- "The scent of blood. Yours."
- —Turok: Evolution tagline
Turok: Evolution is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by Acclaim Entertainment. The game was released simultaneously for the Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance in 2002. A port for Microsoft Windows was released in 2003 for the European market.
A prequel of 1997's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Turok: Evolution follows protagonist Tal'Set as he fights off his way through the Lost Land. The game was the fourth and final installment of Acclaim's Turok continuity.
Upon release, Turok: Evolution was received with mixed reactions, with critics criticizing the game for its story, writing and gameplay, with the PlayStation 2 version receiving further criticism for inferior graphics and a poor frame rate. The game's mixed success led to the cancellation of a sequel, and the series was eventually rebooted with the 2008 Propaganda Games title, Turok.
Turok: Evolution was first announced at E3 2001, on May 18th, 2001. Not much was announced past this, barring some general locations, which includes meadows, forests, and sprawling mountain vistas, as per the article. There was also no reference to the airborne levels at this time, the only confirmed viewpoint being first person.
Turok: Evolution was then detailed in a preshow report, in which the storyline and gameplay features were detailed briefly. Environments were stated to be based on prehistoric Earth, with most being modeled on a larger than life scale. Artificial Intelligence was touted at this point as "the best in the industry," with creatures being numbered at a whopping 30 and "tons of multiplayer levels and play modes on top of the single-player experience."
More information was revealed a day later, in which features like flying levels were presented, as was a playable build which included a few weapons, such as the War Club, Bow, Pistol, Shotgun, and Grenades. The game's three console versions were compared graphically, with the Xbox version coming out as superior to the GameCube and PS2 versions, which were on the same level. However, GameSpot stated that the game was easier to play on the GameCube due to the gamepad being suited to FPS titles.
The campaign of Turok: Evolution consists of 15 chapters with 62 levels total. A secret level, "Zoo," is available only through cheat codes.
The game begins with the seer Tarkeen explaining the history of the Lost Land which had, for years, been fought over by tyrannic warlords.
On Earth during the old west, Tal'Set faces off with his enemy Tobias Bruckner and succeeds in cutting off his arm, but both of them are sucked into a wormhole. Tal'Set is nearly killed, and the people of the River Village, who found him, call upon Tarkeen to heal him. After a brief argument, Tarkeen commands them to bring Tal'Set to him. He is sent into the jungle and battles lizard-like enemies known as the Sleg that are close to the village. Tal'Set meets up with Genn, a pilot from the village, who will be guiding him to the seer. Along the way, he uses an armed Quetzalcoatlus to evict the Slegs from the jungle and destroy their airship.
Tal'Set reaches Tarkeen's sanctum, and the seer tells him that it was he who summoned him and that he must accept the mantle of Turok and release Tarkeen from a curse. When Tal'Set refuses, Tarkeen tells him that the Slegs have managed to reach the River Village. This enrages Tal'Set which prompts him to cut through the mountains to reach the Sleg base, where they are holding the villagers and the River Village leader, the Wise Father.
In this journey through the mountains he goes to the summits and highlands, encountering a feral Tyrannosaurus rex, and he also journeys through a cave system, encountering saber-toothed cats. He finally reaches the entrance to the base but has to kill an Ankylosaurus armed with rocket launchers on its shoulders. At nightfall he infiltrates the Sleg base which consists of a small outer barracks, an inner armory, and a highly guarded prison block which holds prisoners and captives. He releases the prisoners and then enters the Sleg fortress.
Tal'Set proceeds in liberating the base and learns that a "human general" was the one who ordered the attack on the jungle and that the Slegs that Tal'Set fought were only a diversion. Deeper in the base, Tal'Set is ordered to retrieve the enemy war plans, which he does by destroying the reactor and causing a meltdown. With the reactor causing much chaos, he is able to reach the prison cells, kill the guards, and rescue the Wise Father and his comrades. They escape the fortress, but outside they are confronted by Bruckner and an army of Slegs. Bruckner reveals himself as the general who allied with the Sleg. Before Bruckner can kill them, Djunn, another villager, rescues them in his ship.
The war plans reveal that the Slegs are beginning an assault on the human city of Galyanna, but for the army to reach it, they must cross the Chasm, which can only be crossed in two spots. Tal'Set enters the Shadowed Lands and makes his way through some ruins, a lake, and a massive dinosaur graveyard to the ruins of an old bridge, which he destroys to stop the Slegs from crossing the Chasm. He is rescued from falling to his death by his pterosaur, and he proceeds to destroy an enemy stronghold in the Chasm with Genn.
After the stronghold is destroyed, the pterosaur crash lands near the second location that the Slegs are trying to cross: the Suspended City. Tal'Set breaches the city via a bridge and cleanses the street with his comrades, surviving the first wave of Sleg paratroops entering the city. He clears snipers from the rooftops and proceeds into the city square, where he fights a massive Sleg army, including a Styracosaurus. From there he enters the sewer system.
The sewers lead into the maintenance tunnels under the Great Library, which Tal'Set enters so he can reach the Senate Chambers behind the Statue of the God of Justice. He breaches the Senate and saves the senators, who tell him that the only way to stop the Slegs from cutting through the city is to destroy it, but they need the other Senator's approval, and he is missing. Tal'Set is sent to find the other Senator in the Great Hall, which he succeeds in doing, and uses his clearance to release the tethers that are connecting the city to the Chasm walls. Tal'Set barely escapes on another pterosaur as the city collapses into the Chasm.
The city is successfully destroyed, but the Sleg leader, Lord Tyrannus, has one more tactic to try: he unleashes the Juggernaut, a massive mechanized beast, to level Galyanna. Tal'Set infiltrates the Juggernaut via pterosaur and destroys its cannons, crippling it. Before escaping, he is confronted by Lord Tyrannus, who says that they will continue fighting and that he will kill him, but he is stopped by Tarkeen. Tal'Set escapes on his pterosaur and rushes to Galyanna, where he stops the Brachiosaurus artillery from destroying Galyanna's walls and then evicts the Slegs from the premises.
Although Galyanna had been saved, Bruckner still lived, and Tal'Set sought vengeance for what he did to his people. He finds Bruckner riding an armored T. rex mounted with various weapons, which he kills. Bruckner is crushed by the dying beast and is left to die by Tal'Set, who says that he "does not deserve a warrior's death." Bruckner is then eaten alive by a pack of Compsognathus. Afterward, Tal'Set tells Tarkeen that he accepts the mantle of Turok, leading to the events of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. At a Sleg temple, Lord Tyrannus mourns his defeat.
Turok: Evolution features altered gameplay in comparison to its predecessors. The game focuses on general survival in multiple environments, ranging from massive swampy jungles to city skylines, while dealing with dinosaur threats or newer threats based around the new "Sleg" foe, a new addition to the franchise.
Dinosaurs act much like they do in previous installments, attacking the player upon sight, and Sleg troops act dynamically within the environment, reacting to threats such as dinosaur incursions and also taking cover to avoid the player's shots. Sleg soldiers will also attempt to mobilize and gang up on the player, using both numbers and firepower to try to take the player down while also utilizing map-based weaponry such as turrets.
Dinosaurs, while acting similarly to their predecessors, can also be utilized by the player as an easy way to root out, weaken, and kill more powerful enemies without taking a risk themselves, as the Sleg will actively fight dinosaurs upon contact with them.
Vehicular combat is also explored in the game, with the Sleg being able to utilize multiple variants of warships and land vehicles in order to try to kill the player. There are also instances in which dinosaurs are mounted with weaponry, which the player must attack and bring down. Most of these vehicles are explored in flying segments of the game, which are also new to the franchise.
Flying segments are sprinkled throughout the campaign, and they involve the player soaring on the back of a Quetzalcoatlus, raining fire down upon enemy encampments, vehicles, and other places and objects. Most of these missions are massive, giving the player an enormous airspace to fly around in, while some interactive elements are present, such as rock slides that can be triggered by the player firing rockets at them.
These interactive elements carry over to the campaign in the same manner, but they can also be more versatile and can range from buttons that release Utahraptors onto their former captors, to rock slides and traps on a smaller scale. Traps include objects that can crush enemies and other players quickly, and they are also present on multiplayer maps, such as "Palace of Lamia."
In gameplay, there is also a lot of background detail present, with things like water ripples being present when the player fires a bullet based weapon at them. Weapon discharges sound different at certain ranges, and depending on the surface it detonates on, a grenade's audio can be altered dramatically. Destructible environments also play a part in the game, and the players are even pushed to utilize it on the fly, as a feature to find extra things, such as ammo and health, or to even stun or kill enemies.
Compared to past games, which featured a massive arsenal of weaponry, Turok: Evolution features a smaller arsenal, with weapon attachments and upgrades being introduced which can sometimes alter a weapon's functionality entirely. The player can alter their Pistol to become a Sniper Rifle by adding a Sniper Scope to it, and they can transform a Rocket Launcher into a nuclear device, which can then be used to devastate foes.
- Main article: Turok: Evolution multiplayer
There was a multiplayer mode integrated in Evolution. It was playable with up to four players in a split-screen mode and featured a variety of characters to choose from, including Tal'Set, the Sleg soldiers, and even Utahraptors. There are many modes to choose from and a wealth of maps to select from. The Xbox version was not Xbox Live compatible.
List of AppearancesEdit
The soundtrack for Evolution featured 41 tracks of music, each being played on their own map and/or campaign mission. It was composed by Nelson Everhart.
Evolution received mixed reviews upon its release. The review aggregator Metacritic scored the Xbox version a 6.8 out of 10, the GameCube version a 7.0, the Game Boy Advance version a 7.2, and the PlayStation 2 version a 6.1.
Publications such as Play magazine and Yahoo! Games praised its "fierce energy" and "general violence and mayhem." Common complaints focused on what was called a weak storyline and unimpressive AI. The PS2 version was more heavily criticized than the Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, and PC versions due to poor framerates and inferior graphics.
The game's villain, Tobias Bruckner, lived on through Electronic Gaming Monthly's annual Tobias Bruckner Memorial Awards, which "honored" what they perceived to be the worst in video games, with categories specific to the games released in that year.
After Evolution was released a small Acclaim team was tasked with making a sequel. Concept art was drawn and a basic plot was written before the project was cancelled. This game would have been a direct sequel and would have filled the gap between Turok: Evolution and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, with Tal'Set presumably killing Tyrannus, setting the stage for the Campaigner's arrival. The project was not picked up due to Acclaim having other projects.
Notes and referencesEdit