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. 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…