There are a great many unanswered questions that plague the great minds of humanity, whether theistic, scientific or philosophical: Is there a god / gods, what is Dark Matter, and perhaps most profound of all, why are we here?
These are valid questions, of this there can be no doubt. That said, it seems to me that one particularly poignant question has long since been buried by the sands of time, relegated to the annals of history. That question, of course, is ‘what the hell happened to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter?’
To this day, sitting pretty(ish) at the ripe young age of 30, I still recall the visceral flood of excitement that washed over my every sense as I took control of Tal’Set, the initial protagonist, in the first instalment of the franchise, ‘Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.’ (Yes, indeed, I could all but taste that dino blood).
This was a game that combined my love for the FPS genre, all-things dinosaur, and an arsenal that would make Kim Jong-un go weak at the knees. From taking down that very first velociraptor, to going head-to-head with the tyrannical cyborg known as The Campaigner, this game had me on the edge of my seat, all the while salivating over the myriad of pure-bread and hybrid enemies, not to mention the exquisite suite of munitions, all brought centre stage by the immersive gaming wonder that is first-person perspective.
Feeling as though I had literally become Tal’Set himself, I relished every virtual step through the game’s wonderfully varied Lost Land setting, gutting prehistoric adversaries with my knife and arrows, decimating hordes of hunters and mercenaries with my plasma rifle and fusion cannon.
This dino-hunting masterpiece concluded with an epic showdown against the Campaigner himself, Tal’Set vanquishing his deranged adversary with the help of the delectably powerful Chronoscepter weapon.
Years later, my heart aflutter, came the arrival or the franchise’s second instalment, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, which somehow managed to outshine its predecessor in almost every conceivable way. Taking control of Joshua Fireseed, I swooned over a bolstered armoury, comprised of ever more numerous and powerful weapons; polished graphics, rendering the blood spatterings in all their crimson glory; and of course, ever more inspired enemy and level designs.
The Cerebral Bore, in particular, was a gratuitous stroke of genius, homing in as it did on the cerebral activity of Joshua’s enemies, before latching on to their skulls, boring a hole therein and extracting their brains in a liquefied jet of grey matter and blood.
The enemies and stages, too, as alluded to, were inspired. From the dim-witted, yet hulking nemeses known as War Clubs, thundering around the swamps of the Lost Land; all the way up the chain to the Primagen overlord, an ancient and ingenious inter-dimensional alien being hell-bent on the destruction of the universe, the enemies were as varied as they were terrifying. It is only thanks to his enhanced arsenal that Joshua is able to overcome all adversaries thrown his way, whether decapitating enemy Endtrails with the fearsome War Blade, or tearing through Mantid Mites and Raptors alike with the brutal Firestorm Cannon. This game was Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, but on steroids!
Alas, the quality of the franchise took a decided dip (freefall) after Turok 2, though even in light of the more recent remastered releases on the current-gen consoles, I’m still yearning for an all-new Turok title that’s worthy of its forebears.
And so, the gauntlet has been thrown down. Developers of the ubiquitous planes of modern gaming, hear my plea. Revive this overlooked franchise. Bring back Turok, in all of his dino hunting glory!!