Originally released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a first-person shooter much beloved by fans. It has been given the HD remaster treatment (60fps framerate plus more) and re-released on Xbox One.
Now first things first, it was never a pretty game no matter if you played it on the N64 or PC. This HD update doesn’t change that even if there is a little more smoothness to the visuals. In fact, if you had no idea what this game looked like before, you’re liable to think it downright ugly.
The visuals of Turok is not its strong point nor is its story. The narrative surrounds a Native American named Tal’Set tasked with protecting the barrier between Earth and The Lost Land. The Campaigner arrives in The Lost Land to find the pieces of the mighty Chronosphere weapon and use it to take over both worlds. Tal’Set must travel into The Lost Land and defeat hordes of enemies on route to facing off against The Campaigner.
A simple story and certainly not one to draw many people in. No, where Turok’s strength comes from is with its excellent FPS gameplay, adventuring and to some degree, the puzzles.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is as classic FPS as they come. There is no regenerating health. You have limited lives and you’re going to be collecting keys to progress. If you grew up playing these kinds of games, you’ll be right at home whereas a modern Call of Duty fan might find it hard to adapt to this kind of challenge.
The same goes for just how open Turok is. Levels are mostly huge and you’re free to explore with your only real task being to collect a set number of keys before you exit via a portal. These keys are used to unlock more levels which are accessed via a main hub. You don’t even have to play each level in order if you don’t want too. As long as you have the keys for it, that level is available to play. It makes the game feel almost open-world even though it isn’t.
In fact, the only time Turok takes on the form of something more like Doom is with the final level that is fairly linear. Bland as they might look, each level is markedly different and with many branching paths and secrets to finds, you can spend a fair chunk of time fully exploring each one.
Of course, being a first-person shooter, none of this would matter if the gunplay lacked and happily, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter gives you a wide variety of weapons to wield and enemies to blast.
There is some real satisfaction to be gained from gunning down dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures, aliens and the odd human character. The blood that spurts from the latter as they grab their neck is gleefully sadistic.
Gunplay is great, at least until you reach a boss.
There aren’t loads but each one is a bullet sponge. What was fun quickly becomes a chore as you sink rounds and rounds of ammo into them only to see a fraction of their health drop. While few really challenge, you might find yourself dying a fair bit just because of how long it takes to bring them down.
The controls are fluid and responsive, moving with grace and speed keeping the action fast paced. The only time they really have an issue is with tight platforming sections. These can be frustrating as hell as you jump from small platform to platform. Best case scenario, you fall and have to start the platforming section again. Worst case scenario, you fall to your death losing one of your precious lives.
They are better then the N64 controls though and overall, most things have been improved. The fogging, something that Turok was notorious for is not as prevalent with a much further draw distance on show. This makes having to use the map overlay less important, something fans of the original game will find a relief.
If you’ve never played Turok: Dinosaur Hunter before this is a great opportunity to go back and play a N64 classic. It’s not holding up so well but with the improvements added to this HD remaster, it’s still fun to play.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
The Final Score - 7/10