Review by: Mike Laidlaw
Published: September 18, 2002
Turok has left the Nintendo 64, but perhaps not in the way everyone expected. Playing through Turok 3: Shadows of Oblivion would have treated the player to one of the richer storylines in the series, and one that strongly hinted at a continuation during the final epilogue. Surprisingly, though, Turok Evolution, the latest chapter from Acclaim, prequels the whole storyline by telling the tale of Tal’Set, the first Turok and first Native American to breach the border between our world and the Lost Land. Perhaps with the series’ first jump from the N64, this new beginning is symbolic of a fresh start; then again, it could just be an excuse for us to play around with very large weapons and wave them menacingly at dinosaurs. Either way, we’re happy, so long as things explode satisfactorily when we’re done posturing.
Explode they will, but before we leap to the gore, a moment to set the stage seems appropriate. Turok Evolution begins in our own world during the bloody taming of the Western frontier of the Americas. As colonists push the natives back, one rises up to lead not merely a quest to acquire land, but a complete genocide against the Native Americans as a race. His name is Captain Bruckner, and it’s the decision of Tal’Set, leader of the Saquin Nation, to put a stop to Bruckner’s bloody rampage. As the two of them grapple, they pitch over a cliff, where a shimmering pool of energy pulls them both away from the world they knew. Separated, Tal’Set is rescued by a scouting party of familiar figures and nursed back to health by their shaman. In the meantime, the humans in the Lost Land are being hunted by the Slegs, lizard-men that recur throughout the series. Tal’Set learns that if he still seeks vengeance on Bruckner, he’ll have to side with the natives to defeat the Sleg, since the vicious Captain has become a ranking officer in their armies.
An easily made decision, Tal’Set sides with the natives and begins a bloody campaign that will span several areas. Broken down into levels, Turok Evolution strays little from the first-person shooter mold, except to limit the amount of time you’ll spend hunting keys to unlock doors or passages. For the most part, the action and suspense in this title comes from pitched firefights rather than stealthy maneuvering or puzzle solving.
There are several reasons to use stealth, as two sniper weapons have found their way into your potential arsenal, and if used carefully and deliberately, the Tek Bow will take the head off of an unsuspecting foe. For even faster carnage, the pistol has an upgrade available that lets you swap it into a more traditional sniper rifle. The only real difference between the two is that if you’re quick enough to get to your victim’s spot, you can reclaim and reuse the arrow.