Nintendo 64 video games dwelling a second life on handheld is nothing new, definitely not should you’ve owned and beloved a 3DS in some unspecified time in the future within the final eight years. However there’s one thing about that mid-to-late-’90s heyday of shooters – an period that gave us GoldenEye 007, Excellent Darkish and Quake II amongst so many others – that also exudes a quintessential sort of magic. And so whereas the unique Turok won’t be thought of the sequence’ pinnacle – that falls to the unbelievable Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, which can also be coming to Swap this yr – it is nonetheless an FPS landmark crammed with allure, character and effectively, a great deal of dinosaurs.
Even should you’ve by no means heard of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter – by no means thoughts performed it when it first launched in 1997 – it is necessary to understand simply how a lot this off-the-wall title progressed shooters as a complete. It was the primary FPS to seem on N64 (again when its lineup of video games was barely into the double digits) and it was massively forward of its time. Its ranges had been open, filled with twisting corridors, open-plan glades and shortcuts galore. It utilised movement seize to present enemies a sensible sense of motion, and its AI was aggressive and relentless in its quest to conquer you. Even the best way you sway and tilt backward and forward as you run is a world away from the inflexible motion mannequin of Doom.
To 2019 eyes, Turok may appear a bit fundamental visually – and it’s, with its crude textures and sharp polygons – however this was a recreation constructed by an 18-strong crew again when Nintendo 64 was barely out of its infancy. 3D itself was nonetheless a wild frontier of risk, and developer Iguana Leisure and writer Acclaim took an enormous danger attempting to construct a rewarding FPS in three dimensions with what was – on the time – a brand new IP within the gaming area (it is primarily based on a comic book guide which started within the 1950s, in case you had been questioning). And, one way or the other, they needed to discover a option to match it onto an N64 cart. Even the condensed soundtrack – considered one of a handful of concessions that had been made to get Turok operating on 64-bit hardware – nonetheless has a nostalgic high quality to it.
So right here we’re, 22 years later, with that exact same recreation operating on Nintendo Swap. This remaster first popped its head up on PC on the tail finish of 2015 earlier than finally making its approach onto consoles, so whereas it isn’t essentially a brand new port, it’s the first time this trailblazing shooter has gone cell. Developer Nightdive Studios has achieved a advantageous job of transitioning Turok’s debut journey to the world of Pleasure-Con and handheld adventuring. That notorious fog – a kind of aforementioned technical sacrifices – which clouded lots of its open areas so as to save reminiscence, has been (largely) lifted whereas each character mannequin, lighting impact and weapon has been given a remastered spit shine.
The Nintendo Swap port additionally advantages from movement controls, so you may sit there and fortunately wave your console round in handheld mode, taking pictures dinosaurs and dodging grenades to your coronary heart’s content material. It is a management scheme that fits the messy gunplay of Turok, and is usually simply as enjoyable as utilizing the sticks. Speaking of handheld mode, there’s barely any change in efficiency when taking part in away from the dock. It is a port of 22-year-old recreation and also you would not think about such a title would put a lot pressure on Swap’s processor, however with the ability to get pleasure from Turok’s old-fashioned sense of pace and break-neck motion in its full kind on-the-go is a large boon.
So how does it play right now? Properly, that boils down as to whether you performed it the primary time round, and the way indoctrinated you’ve got grow to be to the tropes of contemporary first-person shooters. Turok comes from the identical time that gave us Quake III Area and Unreal, so it is all about transferring at sprinting pace, blowing enemies to bits with shotguns and exploring a labyrinthine set of ranges earlier than taking down a bullet-sponge boss. The shortage of guide saving (one thing Nightdive may have added in, however presumably did not to protect the sport’s authentic intent) feels so odd in 2019, with checkpoints and save factors unfold very thinly throughout its massive ranges.
And whereas that gunplay lacks the finesse you’ve got come to anticipate from Rainbow Six: Siege or the present CODs and Battlefields, it by no means, ever feels boring or rote. Whereas it won’t have the ridiculously over-the-top weapons of Turok 2 (Cerebral Bore, anybody?), its arsenal of 14 weapons tick sufficient basic and inventive bins to take advantage of its dramatic demise animations. Even now, all these years later, watching these polygonal enemies clutch their throats as blood spurts out feels as exhilarating because it did when that cartridge was first slammed into an N64. In case you did not play the unique that may sound just like the sort of factor a psychopath would write, however actually, it is nonetheless actually cool.
There isn’t any denying that Turok: Dinosaur Hunter has aged loads within the final two-plus a long time, however the truth it additionally holds up so effectively is a testomony to the work of that small Iguana crew and the hassle Nightdive Studios has put it bringing this interactive time capsule to life. The shortage of a correct story, incapacity to manually save your progress and sheer open nature of its degree design will likely be one thing of a shock to gamers much less skilled with the shooters of yore, however with a lick of recent paint and a few welcome movement controls, this piece of interactive historical past will get to dwell once more on Nintendo hardware. It is arguably extra attention-grabbing as a chunk of historical past than it’s an FPS shooter in 2019, however Turok continues to be value a glance should you’re a fan of the style.