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Mr Darwin always said that evolution should be about survival of the fittest - the best equipped to deal with the situation. The process of evolution should be about constantly improving, and bettering one's self. Right. Just thought I'd clear that up before I start.
I never got to sample the delights of the first Turok game on the N64 - however it's successor, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil was placed firmly in the slot of my N64 for countless hours of filling dinosaurs full of lead, bolts and whatever else you call the sharp end of Acclaim's (um) acclaimed weaponry. The love of the game even persuaded me to purchase Turok: Rage Wars - again an achievement if you give it time.
So there was me eagerly awaiting Turok 4(aptly named, being the 5TH outing of Turok!) with baited breath in anticipation of what next-generation hardware could bring to an already successful formula. The announcement of the official title - Turok Evolution filled me with even more anticipation of what should be an excellent game, should being the operative word.
This game had so much to live up to and that undoubtedly lead to it's initial downfall.
Upon starting the game, everything felt reassuringly familiar, except I was allowed to experience what I had missed by not playing Turok: Dinosaur Hunter; lush jungles and rustic environments were now available to me and I loved it.
For about an hour or so.
The repetitiveness is inevitable in a game of this style - after all it is just simply a shoot the enemy game, with the occasional pushing of a switch. It needed to give something extra, something that separated it from average shoot-em-up's, something that would make us want to go and buy it.
Acclaim delivered in true Acclaim fashion - the weaponry was superb. The sheer variety of weapons - all of which I will not detail here, was amazing, and the secondary functions of all of them could be collected, effectively doubling the amount of weapons. This makes slaughtering your enemy much more enjoyable as well as tactical as you try to pick the best weapon for the job, without wasting precious ammunition that you may need later on.
Another popular extra to the FPS formula is stealth and subtefuge, and the ability to pick off unsuspecting enemies from afar with the infamous Sniper Rifle or equivalent (The Tek Bow for example). I am pleased to say that said weapon is included and the opportunites for such stealth are present also. One of the most enjoyable factors of the game is working out for yourself where the best vantage point is to perform sniping shots. Acclaim haven't signposted them, and it's only through some good exploring that you will find them.
However, weapons and stealth are not the only things that make a great FPS. The music that has been composed for the game isn't anything special, the usual Turoky tunes are present as well as the usual (and at times immensly satisfying) weapon and death sound effects.
The visuals present with Turok: Evolution are reasonably good. There are occasions when you are astounded and there are also times you are left feeling as though the N64 could have coped with them comfortably.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about Turok: Evolution is the loading times. The game takes ages to load and makes you detract from the experience with which you are presented.
The inclusion of mid-level checkpoints will please some people as it means that levels are nowhere near as long as they were in Turok 2, and repitition is reduced as if you die you simply go back to the beginning of that checkpoint. However the reality is that due to these checkpoints, that most of the levels are simply exactly the same as the previous one in style. This does give a sense of progression, but it would have been nice to see more variety in the locations.
So in conclusion, does Turok:Evolution live up to it's name? - well no not really. The entire premise for the game reamins unchanged and the visuals and music haven't really evolved that significantly from the N64, which is a shame because this had the makings of a truly magnificent game. Considering that there are now better FPS on the market,(Timesplitters 2 and soon Metroid Prime) I would not recommend this to potential buyers, however if you are enthusiastic about weaponry, then you should seriously consider purchasing this game.
It's not that Turok:Evolution is a particularly bad game, in fact it's actually quite good. It's just that it isn't a GREAT game, and considering what can be achieved and what the competition is, it's purchase isn't justified. If this is what evolution really is then Mr Darwin needs to be shot!