Reader Retrospective: Turok Evolution

Reader Retrospective: Turok Evolution

Justin Robson is one prolific chap. Twas only yesterweek we had a swatch at his Fable Retrospective, but now he casts his scathing eye across Turok Evolution – a game that, by all rights, came very close to killing a once stellar franchise stone dead.

Yes. In case you didn’t get the memo (disclaimer: there wasn’t actually a memo) we’re now doing Reader Retrospectives. So if you have a game you feel like like getting all misty-eyed over, or a game you’d enjoy retroactively destroying, please just shoot us an email at [email protected]

So, without further ado, here’s the one and only Justin Robson with his Reader Retrospective on Turok Evolution.

Turok Evolution
Turok. A name synonymous with a series that started out well and ended up a joke. Evolution was the highly anticipated* and hugely memorable** continuation of the epic Turok series. So for those who missed it, did Turok Evolution end up reclaiming the dying series, and bringing the struggling Acclaim studios back to it’s former glory?***

*that was a lie, even by that point, no one cared.
** for being a load of crap.
*** absolutely not.

It’s… a game: Well, you can put it in the drive, and it runs somewhat. It comes with a case and a manual, as well as a pretty gnarly T-Rex on the cover. I suppose before you play the game it comes across as pretty good. I got it for Christmas in 2002, I was in grade six, and I had to pretend to like it at least so I didn’t offend my parents. That’s about where the appeal ran out.

Level Design: Often when there’s a lack of new games, or I’m just bored, I download random user created levels for games like Garry’s Mod, Crysis, Serious Sam… I’ve also tried my hand at making my own maps for these games. I get really into it for about a day, I bash out a basic map, play through it in thirty seconds and it’s usually so bad that I delete it straight away. My maps are better than the ones in Turok Evolution. The Garry’s mod maps spotty thirteen year olds make posing the G-Man and Eli Vance in weird sex poses are better than the ones in Turok Evolution. Evolution feels extremely amateur in retrospect, even when compared to its PS2/Xbox equivalents.

Gameplay: Think of everything that made the Turok series so fun to begin with. Expansive levels perfect for secrets and exploration, huge weapons (cerebral bore much?), cunning enemies and amazing graphics. Turok Evolution is a lot like what the awesome Turok 1 & 2 were. Except all of the talent, creativity and inspired ideas have been wrung out like a wet rag, leaving nothing but a hollowed out, miserable husk of a game. The weapons are as boring as they could be, you can’t aim for crap thanks to strangely implemented thumbstick controls, all the cool exploration and platforming elements have been replaced with boring ‘go here, blow this up’ level design. They even added pretty laughable on rails flying sections. I’m going to sound like the AVGN here, but did they even test this game out before they released it?

Graphics: Turok Evolution looks like a PS1 game. Even back in the day it was hard to be impressed with it’s blocky environments, vomit textures and jagged character models.

Sound: I remember reading an article in the Official PS2 magazine before Evolution came out, about how the sound designer who just happened to live right next to a school, got arrested for buying a bunch of old dead guns and recording the sounds they made. He alarmed some students, and the school called the cops… this sounds like the kind of quirky thing an inspired sound designer might do in the pursuit of art. However the real crime here, was just how awful the sound effects, voice acting and music were. The voices are so annoying and the sound effects are clammy and repetitive.

Story: What story? It had a story?

I wrote this retrospective to warn society of what an abomination Turok Evolution really was. Some would say it was the final nail in the coffin for the Turok series, but I would argue that there were already so many nails in that coffin, by putting another one in you were only keeping above ground what should have been buried a long time ago. Don’t play this game. For the love of god, don’t play this game…


  • Damn, that was thoroughly entertaining. Justin, just imagine if you had actually paid for this game, let alone played it. I weep for thee.

  • Hahaha, I’m amazed this one got posted. I actually wrote it ages ago… I’m glad I dusted it off and finished it. xD

    It came about because I dusted off my PS2 and tried this game again… to put it extremely politely, it has not aged gracefully.

  • When I first got a PS2 I tried out a bunch of my friends games. One of them was Turok Evolution. It is a shame because it would be my first time to try a Turok game… I’ve never been interested since.

  • I had this on the Xbox and its was pretty decent, i think i remembered it scoreing better on the 360 than on the ps2 and gamecube because the xbox at that time was the more powerful of the consoles

  • This game was amazing the day it came out. The graphics WERE impressive by the standards at the time, albiet the fps was choppy because of it (just like in Turok 2). Grass moving when you touched it and environments you could interact with was enormous. You take for granted that this stuff is done today but Toruk Evolution was one of the first. Animations like the Dark Matter Cube thing whatever it was called were jaw-droppingly beuatiful. The weapons were extremely fun to use and very Turok-esque, even the mediocre shotgun was an over-the-top Revolver/Shotgun hybrid.


    • Nope, this game was really terrible.

      I was one of those people who walked through EB games 6 months after it came out and went “$15 for Turok! I like Turok!”….

      A quick trip to might settle any arugment.

      Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (N64) – Press score 8.0
      Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (N64) – Press score 9.0
      Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion (N64) – Press score 8.5
      Turok: Evolution (Gamecube) – Press score 6.2
      Turok: Evolution (Xbox) – Press score 6.5
      Turok: Evolution (PS2) – Press score 5.8
      Turok: Evolution (PC) – Press score 6.7

      Bad game!

      • Because citing examples about what the game brought to the genre like innovative weaponry and interactive environments equals ‘being hit by the nostalgia stick’. Meanwhile quoting review scores from mainstream reviewers totally provides a convincing arguement to the points I raised.

        I say again, for it’s time it was fun. Saying it wasn’t impressive 6months or 2 years down the road is laughable. Yes the game had flaws, as did Turok 2. Turok 2 was BLASTED for having an ‘unplayable’ framerate but everyone (intelligent) still walked away from that game knowing it pushed the envelope and contributed to the growth of the console FPS.

  • I didn’t mind the game, it wasn’t the best FPS for the X Box but it good for days where you didn’t want to think, you just wanted to mindlessly kill something.

    I did like how some of the weapons had an animation for their alt-fire, the dart/chain gun combo was certainly fun.

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