Forget Call of Duty, Real Men Need the Retro Love: Turok- Dinosaur Hunter

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chris-littlechild - November 5, 2014

Maybe you thought the Doom Marine was the pinnacle of mantastic in gaming. Cruising straight into the mouth of hell armed only with a pistol and a furious scowl? That takes some mothereffin' chutzpah, right there.

Well, angry-ass gonad biting eyeball demons are one thing, but dinosaurs? Those bastards, you don't screw with. When you're taking a dump, they'll mozy straight on in through the toilet wall and chew on your face. These guys have no damn clue about acceptable social etiquette.

Which is why I have the utmost manly respect for Turok, who has the balls of steel required to hunt them. Today, we're partying like it's 1997 and revisiting Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.

This FPS hit the N64 that year from Iguana Entertainment, the first entry in a six-game series. It was adapted from the comic book of the same name, about a Native American time-traveling warrior trapped in the Lost Valley and up to his ass in dinosaurs. Which sounds like a good time.

In the game, antagonist ‘The Campaigner' seeks to rule this strange world by acquiring the Chronoscepter, a weapon of legendary power. So ball-bustingly powerful was this artifact, it had previously been shattered into eight pieces to prevent its use. You see where we're going with this: Turok has to haul ass and gather the pieces before this crazy asshole can. As usual, there's an inherent logical problem there, but we won't bitch about it. That's just how video games work.

Come on, Turok, get your shit together. What the hell is this thing supposed to be?

The stage is set, then, for some gory gunslingin' action. You haven't seen such bloody, freaking-jungles-everywhere shooting goodness since Predator.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
is renowned as one of those titles that advanced the genre. The Washington Post once said of the fancy-ass new animations,
‘Blow away a baddie and he'll grab his throat, blood splatting, and then fall to the ground, still convulsing... how can you put a price on that?'

Now, I don't know about you, but realistic jugular-leaking death convulsions are the first thing I look for in my games. So good job, Turok. The weapons themselves have a Mortal Kombat-ish, hideous-death-for-the-sake-of-effing-hideous-death sense about them too. Where Doom had the BFG, Turok had all kind of new ways to reduce your foes to blood-leaking meat stains on the sidewalk.

As is always the case with early forays into 3D gaming, this one looks utterly piss poor today. Nevertheless, these visuals were phenomenal at the time. Blood spattering on the walls behind enemies? A range of context-sensitive death animations? This was revolutionary presentation right here.

Sure, it came at a cost. Multiple dudes on screen would cause some nasty slowdown. But nuts to that. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is notable for being one of those early trailblazing entries in the FPS genre, but it's more than that. It was also one of the N64‘s first big third party games, and you don't see many of those bastards round Nintendo way.

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