Originally released in 1997 for the Nintendo 64, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter makes a return with a remastered version for the Windows PC. Developed and published by Night Dive Studios Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a first person shooter where players take control of Tal’Set or Turok, a native time travelling warrior. Founded in 2012, Night Dive are responsible for the resurrection of many a “Lost and forgotten gaming treasure” such as System shock 1&2, Shadow Man, Strife as well as a whole host of other classic titles.
Are you the Matrix?
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter: Windows PC
Developer: Night Dive Studios
Publisher: Iguana Entertainment, Night Dive Studios
Release Date: 30 Nov, 1997 [original] 17 Dec, 2015 [remaster]
Price: £14.99 [Disclosure Game Copy provided by Developer/Publisher]
Confession time; The first Turok game I played was Turok: Evolution on the original Xbox. However, the game that Turok: Dinosaur Hunter most reminds me of is Quake. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is every bit as much an action adventure shooter as one would expect, collecting items, weapons and finding “secret areas” with more than a few puzzles thrown in for good measure, not forgetting the obligatory boss battles of course. In a slight break from tradition I think it only fair to mention that whilst Turok was no doubt ground breaking after it’s original release in 1997, this remaster (like most to be fair) will only appeal to those that remember the original title or enjoy a more classic game/play style. It’s also worth mentioning that Turok: Dinsaur Hunter is a strictly single player experience, multiplayer wasn’t introduced until Turok 2.
One thing to remember about Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is there was no “in game” story. When comparing the game to a more modern title the mechanics are rather basic, this is highlighted by some of the box art features: “Run, jump, climb in any direction in a fully 3D world, with the ability to independently look and aim your weapons up, down, or sideways.” Which will probably read a little bit funny to modern gamers. Of course being basic is perfectly acceptable as long as it works well, and whilst that is the case, let’s face it, a remaster will not add to or change the mechanics as that would risk losing the “original feel”. The only issue I found with the controls were with moving my position from side to side, which caused the screen to tilt or lean slightly, having not played the original I don’t know if this is something that happened but I did find it rather disorientating.
Night Dive have however changed the graphics slightly with cleaned-up and modernised textures (to a degree). One of the biggest changes from the 1997 version is the draw distance which has been extended massively. The game now also supports modern resolutions, all the way up to a 4k resolution. Modern gamers may also be pleased to know that the game is locked at a very comfortable and solid 60 FPS and has FOV sliders. The soundtrack is a cut and paste from the N64 version complete with the “water song” (I assume the win 95 version did not have that, as its rather prevalent in the FAQ section).
I see your sharks and raise you a T-Rex with a frickin’ laser beam attached, what more could you possibly want? Ok really: I must say that despite its apparent age the game is still quite a bit of fun and whilst I have no nostalgia per se for the Turok series it did give me fond memories of Quake 1 and Doom. I found the game had transformed into something with quite a lot of humour especially with the enemy death animations and character models. Both of which are so bad they are hilarious, which actually adds an unexpected element of fun to the game, although anyone who doesn’t find that amusing may well hate the game. With games like this there is always a big question of when you take your nostalgia glasses off. Is Turok: Dinosaur Hunter still a “good” game?, let’s face it that’s really up to you, the player.
Can’t we just be friends?
With word on the street indicating that Night Dive have a Turok of their own in the works I can’t help but feel that effort was skimped on here. Mind you, I think it may not be such a bad idea for developers to go back to the originals to see what made them so great and so much fun to experience before releasing their own title. My only other gripe is that I’d like to have seen the graphics pushed a little further, but there may have been reasons this wasn’t the case. I would like to mention price, something I don’t typically mention due to its subjective nature. I understand that a fair amount of work has gone into the game but yet a 15 pounds price tag feels a few shades too expensive for a near 20-year-old title.
One last thing, Turok says: “hey ‘modern games’ I don’t have any within or between level loading screens…” ouch…