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Turok: Evolution
PS2 Staff Review by Mike Weatherup

How this franchise has lost its luster over the years is beyond me. Turok originally debuted on the N64 with rave reviews, tight gameplay, intuitive controls and a very long engaging experience. However with each new release things have virtually dropped off the map. This is the forth game in the Turok franchise and the first to appear on the next generation of consoles. Our last visit with Turok was in 2000 on the aging N64. That iteration did not get a lot of consumer support due to the popularity of other titles of the time. Therefore, when we heard that a new version was in the works for the next generation of consoles, we were intrigued at the potential for a come back. Sadly our dreams have been squashed as an unpolished and rushed Turok game has hit the store shelves.

At first when you boot up the game and get into the first level, things look quite breathtaking. There are lush forests with larger than life dinosaurs roaming around. Unfortunately, after you start moving it becomes painfully evident that the framerate was not optimized in addition to poor draw-in and pop-up. These issues are very vital in a first-person gaming experience. If not done right, the whole experience can turned off in an instant. The framerate is choppy at best and the PS2 version has less textural definition and a shorter draw distance than the XBOX build. On the positive side of things, Acclaim has added nice visual treats when it comes to the explosions and weapons effects. The numerous dinosaurs present throughout the game are also nicely animated. The soundtrack is standard fair for the genre. Kudos to Acclaim for presenting the game in Dolby Surround Pro Logic 2.

One of the things that made Halo a success on XBOX was its ability to play very tightly in all aspects. While the visual problems inherent in Turok Evolution plague the game, the controls are also suspect. Targeting is problematic as the controls are not exactly mapped properly onto the Dual Shock 2. Attempting head shots is a lot harder than it should be and trying to adjust is painful due to the insensitivity of the control design. During the flying levels the control worsens as you fly erratically into walls to your demise. Shame really as the flying levels had great promise. Another thing that makes a good first person shooter is half decent A.I. I am not sure what happened here but the A.I. is mostly retarded. Some characters perform tasks well while others just lack any common sense. For example, it is not uncommon to find enemies walking into their own grenades. Another strange occurrence is the inability to kill an enemy unless it has registered your existence. In terms of plot, Turok Evolution continues from the previous stories only this time you must travel back in time to defeat the evil dictator Tyranus and free the River Villagers from his evil ways. The slow transition from the primitive to the futuristic has been done quite well to the point where you will want to delve deeper into the game. It is too bad the control and visual issues detract from a good story.

For some reason, I was under the impression that Evolution was going to be online. However, this is not the case. Unfortunately the multiplayer options available are sub-par from what we have come to expect from the franchise. They are watered down and really point towards the title being rushed to retail. The one player campaign will last you many hours. It really comes down to if you can put up with the controls and sloppy frame rate.

In such a crowded genre it is painfully evident that Turok Evolution was rushed to the store shelves in order to avoid the much better polished TimeSplitters 2. Another four months of development might have improved the great ideas that never got fully optimized.

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