One may argue that it's unfair to judge a game by its installation. In the case of Turok, the ill portent bore prophetic truth. It took an hour.
An hour with two disc-swaps, ensuring I couldn't walk away. An hour during which the game saw fit to play me the same 60 seconds of tedious, loud, dirge-like music, rendering my PC useless for any other purpose. All in order that it could fill 15Gb of my machine with the first-person adventures of Joseph Turok: black-ops toughguy battling mercenaries on a planet full of dinosaurs.
Turok isn't dreadful. Its fits in that far less entertaining position of mediocre. It makes some ghastly mistakes, but at the same time has giant dinosaurs you can kill with a bow and arrow. It's more linear than said arrow, but, well, those dinosaurs and the arrows again. Pretty much what it has going for it is shooting dinosaurs with arrows. That's firmly established at this point.
What it gets wrong is so wearying because it's what every half-arsed shooter gets wrong. It's as if the development team deliberately set out to mess up the obvious, perhaps as a tribute to disappointing first-person shooters everywhere. These stupidly placed checkpoints are going out to you, Timeshift! Hey, good to see you Blacksite! You should recognise these weapons.
It's tempting to give Propaganda Games kudos for making the Unreal 3 engine look quite so weak. Occasionally the dinosaurs will look pretty decent - the T-Rex especially - but then at other times they look like rubber chickens bouncing off trees.
The foliage, which decorates about 99% of the game, is particularly poor, its ubiquity ensuring an incessant unfavourable comparison with Crysis. And talking of Crysis, the enemy soldiers' armour looks awfully familiar, which perhaps isn't a brilliant idea. The fewer comparisons drawn with a vastly superior shooter, the better for Turok, really.
You'll note I've not mentioned the story. Nor did they, really. My lot, Whiskey Company, are shooting at the other lot, the Wolf Pack, the black-ops squad that first taught me to use a knife. Table etiquette aside, we know nothing more about them or why we're killing them, but hey, they're shooting at me so why not? The dinosaurs appear to be innocent bystanders who happen to be hungry, so it's best to riddle them with bullets and arrows too.
Turok's greatest crime is the shocking level design. It's a one-way path, with any notion of deviation blocked off by invisible walls, high rocks surrounding you, funnelling you into the next time the bloody thing puts your guns away and steals the camera so the cast can shout clichés for a bit. Shoot whatever's in the way, then run forward again. A few interior sections manage to dull proceedings further, only making the corridors more literal.
The load times are terrible, and the AI is wonky, but you guessed that. Enemy soldiers will sit with their backs to you shouting that you've gone missing, or psychically shoot you through a rock from ten miles away. But despite it all, despite all these tiresome, routine problems, it's OK. And seriously, fighting dinosaurs with a bow and arrow is lots of fun. It's amazing how much that carries the game.
Fans of the original Turok, on a retro N64 kick, will find nothing here. Get Mario Kart Wii instead. This is a weary, uninspired, but not overtly awful shooter that isn't worth much attention.