Back before campaign shooters dabbled in multiplayer or cinematic storytelling, the main design goal for them was to create endlessly replayable experiences that were satisfying and fun. Such was the case for classics like GoldenEye and DOOM, and the Turok series was no exception.
Released in 1997 on the Nintendo 64 (with Turok 2 releasing shortly after) Turok was, for many of today's gamers, an introduction to the shooter genre. And while the series eventually fizzled out in popularity, the dedicated team from Nightdive Studios vowed to bring Turok and its sequel to current platforms so that gamers, both old and new, could play them. The result is a nostalgic blast from the past that shows us the roots of the modern games we play today.
Gameplay: No dinosaur stands a chance
The entirety of Turok and Turok 2 revolves around solving puzzles, dodging booby traps, and killing various creatures found in the game world. The justification for this is your typical cliche save-the-world plot, but that isn't what matters. What matters is that the combination of well designed enemies with a massive arsenal of guns at your disposal means that the combat is intense, engaging, and very fun.
The most exciting type of foe to encounter are the dinosaurs. Whether you're battling with a small group of raptors or a gigantic T-Rex, each one challenges you in a different way and forces you to think quick on your feet. As good as the fighting is, though, the level design is incredibly simplistic and has aged poorly. In addition, the puzzles are pretty easy, albeit also fun to solve. If you can look past this, though, then the Turok games will entertain you for hours and hours.
Presentation: Just as it was before
A big concern I had going into these ports was that the game's artistic style (both audio and visuals) may have been compromised in some way. Thankfully though, this is not the case, and Turok 1 and 2 looks and sounds just as it did in 1997. The heavy sounds of gunfire, roars of creatures, and action-themed soundtracks are as amazing as ever.
On top of the perfect transition from Nintendo 64 to Xbox One that Nightdive Studios has achieved, it also made some graphical improvements as well. Specifically, the games have been given a brand new graphics engine that makes the visuals look sharper and cleaner. Don't expect any miracles though, this game still looks prehistoric.
Performance: Smooth as butter
Naturally, there's good reason to worry that ports from one gaming system to the other may not perform well. In recent years, many games brought to PC from consoles have suffered from this kind of issue, so I was biting my nails going into these Turok ports. Nightdive must have made this an utmost priority, though, because the games run excellently on the Xbox One and there's almost no issues with it.
Turok 1 and 2 for Xbox One conclusion
Though a few aspects of the Turok series' design haven't aged well since original release, these two games nevertheless deliver on an incredibly fun and satisfying experience that all fans of casual shooters should try out.
- Excellent port of the original game.
- Frenetic gameplay.
- Nostalgic presentation.
- Simplistic puzzles.
- Uninteresting level design.
Both Turok and Turok 2 are available on the Xbox One for $19.99 each.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using copies provided by the publisher.