t urok re­mast ered

Retro wreck or dino de­light?

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Dave Meik­le­ham

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.

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