics explained well more than the game ever did.
#3- Turok: Humanoid Hunter: Where be Dinos
While there are dinosaurs in the game always to me seemed to be more humans/humanoids than anything, be it poachers, cybernetic enhanced warriors, or aliens. Heck the main boss of the game; the Campaigner is a cybernetic warrior couldn’t he be more dino like?…
#4- The Plot
So the plot goes like this, Tal’Set is a time-traveling warrior from our world/universe whose task with protection of the barrier with the Lost Lands on the other side of it. The Barrier protects our world from the Lost Lands where time has no meaning and you can find all sorts of things including Dinosaurs and giant potentially prehistoric beetles in it. The Campaigner who happens to be an evil overlord that exists within thee Lost Lands wants to not only take over the Lost Lands, but destroy the barrier and take over the universe. Because evil can never just suffice it always wants more.
If it sounds familiar it’s because its a very basic plot that’s been used before and since: hero protects barrier from evil forces to protect a world/universe. This concept was used as the basis for a NES game that would never be finished and would “reappear” as the 2010 project Dark Void for PS3 & Xbox 360 and Windows.
If the Lost Lands are not affected by time then it must be like the recycle bin of weapons. This game runs the gambit from Tal’Set’s 1800’s weapons of bow and knife to weapons contemporary to 1990’s to futuristic weapons and an ancient scepter of magic. Which kind of blew me away but fortunately the weapons progress and get better to a point you need to use them even if you don’t like them.
#6- Game Play – Doom Clone…?
So the Doom Clone claim. While this game has a lot of comparison between the two I would distinctly claim that it isn’t a Doom clone. First and foremost the similarities exist because they are in the same genre; first person shooter (FPS). And now-a-days we see how every FPS has essentially hit their limits on originality when it comes to game play and often times to story as well. While not completely dissimilar to Doom, in Turok emphasis on open areas and exploration occur. There is also game mechanics of jumping, climbing, and swimming as well and are all required to further the game and not just for bonus extra items (like health or ammo). Unlike Doom clones this game is actually different and isn’t just a re-skin. Most Doom clones are really Wolfenstein clones as Wolfenstein came before.
#7- Musics… or animal noises and drum beats.
The soundtrack is much more and while the tracks are simple they also use ambient noises well, so where is the wth? Well as a kid this game would sometimes freak me out; the sudden appearance of raptors would often make me lose it and I would panic and end up dead. But if it wasn’t for the music/ambient noises then the atmosphere wouldn’t be what it was and would have made the entire game a lot less thrilling. Without the sound playing the game the only thing that was an issue was the fog. I have a feeling that I should explain that the reason I freaked was also because I saw the raptor movies that I referred to as raptors but they are actually called Carnosaur. And there are probably also a few others that are similar.
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