Review: Third time's a charm
During March of 1997, Acclaim unleashed Turok: Dinosaur Hunter to N64 gamers who, at that time, saw every single game being released at a rather slow pace. Although plagued flaws, the first Turok title did justice for players during the early days of the N64. The fog was pushed back in the 2nd Turok title, Turok 2: Seed of Evil when released in December of 1998. It featured many more special effects, lighting effects, detailed characters, better AI and a multiplayer mode. Even with these much-improved factors over the first title, Turok 3 suffered from a nasty framerate as well as a lack of save points present in the game. Next, Acclaim developed Turok: Rage Wars, which, much like Quake III Arena, was a detahmatch exclusive title. Although pretty solid, the game went unnoticed when it released to the public during November of 1999.
Concluding the Turok series on N64, Acclaim has developed the last title for the system, Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion. Picking up where the Turok 2 storyline left off, you are treated to a real time cut-scene, which runs for about six minutes. Creatures of the boss, Oblivion, invade the home of John Fireseed's, who is the current Turok. Fireseed commands his sister Danielle, and his brother, Joseph, to escape, as he is about to set off a large explosion to destroy the remainder of the minions, but sacrifice himself at the same time. Now, you must select either Danielle or Joseph to become the new Turok and carry on the fight, each with his or her own abilities.
Acclaim has included more than 20 different levels, throughout five different environments. Now, each stage is designed to be action-packed for players, unlike the previous large scale and mainly bear levels. The framerate is still a nuisance at times, but not as much of a persistent problem as in the previous version of the game. After four years of developing Turok games, the series has finally hit a high point graphics wise. It seemed as if Turok 2 featured more texture, lighting effects, and better models of creatures, but the slight sacrifice is worth it bringing out a smoother game in the end. As the Turok series has grown, it has also shown more "special effects," where disasters such as a train wreck take place while you are playing through the levels.
Another part of the game Acclaim has heightened is the amount of gore used. Sure, all the previous Turok games had the rating of Mature, but as time went on, the series was intended toward more adult audiences. Shadow of Oblivion has to use the most amount of gore out of any N64 game to date. An instance that shows some of the most gore is when you are trying to find your way out of a tunnel, and come across a man who yells, "this is the way out." The man starts mumbling some words to you when he starts climbing the ladder, but when he reaches the top of the manhole; he is cut off when something grabs him from above. Half of the body drops down the tunnel and as you follow a trail of blood on the surface, you are lead around the side of a building where the creature it gnawing on the other half. Now that is my impression of gore for N64. Weapons such as your shotgun will also cause some violent blasts against your enemies by literally ripping them in two.
Sound may not be the most important thing in many video games, but Turok 3 seems to be topped off with some of the best audio contained in one N64 game. The mood of the game is set with music composed by an orchestra, which gives the sense of tribal chanters following you close behind. Also, the inclusion of being able to hear enemies creeping from around the corners of buildings gives every gamer the edge in attacking before they even get a shot off, and having surround sound can save your life in being able to pinpoint which direction an enemy is approaching from.
Cut-scenes actually feature voices instead of just text appearing at the bottom of the screen. The lines of the characters are clear and go together with the moving lips, which is a large advancement for the N64 games. Acclaim has somehow fit all this great audio into the cart, and I have no complaints from anything that I heard.