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Turok: Dinosaur Hunter

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Before becoming famous for blowing dinosaurs away in videogames, Turok was a comic book hero. His first ever appearance was in a comic anthology that was published in Fifties, before he was selected to appear in his very own comic series two decades later.

First a hero of Western Comics, then of Valiant and then of Acclaim Entertainment when Valiant was purchased by the games publisher in 1994, Turok has had an unsteady upbringing, and it would be fair to say that his games have been equally wavering.

After acquiring Valiant, Acclaim looked at its properties and decided which would translate best to a videogame. Turok naturally stood out. The first N64 game by Acclaim, its development hit delays – missing its original September 1996 release date, rumoured to be due to bug fixing, and finally seeing a release in January the following year. A popular early release for the N64, Turok was one of the first games (maybe even the first in fact) that I played on the machine. What I still remember most about it were its fog-choked visuals, which actually worked to the game’s favour as it made spotting those prowling dinosaurs all the more tense and challenging. Also, I remember that cool way you could kill enemy soldiers by shooting them in the neck. This would cause them to grasp the bullet hole and then gargle their last breaths as blood spurted from their neck. Overall, the visuals and presentation were of a high standard, with believable, clear water to swim in, polished enemy animations and imposing-looking dinosaurs to hunt.

The open world design was also something that made Turok stand out for me, as previous first-person shooters (well, the ones I had played) always took place in and around buildings. Turok was a different beast though, its world felt more expansive, and as a result more deadly. In fact, though later games have failed to better the original (and its sequel Seeds Of Evil), going forward I feel the series could certainly do much worse than take a leaf from the N64 game’s book, and create a new instalment where your most challenging enemy isn’t predatory dinosaurs but the environment.

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