t urok remast ered
Retro wreck or dino delight?
Fun fact: my late grandad bought me a copy of this prehistoric blaster when it was first released for the N64 waaaay back in the gaming Dark Ages of 1997. Another (slightly less) fun fact: he stumped up £79.99 to buy said raptor-slaying cartridge. Going by 2018 inflation rates, I reckon that means the game cost him roughly £1,732 – don’t check my maths. Grandpappy, you were far too kind to me.
Anyhoo, two decades on, this retro blaster finally graces Xbox One, and thanks to a thoroughly shiny HD coat of spit and polish, it actually looks half decent. Are textures still flat and sinfully blocky by modern standards? Sure. But Turok Remastered’s angular character models and uncluttered environments lead to a shooter where both foes and terrain are refreshingly simple to read in the heat of battle.
There’s nothing out there in modern terms that’s quite like Turok. Compared to contemporary shooters, the game’s fussy key system and labyrinthine levels are downright unwelcoming. You won’t find any hand-holding or giant tutorial arrows here. Instead, you’re thrown in at the extra carnivorous end of the pool, and asked to swim straight away… or more likely get munched on by Dino’s third cousin.
Lands of the lost
Place Turok next to its ‘90s peers, and the action is surprisingly progressive. Even by 2018 levels, Turok’s eight worlds are sprawling and intricately designed. Whether navigating jungles filled with platforming perils or a dizzyingly complex underground temple, getting around these prehistoric lands often feels like navigating the Labyrinth… thankfully minus the sight of David Bowie’s incredibly tight leggings.
How you progress through these levels is also interesting. Rather than churn through each stage in linear fashion, Turok lays a hub area at your moccasins right from the start, then gives you the option of working through areas in random order. Provided you collect a specific set of keys scattered around each world, you can easily play through the game in open-ended, almost haphazard style. Example? After gunning my way through the opening Ancient City area, I end up playing through the third and fifth missions before ever finding the keys needed to unlock the second level. Structurally, there’s very little in the shooter space quite like this brontosaurus basher.
That the game also runs at a flawless 60fps further separates Turok from many modern FPS titles. Though the core assets have more or less remained untouched, Night Dive has made the effort to push back the draw distance considerably. It means the action is no longer nearly as bogged down by the soupy mists of the 1997 original. Hooray for being able to see further than 50ft into the distance!
The actual shooting remains sharp, too. Constant strafing is required to avoid the various mutants and savage warriors that bombard Turok, leading to a game that’s never short on action. There are also some nifty visual flourishes to be found. Arrow a dude in the neck, and he’ll hold his throat as blood geysers from his larynx.
Though level layouts can confuse and sporadic checkpoints frustrate, much of Turok: Remastered remains surprisingly ageless. The fast-paced blasting offers a comforting retro cuddle, while the arsenal of hardhitting bows and energy weapons satisfy. Brace yourself, hunter: it’s time to make some dinos sore.
“You won’t find any handholding or giant tutorial arrows”
Aside from a late T-rex, raptors are really the game’s only dinos.