Turok (video game)
|Publisher(s)||Disney Interactive Studios|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360 & PS3
Turok is a first-person shooter video game developed by Propaganda Games, and published by Touchstone Games and Disney Interactive Studios, originally for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in February 2008. It was later ported on to Microsoft Windows in April 2008. A sequel was planned and in development for the Xbox 360 but it was cancelled before it was even officially announced.
The game is loosely based on the comic book series of the same title and is unrelated to the story and setting of previous Turok video games. Players assume the role of Native American space marine Joseph Turok, who is part of a team sent to a remote planet to apprehend his previous commanding officer, General Roland Kane, now a wanted war criminal. After crash landing, Turok discovers this planet is home to all manner of dinosaurs, and must fight both the predatory creatures and Kane's private army on his mission to take down his former mentor.
The gameplay of Turok is similar to that of most first-person shooters, with a strong focus on survival in dangerous natural environments. The human enemies, under the leadership of Kane, are the main threat to the player, although dinosaurs may often be found wandering throughout the game. The dinosaurs act as a neutral force and, if the player chooses, can be used as a tool to attack enemy soldiers. This may be done by attracting roaming dinosaurs to a firefight (via: flares, gunshots, etc.) to aid the player and help dispatch the enemy, with possible other ways depending on the situation. The dinosaurs' intelligence are much alike the Earth dinosaurs, so other dinosaurs and all humans, including the player's allies and enemies, may be attacked. The game does not utilize an aim-assist feature.
The developer Propaganda Games has included an additional, stealth mechanic in the game. Because Turok takes place mostly in jungle environments with a focus on ambiance, the player may kill enemies with a bow or knife without being heard or use dinosaurs to attract the attention of other enemies and slip by unnoticed. A famed new feature into this game is the Silent Kill, which is done by drawing the knife, then attacking a human or unaware dinosaur from behind. The kill can be utilized against dinosaurs and humans alike as a finishing blow, and can be executed from any side. The knife is also utilized as a self-defense weapon during phases known as "mauls", where the player is attacked by a dinosaur or bug, and must hammer on the according buttons in order to counter-attack or fend off the attack.
Online multiplayer support is also available. There is a (Team) Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Wargames, and Assault Capture the Flag. Multiplayer supports up to 16 people, and 4 players for three co-op missions. A feature in the multiplayer—randomly spawning computer-controlled dinosaurs and insects that appear in various locations in levels—adds a new factor to the gameplay. While players must worry about the opposing enemies, they must now also worry about the hostile dinosaurs that will be attempting to kill them. There can be up to 4 A.I controlled dinosaurs or insects on any map at one time. Unfortunately, splitscreen multiplayer is not supported in any form.
Originally, the Xbox 360 version of Turok was set to feature an Achievement called "Grab Bag", which required players to kill at least one enemy, one dinosaur, one teammate, and themselves, all in the same match. This caused controversy on the Internet as the Achievement essentially rewarded players for team killing. Josh Holmes, a representative of Propaganda Games, described the creation of the Achievement by saying "What we found was that players playing their first match in Turok - almost every player - was (accidentally) killing himself, a team mate and an enemy with a grenade or a Stick [sic] Bomb gun and so we thought 'hey, we should give them an Achievement for that', as kind of a joke." He went on to say that developers were planning to release a patch removing Grab Bag if excessive team killing became a problem after launch. In the launch version of the game, however, while the "Grab Bag" Achievement is still present, it removed the requirement of killing a teammate, and is awarded after the player kills an enemy, a dinosaur, and themselves in the same match. A Map pack called the "Velociraptor Pack" was later released, containing two new multiplayer maps, one new Co-op map, and 2 refurbished maps, which now take place at night.
The online multiplayer for the PlayStation 3 version has been permanently shutdown since February 2011.
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The player controls Corporal Joseph Turok, former member of the Wolf Pack, a specialized military detachment whose members were trained in black ops by General Roland Kane. After a falling out with the group, Turok was reassigned to a general military unit known as Whiskey Company. The team has been assembled to apprehend his former mentor and return him to Earth. After committing various war crimes, Kane had disappeared three years earlier only to surface on a backwater world. Unbeknownst to Whiskey Company, the planet is under the jurisdiction of the Mendel-Grumman (M-G) Corporation, and Kane is in command of a private army of M-G soldiers and equipment.
At first, the crew shuns Turok, thinking that he is an inexperienced fighter, untrustworthy, and a liability. One particular member, Slade, has a personal grudge against Turok because his brother Robert was also a member of Wolf Pack, and was killed in the same battle in Colombia from which Turok had reputedly fled, earning him his dubious reputation.
On approach to their destination, their starship is shot down from orbit and crash lands on the terraformed surface, where Turok quickly learns that the jungles covering the surface, even the planet are inhabited by dinosaurs. Despite being genetically engineered, the dinosaurs are wild and dangerous, and the M-G soldiers have been capturing them to be used as experimental weapons for General Kane, meaning a three-way battle between Whiskey Company, the M-G soldiers, and the dinosaurs takes place throughout the game. Upon crashing, many of Whiskey Company are killed by the crash or are either killed by dinosaurs or M-G soldiers.
Upon seeing where the rest of the ship came down, Henderson attempts to contact members of Whiskey Company but is ambushed and killed by a raptor. Turok then proceeds to find other Whiskey Company members on his own, following wreckage and bodies. He eventually finds Slade, who is less than pleased to meet Turok. They proceed to get to the main crash site, finding Turok's bow in the process. The pair navigate the jungles, an M-G outpost, a dinosaur-infested valley, and a raptor cave. They eventually link up with Reese, Whiskey Company's resident sniper, and stumble upon a group of M-G troops searching starship wreckage for survivors before heading through a lair of feline-like raptors. The group eventually makes their way to the crash site where they find Chief Engineer Carter, heavy weapons trooper Jericho, weapons specialist Logan, Whiskey Company's medic Parker, second-in-command Lewis, Company leader Cole, technician and pilot Shepard, and soldiers Foster and Gonzales. After resting up, Turok is sent by Cole on a mission to find the comm unit from the ship's wreckage to attempt to call for help.
The marines shortly come across what looked like an abandoned outpost and Foster, who was on point, is shot by a sniper. Turok and Gonzales assault the outpost, before having to defend said outpost from an M-G counterattack. Moving deeper into the jungle, they finally find more wreckage from the ship. Gonzales finds the comm unit on a rocky ledge, and picked up and carried off by Mama Scarface, a T. rex who has scars on her right side from battles with M-G soldiers. Turok sets off in pursuit. During the chase, Turok ends up in the nest of the T. rex and is attacked by her offspring, which he kills. When he locates the comm unit, Mama Scarface herself appears and attacks him. During the battle, she gets her right eye knifed, but she throws Turok off and out of her lair. After regaining consciousness, Turok finds that night has fallen and he now has to make his way back to camp while navigating through an abandoned outpost and fighting raptors along the way.
Reaching the camp, he informs the others that Foster and Gonzales didn't make it. Slade is not happy about the news and claims that Gonzales was his closest friend. He challenges Turok to a knife fight and accuses him of being a traitor. Cowboy, having recovered, defends Turok, and Jericho drags a defiant Slade out of the way. After that argument, Turok gave the comm unit to Cowboy and thanked him for his support. Cole, about to inform Turok of something, is suddenly killed by an arrow fired from Grimes and a battle ensues at the camp as M-G troops storm the area. Whiskey Company wins the battle, fending off waves of infantry and even a spider tank, but also lost Lewis and Parker. Even worse, the comm unit was destroyed during the fight. A brief clash for leadership occurred until Logan, unofficially, takes command. Jericho then insists that they go hunt down M-G in retaliation for their fellow soldier's deaths but an approaching storm soon changes his mind. Upon hearing a strange noise along with a large light beam in the distance of the forests, Logan orders Turok and Slade to investigate. Knowing that this was a suicide mission, Carter speaks up but is ordered to go with them. The rest of the company then search for a way off of the planet.
When they arrive at their destination, a seemingly derelict outpost, they discover that the light emitted was from an APC that was pulled halfway into the ground. Forcing their way into the outpost, they come across a log entry from Kane, detailing scorpion-like bugs with a potent neurotoxin. Carter, who was on a separate computer, soon finds the location of a shuttle in an abandoned substation not far from the main M-G base. Turok relays this info to Logan, only to be attacked by the bugs, which drag Carter underground. Managing to escape from the swarm, Turok and Slade eventually fall into an underground cave system. Turok then had to navigate the dark caves, fending off bugs before reuniting with Slade at an underground river. Their reunion was cut short as a kraken-like creature emerges from the water and Turok manages to kill it. Slade begrudgingly thanks Turok for saving his life, having now come to respect him. They eventually escape the caves and link up with what's left of Whiskey Company.
Upon seeing a patrolling convoy coming for their position, Logan accuses Turok of drawing M-G soldiers to them since the beginning, and threatens to shoot him. A battle begins, in which Logan and Jericho are killed. The survivors reach the hangar where the ship was located, only to discover that the ship was long destroyed by the environment. With no other choice, they decide to go to the main M-G base. Upon discovering a back entrance, Reese is killed by an arrow to his eye. The four remaining soldiers enter the base, indirectly helped by Mama Scarface, who was rampaging at the base's gate. Inside, they come across another log from Kane, stating that he had developed a nerve gas from the scorpion-bugs' blood, a gas that can kill any living creature before dissipating without a trace. To prevent the bioweapon from leaving the planet, Turok sets charges on the generators. However, he and the others are captured by Kane. During the ensuing argument between Kane and Turok, Cowboy speaks out, saying none of them would have survived this long without Turok, and Kane kills him. Turok detonates the charges, which results in the death of Grimes.
Turok, Shepard, and Slade navigate their way through the collapsing base, battling MG soldiers and raptors. Soon they reach the ship but Turok refuses to board it until Kane is dead, shooting down his escape craft and engaging him in a knife fight, coming out the victor. Immediately, Turok is confronted by Mama Scarface, driven insane by the loss of her brood. Turok manages to get a grenade in her ruptured eye, which causes the T. rex's head to explode. Turok is then picked up by Shepard and Slade in their ship, and the three friends finally escape the planet.
In terms of individual reviews, Turok has received a 9/10 from Play magazine and a 7/10 from both the Official Xbox Magazine and the Official PlayStation Magazine. Both praised multiplayer but commented on the "sketchy enemy awareness" and "dodgy textures". GameTrailers, which gave the game 8.3/10, highlighted the game's use of the Unreal Engine 3, believing it to be "the best use of the tech outside of Epic's own efforts" and praising the modeling and animation of the dinosaurs in particular. 1UP.com gave the game a score of C+, specifically complaining about its stealth mechanics, the use of camera shaking, and occasional graphical glitches in the PlayStation 3 version. Hyper's Yuri Spadeface commended the game for its "solid frame rate" but he criticised the "frustrating level design and average execution". Turok received 3/5 from X-Play, who commented on its aim-assist being woefully inadequate both in multiplayer and singleplayer, but praised its graphics and "outlook".
Turok was a commercial success, shifting over 1 million units in its first two months of sales. The game was popular enough for Propaganda Games to begin working on a sequel for the Xbox 360 before the Touchstone games division was shuttered.
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