by Patrick Steinmann
previewed on PC
Return of the Mohawk?
After a six-year break from dino-hunting, everyone’s favourite bowman is back. Propaganda Games and Touchstone are at the helm of the newest addition to the Turok line-up. And for starters, they did everything right by using Epic’s Unreal engine. With that said, how much else did they get right? Let’s take a look.
You play this game as Joseph Turok, member of an elite military commando. Turok’s squad is sent out to apprehend a war criminal that has escaped to a deserted planet. Upon arrival, the team finds out the hard way that this mission won’t be a cakewalk when their ship is blasted out of the sky. It seems as if the escaped criminal, the former mentor of Turok, is being backed by a large corporation, supplying him with soldiers and money. Stranded on the jungle-covered planet infested with (here it comes…) gigantic, blood-lusting dinosaurs, the squad must fight to survive. It probably doesn’t help that there are, shall we say, tension between some of the team members, making life all the more difficult for the few mercenaries left alive after the crash.
Load Up, Load Up...
As this game is a First Person Shooter, it is all about killing, which is quite fun with the proper tools. Being a Turok game you can rest assured that the infamous bow is on board. Along with that, you will be able to acquire a host of different weapons from friends and foes. The game will contain the standard array of conventional knives and bullet-shooting handguns, such as pistols, SMGs, various rifles, shotguns; some heavier toys, like flamethrowers or the venerable minigun; as well as a host of unconventional, over-the-top weaponry (the kind that made the series big). Alas, Propaganda has already announced arguably the coolest weapon in gaming history, the infamous Cerebral Bore, is not part of the game. Various other tools have also been hinted at, including flares and dinosaur lures.
Gameplay-wise, your task is mainly to stay alive. And that's easier said than done when you’re not only in a dino-infested jungle, but there’s also a mercenary army on your heels. Luckily, you cannot only use the foliage to your advantage to garner stealth kills with bow or knife, but you can also use dinos to do the dirty work for you. Being rather primitive creatures, they are easily attracted by loud noises or flashing lights (gunfights, for example…). Simply launch a flare over an enemy encampment, perhaps throw a flashbang grenade or two from a safe hiding spot, and wait for some T-Rex to lumber in and wreak havoc. Remember though that dinosaurs don’t know a friend from foe, so “going silent” might be the wiser choice if friends are around. For those who prefer a more hands-on approach to such matters, Propaganda has assured that the whole stealth business and dinosaur tactics are completely optional, so feel free to go in with your guns blazing.
Seeing that Turok is powered by the Unreal engine, you’d expect lots of multiplayer content. And the game delivers just that. Boasting support for up to 16 players, modes will include “Team Deathmatch” and various “Capture the Flag” modes, including one where the flag contains dino-attractants, which should turn carrying the flag into a rather dangerous exercise. Furthermore, we expect some sort of “Deathmatch” mode, seeing as there already is “Team Deathmatch”, and some form of competitive dino hunting. There have also been mentions of dinosaurs randomly spawning around the map(s) during MP games, which should make everything just that little bit more interesting; you would definitely think twice about taking too long to line up that perfect sniper shot when there might be some fearsome raptor just moments away.
Graphics-wise, Turok seems to be in a league with the top players. Sunshine falling through the leaves, dense jungles, blood-spattering combat and lots of other great-looking effects should really show off the potential of the next-gen consoles and of course the PC. Especially the shadowing and the water effects look very promising.
Turok games are usually quite good, and this title looks as if it will live up to the name. Carried by its fantastic-looking graphics, solid single-player missions and great multiplayer abilities, it might be just the way to kick off 2008 – with lots of dino gore.