Iguana Entertainment and Acclaim came out with the first Turok game (Dinosaur Hunter) for the N64 back in 1997. Based on a comic book of the same name, the game was released to critical success due to its technical prowess (for the time obviously) and it’s unique concept. Before it’s launch, many made the accusations that it was a Doom clone, but it soon became apparent that Turok was able to carve a niche out all on its own.
The plot of all the games center around Turok, a Native American warrior (Turok is a mantle, not a name) who is tasked with defending the barrier between our world and “the lost land”. In doing so he can travel through time, and of course fight a slew of dinosaurs and other strange creatures. Who the hell doesn’t want to shoot dinosaurs? And what other game really lets you stab a velociraptor in the face with a knife? None of them (especially back in the day), and that’s a reason why this franchise has stood out so well, and is considered one of the best games on the N64 still to this day.
As with any successful game, it spawned it’s fair share of sequels…and that’s when the problems began. The sequels weren’t entirely bad, they just drifted away from the things that made the first Turok so enjoyable. Rather than setting itself apart from the competition, the franchise devolved into any other generic shooting game. By 2002 with Turok: Evolution, the series had pretty much overstayed it’s welcome and gamers weren’t enthusiastic about the franchise anymore.
Let’s face it, when you’re game features the ability to fight dinosaurs, cyborgs, and everything else, lackluster shouldn’t be the response you get. Turok was, and still remains, a franchise with strong potential. In 2008 a reboot was attempted for the current generation of consoles, and did it’s best to separate itself from both the previous games and the comic on which it’s based. That game was received with mostly mixed reviews, with the overall sentiment being, “it’s decent, but not great.”
This seems an ignominious end for such a promising franchise. It has an interesting background with a vast and populated universe of characters and history. There’s no reason this shouldn’t be a AAA franchise. Thus, I say it’s time to give it the reboot treatment again. Let’s get the story back to its roots and bring the gameplay up to where it needs to be. Turok deserves a reboot, but it can’t be just another shooting game; it is going to need something else to stand out as it once did in the past.
Just look at Far Cry 3, and all the wonderful experiences it’s given gamers in its jungle environment. It added a new depth to the traditional shooter gameplay and truly made the island feel alive. Those kind of elements in a Turok game would be amazing, and is exactly what’s needed to get this franchise back on top.
Things have been very quiet on the Turok front lately, without much word or even whispers of another game in the pipeline. Despite the disgrace the franchise has fallen too, I hope we’ll be getting more of Turok soon. Only time will tell.