Turok Evolution (Xbox)


posted 10/20/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Turok was often perceived as the Nintendo 64’s most vaunted franchises. Providing players with some of the best console FPS action of the time, Acclaim had built a rather solid following. Though the latter entries into the series began to show their weakness over time, none of them will ever prove to be as horrid as this latest endeavor. A rather ambitious product that received lots of cover from the press, Turok Evolution was supposed to be an innovative product but instead, it turned out to be the product that just might bury the series once and for all.

It’s hard to tell where TE goes wrong because quite frankly, it has so many bad elements that it’s difficult to single one out. The facets that made the original so excellent (the gore, the visuals) aren’t even that impressive anymore and when measured against the competition, they are downright embarrassing. Add to that a poor flying aspect that plays like Panzar Dragoon on Nyquil and you another mediocre offering.

In an effort to return to the series’ roots, TE is a prequel to the rest of the game’s storyline. You’ll assume the role of Tal’Set as you battle against you evil arch-rival Captain Tobias Bruckner in Texas. That’s right, I said Texas. Luckily the game takes a turn for the better as the two engage in a scuffle, resulting in their falling into an alternate universe. The setting seems like it’s straight out of some cheesy B-flick and for the most part, the game plays that way as well.

Turok borrows from the now standard Halo control scheme, a layout that effectively mimics that of a keyboard and mouse. But while the competition offers a control scheme that allows for lightning fast presses, Turok’s scheme dishes up a lag filled and horribly sluggish system that really hurts the on-screen action. There seems to be quite a delay between the moment a button is pressed and the time it actually occurs. This lag time isn’t readily noticeable at first but becomes a real mood-killer in the game’s more hectic and tense situations, especially in those areas where precision sniping is a must.

Perhaps the most damaging portion of TE are the much talked about flying missions. Every few levels or so, you’ll be placed onto the back of a gigantic bird where you can fly around an enclosed environment and wreak havoc from above. There’s a problem though, the engine just isn’t capable of handling the fast paced gameplay. It’s obvious that the engine was developed for the slower-paced on-foot action and not this brand of gameplay. What you’ll during this portion of the game are mountains that warp in, stutters in gameplay that are caused by the game’s necessity to load new parts of the level and an overall sluggish experience. The fun doesn’t end there though, the controls are equally as bad; the reaction time of the game just isn’t fast enough to keep up with your inputs. It’s almost as if the game has a reaction time of a fat person at a health buffet. Due to the lagging controls you’ll find yourself crashing into mountainsides and cavern walls much more than you should be. The flying portions serve more as a distraction from the on-foot action more than anything else and it’s rather unfortunate because right when it appears the game is about to show promise, a flying sequence rears its ugly head. Had the flying sequences been omitted, I’d be inclined to bump this game’s rating up another 10%.
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