Acclaim’s Iguana team has pulled off yet another great blood-chilling, action-packed, first-person shooter as the sequel to last year’s highly praised Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. This one will leave you nothing less than impressed.
Turok 2 is the first of many games designed to work with Nintendo’s new 4 megabyte expansion pak, a hardware add-on used to enhance graphics, sound and gameplay of titles designed for its use. This new expansion pack takes Turok 2 to a higher plateau of gaming as it increases resolution, enables smoother animation, heightens artificial intelligence and tweaks the sound of the game. Though Turok 2 is still a monster hit without an expansion pak, if you don’t have a pack, you should definitely invest into one to get the full effect of Turok.
For those of you that don’t know the story of Turok, let me briefly bring you up to speed. In our last adventure Turok traveled all over the lost lands to collect the scattered parts of the Chronoscepter, an extremely powerful superweapon, and then used it to successfully destroy the Campaigner and his minions, bringing peace once again to the lost land.
But as fate would have it, peace would last only but for a short time. After defeating the Campaigner, Turok threw the Chronoscepter into a nearby volcano (according to the comics), believing that its destruction would keep it out of the wrong hands. Though his intentions were good, he unwittingly awakened the Primagen, an ancient and far more powerful menace than the Campaigner.
The Primagen challenged creation back when time began, but was caught up in a prison of his own making. The Lazarus Concordance realized the danger and erected a series of Energy totems at places thought to be vulnerable to the Primagen. Now awakened by the destruction of the Chronoscepter, the Primagen urgently calls upon his hapless minions to destroy the Energy totems and free him from his prison. This new problem falls to Joshua Fireseed, the new Turok, to confront the challenge and defend the lost land. Thus a new adventure and hero are born.
With the influence of the expansion pak, the graphics in the game are amazingly awesome. Dinosoids are smoothly animated and extensively detailed from thick scaly skin or iron clad exoskeletons to flesh-tearing claws and razor sharp teeth. Some creatures are equipped with high-tech weapons such as ion gauntlets and laser pistols while others rely on brute strength, huge blades or massive bayonetts.
Backgrounds are much less foggy than last year’s version, showing a great amount of depth and also help in creating an eerie feeling of discomfort the first time you encounter a new area. Ancient temple ruins, broken bridges, fallen pillars, murky waters, muddy swamp marshes, bottomless pits, random explosions, and carcasses of dead soldiers lying face down on the ground, up against the side of a building , or even impaled against the wall are just a few things that give you cause to keep your eyes wide open and your finger on the trigger.
Sound effects really help set the mood for the game too. Hearing the cry of a herd of hungry raptors chasing behind you or the thudding of a blood-thirsty Endtrail advancing on you and whizzing ion blasts past your head will definitely make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You could be making your way through across a seemingly harmless bridge when suddenly, WHAM!, this gigantic Purr-Linn busts up through the bridge floor and starts pounding on you. Or you could be walking through some old city ruins and BOOM!, your ears are filled with the noise of a nearby explosion. Perhaps the most memorable sound effect in the game is hearing the curdling sound of blood as it gushes out of what’s left of a fallen enemy’s dismembered corpse. Sends shivers up my spine every time!
Turok is equipped with quite a nasty arsenal of weapons to handle hostile encounters during his venture. Choose from the talon, warblade, tek bow, 9 mm pistol, Mag 60, tranquilizer gun, charge dart rifle, assault rifle, shotgun, shredder gun, plasma rifle, firestorm cannon, sunfire pods, the cerebral bore, a proximity fragmentation mine layer, grenade launcher, scorpion missle launcher, flame thrower, razor wind, harpoon gun, concussion torpedoes and the deadliest weapon of them all: the Nuke.
Along the adventure Turok must find the five sacred Talismans, a set of ancient artifacts sacred to the Saquin tribe. Each of the five talisman can empower Turok with a special ability that will eventually be necessary to complete the game. The Firewalk talisman gives Turok the ability to pass through lava, fire or other hot regions without being harmed. The Whispers talisman enables him to see the voices of the "Whispers", ancient and benevolent spirits. The Eye of Truth talisman allows Turok to see "spirit paths" that may have been hidden throughout a level. The Leap Of Faith talisman gives Turok the ability to make great leaps and finally the Breath of Life talisman allows him to walk upon the otherwise deadly waters of the River of Souls.
Overall, Turok 2 is a well balanced game with a high excitement factor that helps it stand out among most first person shooters. If you own a Nintendo 64 system and you are looking for a great first-person shooter to tide you over till the next GoldenEye sequel, Turok 2 has all the right elements. I give this game 4 1/2 out of 5 GiN gems.