The new caucasian Turok struts into shot at the beginning of the game, all muscles , testosterone and scar tissue as he listens to his mission briefing. Around the room stand his new 'allies' - impossibly proportioned young super-soldiers with incredibly generic names (Slade, Logan) whom Propaganda could well have surgically tweezered out from any other contemporary war game like Gears of War, Call of Duty, basically any game where the soldiers are as wide as they are tall. "Turok!" they repeat, mockingly, barely concealing their laughter upon hearing our hero's name. But their ignorance is staged. They know who he is, what he has done in his past, and what he used to mean.
If Turok was some kind of Belgian arthouse film (and not, for example, a game about stabbing dinosaurs in the neck, which is what it actually is), then doubtlessly media lecturers up and down the land would be showing this scene on their overhead projectors, proudly putting forward that this exchange from the introduction sequence is an allegory for the fate of the Turok series as a whole.
A series that used to be a big deal a decade ago, when it wowed Nintendo 64 users with the spectacle of ferocious dinos the length and width of their television sets. But in the following years, Turok's star has been tarnished almost beyond repair when publishers Acclaim (showing the kind of business acumen that ultimately saw them go bust), drove the series into the ground with a succession of sub-par sequels.
The damage done was so bad that the news of the Turok series' revival (at the hands of newly-formed Canadian developers Propaganda Games) barely raised a ripple.
For Joseph Turok, the haunted star of Turok's rebirth, Turok Star Date 2008 is a tale of validation and redemption, much as it is, in a wider sense, for the brand in general. But does his story deserve to be heard? That's something we'll have to think about...
Cold blooded killers
Propaganda Games has decided to take the franchise in a new direction, and the result is somewhat of a mixed bag. Our new Turok, unlike his forerunners, is not a dinosaur hunter (which is somewhat of a shame, as he would surely prove very able in the role, as we'll explain later). Instead, he's an elite commando with - yes! - a few skeletons in his closet.
These skeletons were placed there by a man named Kane, a war criminal who once taught our boy Turok everything he knew. As Turok, your mission is to roll up on the desolate planet that Kane calls his home and bring your former mentor to task, a mission that is complicated by 1) Your ship being shot down on entry and the majority of your crew killed; and 2) The planet being populated with Kane's personal army, which stands at around three times the population of India.
So this is the big difference; your enemies are now distinctly human-shaped. While this might come as a disappointment to long-term Turok fans (or people that just really, genuinely hate dinosaurs), we can assure you that along the way, you'll be having your fair share of encounters with T-Rex's, Utahraptors and other beasts with teeth as long as their names.
Kane & Lunch
So, this is Turok's 'thing' that distinguishes it from other first-person shooters. The war you wage against Kane's troops takes place across the backdrop of a lost world. Prehistoric beasts of all shapes and sizes (we'll allow you to discover some of the more out-there beasts for yourselves) roam the land, politically neutral to the fight unfolding around them. Singularly, the majority of the dinosaurs will prove no match for our hero. While his arrows (and, to an extent, his guns) will prove largely ineffective against an approaching lizard-beast, his trusty knife proves more than an equaliser.