At 37 years old, I remember the original Turok fondly, one of the best FPS titles of it’s time… Fans have been calling out for a proper remake and Night Dive studio are finally bringing the classic to Xbox One after the succesful remaster for PC at the end of 2015.
There’s no shame in admitting that a 21 year old game doesn’t really push the boundaries of modern day gaming, but it’s pointless comparing a trip down memory lane to the latest Call of Duty so instead I want to look back at 1997, when I was nothing more than a slightly nerdy, spotty teenager, Turok was way ahead of it’s time and for many part of the backbone of the evolution of first person shooters.
Merging platform and FPS genre’s perfectly, playing the latest AAA blockbusters is perfectly fine, but many will want to relive those glory days and I have to say this remaster of Turok is the perfect way to do so.
It’s not often I say this about any retro remaster, but this remaster is better than the original, just don’t expect it to reinvent the genre over two decades later.
You play as Tal-Set (Turok) the Native-American time travelling warrior who’s Groot-like vocabulary is limited to ‘I am Turok’, starting deep in the jungle you follow a fairly linear route to pick up your first few keys, each level has 3 keys to find which will unlock access to the next, after the first two levels you’ll make your way to the central hub area which has portals to each of the remaining 5 areas.
Looking back, it’s a shame the time traveling hero didn’t time travel much because each of these areas are pretty familiar jungle locations with your mandatory boss at the end.
There’s a number of weapons to pick up, most notably the impressive Tek Bow which would one-hit kill most enemies with an explosive arrow, the shotgun feels just as powerful as I remember and the pistol just as disappointingly weak, but progress beyond the grenade and rocket launchers and there’s some impressive futuristic plasma weapons which only beg the question, couldn’t Turok have picked up some better clothes on his time-travelling endeavours.
Graphically, 1997 wasn’t the best year and looking back at the original video games have come a long, long way in the last two decades, It’s hard comparing this remaster to anything recent, especially since it’s two years since it was originally ported to PC, but Night Dive studios have done a great job of polishing up the original to give much smoother edges, and a ‘better than the original’ look across the board.
One of the few complaints people had about the original was frame-rate drops when you encountered a number of enemies on screen at once, thankfully that’s where the power of modern day machines comes up trumps because this Xbox One build of the classic Turok doesn’t just look better and flow perfectly smooth at all times, it also plays better than I ever remember.
Maybe it was the not so friendly N64 control pad, but I never remember the original just feeling so fluent in action and effects like the rotation of the screen as you run around a corner gives an effect of movement we rarely see on the latest releases.
Audio remains very true to the original in all but clarity, the 64bit sounds of the past are gone and instead there’s a welcome sharpness to effects without making them feel like too much of an overhaul.
Turok holds a place in the heart of many gamers and even younger players with a fondness for what came before will find a fantastic quality offering to stir up that nostalgia, the game is otherwise as you’d expect in it’s entirity and there’s only two small issues that I could criticise.
Firstly while movement is fluent, I found myself time and time again getting caught on stairs, the clipping on the corner of a staircase just feels a little drastic, trying to cut the corner would struggle to stub the toe of a normal man, but old Turok can’t make that giant leap, so instead he has to stop, turn, walk to the front of the staircase and take it slowly, maybe it’s his age but I wouldn’t think he should be needing a stair-lift just yet.
The other downfall is value, playing Turok has been a pleasure, and I’m happy to say it plays even better than the original did, but sadly that comes at a price. With remakes and remasters everyday business in the current industry, we have the Devil May Cry Trilogy remastered for £25, yet Turok (and the equally revisited sequel) are smaller titles which already hold less value for money, will set you back £16, that’s £7 more for one less game.
I truly hope the pricing is reconsidered as I honestly believe if this was selling for £10 with both available as a bundle for £18 it would literally sell double.