(Nintendo 64)

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil (Nintendo 64)

Game Review

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

Oblivion is at hand

Acclaim Entertainment must have always had a good feeling about Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Before the game was even released in 1997, the company announced that it was already working on a sequel. In hindsight of course, it’s easy to see why Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was such a massive success; it released at an ideal time in the Nintendo 64's life when there was little in the way of software — or first-person shooters on home systems for that matter; it went on to sell over 1.5 million copies and laid the foundation for its sequel, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil.

Nevertheless, Acclaim knew that it wasn’t going to have the same luck and good fortune when it came to releasing its second game in the series. By 1998, the N64 was finally seeing a steady trickle of high-quality releases such as Star Fox 64, Diddy Kong Racing and F-Zero X. Furthermore, Rare's GoldenEye 007 had already taken the world by storm in August the previous year, providing players with a first-person shooter experience that not only completely blew Acclaim's previous effort out of the water, but also revolutionised the genre on home systems. As a result, Iguana Entertainment – Acclaim’s development team — was faced with the mammoth challenge of providing a worthy successor that could hold its own against Rare’s behemoth. While it's fair to say that Turok 2: Seeds of Evil didn't dethrone GoldenEye 007, it definitely surpassed it in many ways.

Despite Turok 2: Seeds of Evil being announced before the first game had even released, it's hard to tell if the franchise was originally intended to be a series from the start. That's because the second game follows on in a relatively loose sense. When the original Turok (Tal'Set) defeated the Campaigner and destroyed the Chronoscepter super-weapon, he also inadvertently awakened a more sinister and evil creature known as the Primagen. This evil alien being once tried to conquer the Lost Land, and is hell-bent on having another stab at it.

To face off against this new threat, a new Turok has been appointed. You take control of Joshua Fireseed, the son of Tal'Set who funnily enough looks eerily similar to the guy that appears on the first game's box art. Fireseed's quest takes him to various locations throughout the Lost Land, ranging from ancient ruins to alien spaceships. In each area, you must complete various objectives, as well as protect an important energy totem that prevents the Primagen from escaping his ship. The Turok storyline is just as original and unique as in the sequel, and is a much richer experience as a result of an in-depth back story that is fully voiced by the character Adon.

What makes Turok 2: Seeds of Evil stand out from its predecessor and other first-person shooters at the time is its incredible production values. It holds the accolade of being the first N64 title to take advantage of the system's Expansion Pak upgrade, which provides an additional 4MB RAM and, in this instance, allowed for a high-resolution mode.

However, it's not just the improved resolution that makes Turok 2: Seeds of Evil so impressive. Even without the benefits of the extra RAM, it looks fantastic and is a solid improvement over the first. The distance fog, while still present, is far less encroaching, and the environments and character models sport an impressive amount of detail. The levels in the first game all looked woefully similar in places; this time round, each one has been carefully crafted from the ground up to provide a varied experience. Levels are huge in terms of scale, but feature tighter, much more linear designs so that getting lost isn’t an issue, while still being open enough to harbour plenty of secret areas. As a result of this – and the improved draw distance — exploring the environments is much more fun, especially because the enemies don’t respawn as quickly. It does suffer in some places a result of archaic design issues, namely save points which are far too sparsely located and the need to find keys to unlock later levels. To get as much enjoyment as possible from this title you really do need to set aside a few hours of your time.

It’s the little details in Turok 2: Seeds of Evil that make it stand out from the rest. The AI is surprisingly advanced, and actually surpasses GoldenEye 007 in this area; enemies utilise cover and keep shifting positions if you attempt to strafe around them. If you possess a particularly powerful weapon, they may even flee in sheer terror. The animation is equally impressive, with enemies jolting back and forth as they're riddled with bullets or coming to a tumbling halt if they just so happen to be running when they take a hit. It's a pretty gory game, and while it seems a little odd to praise such a feature, being able to dismember evil monsters is strangely satisfying. This level of detail probably seems quite basic by today's standards, but needless to say this was a pretty big deal back in 1998.

Of course, all this detail comes at a price; in this case, it's the frame rate, which suffers quite drastically as a result of all the fancy effects. The moment there's more than one enemy on screen things get incredibly choppy, especially when played in high resolution. It makes Turok 2: Seeds of Evil a difficult game to come back to in this day and age, but if you can see past the performance issues, it's a rewarding experience. Thankfully, it isn't the insane challenge that the first one was — it's still difficult in parts (even on easy), but far less frustrating, mainly as a result of its more linear design. With that said, players must still explore certain areas for switches and items, but it's much harder to skip past the vital bits such as level keys.

Much like GoldenEye 007, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil contains a multiplayer mode in which up to 4 players can battle it out. Unfortunately, the game falls down a bit in this area; it's not a bad multiplayer mode by any means, but the maps aren’t nearly as interesting, featuring quite standard and generic layouts. On the other hand, the weapons are much more varied and there's a neat in-game drop-in/drop-out feature.

Conclusion

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil was an incredible achievement for Acclaim Entertainment and proves that the first game wasn't just a lucky one-off. While it — or any of the other Turok games for that matter — never enjoyed the same commercial success that its James Bond counterpart did, it certainly set a new technical benchmark when it came onto the scene. It's a visually stunning experience, where the high-quality graphics and an astonishing amount of detail constantly surprise you. The unusual setting and multiplayer mode may not be to everyone’s tastes, and it’s rather choppy in terms of performance, but nevertheless Turok 2: Seeds of Evil is quite possibly the best third-party effort ever released for Nintendo 64. It may be almost 15 years since it hit the classic 64-bit system, but that shouldn't stop you from equipping your Tek Bow and heading out into battle one more time.

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User Comments (46)

Mattstewto

#2

Mattstewto said:

I found the first one to be extremely boring. You got lost pretty easy, the levels were way to big, and the save points to far apart. I never finished the game because of those reasons.

DiSTANToblivion

#3

DiSTANToblivion said:

This and the first game were some of the most atmospheric experiences of the time. Love both the soundtracks in particular. I wish more 1st-Person Shooters took this approach of having gigantic levels that are ripe with secrets and weapons instead of the soulless CoD fodder you see nowadays.

Spoony_Tech

#6

Spoony_Tech said:

This was definitly a good game. Better then the first for sure but for some reason I never finished it. The save points were way too far apart for my liking. Still the weapons and monsters were worth it all by themselves.

jbjbkat

#7

jbjbkat said:

Turok 2 was a great game, back in the day. The graphics were better than many other N64 games, the levels were huge--good memories of this title, I don't remember any frame rate issues...Akklaim was a good studio in the late 90s. In addition to the Turok games, they made some great sports titles--Quarterback Club, All-Star Baseball--too bad they couldn't survive.

DarkCoolEdge

#8

DarkCoolEdge said:

The one I really wanted was the third one, Shafow of Oblivion. It looked great. Now is too expensive.

Cosats

#9

Cosats said:

This game had a big variety of epic stereo surround 8 minute background music. It beats me how they put all these inside the black cartridge!

Slapshot

#10

Slapshot said:

These game's have their issues, but I still love the fact that they brought platforming into a FPS in the way that they did. Also, dinosaurs are just so much cooler to be stalked by than random AI guys that we mow down these days!

Great review Martin!

TourianTourist

#13

TourianTourist said:

Turok: Rage Wars next please. This one used to be my favorite.

Turok 2 had many issues, but I still enjoyed it and even beaten it many times back in the day on the N64. The music was great and the weapons were a lot of fun to use.

TruenoGT

#14

TruenoGT said:

I owned all 3 (plus rage wars) back in the day and never beat any of them, but loved them all but the 3rd game. I've actually recently reacquired a '64 plus the Turok games (excluding 3) and have been working my way through the first one. Hope I can finally beat them someday! Very unique compared to other FPS in my opinion.

XyVoX

#15

XyVoX said:

Im surprised that the sound quality didn't get a mention because at the time this game had astonishing music the scores and the quality used were both on another level, personally i used to flick back between this & Goldeneye as my fav FPS on the N64 (well that was until Perfect Dark came out anyway) and if i remember correctly this was the first game to use the weapon wheel select system that many others adopted there after and the first game to use a 256mbit cart double that of previous carts on the N64.

unrandomsam

#17

unrandomsam said:

I only played the first one but I still rate it more than 5/10 (Analog stick to shoot was a good thing).

N64 on real hardware and a CRT is still quite reasonable for me.

(Virtual console emulation isn't and PS1 isn't).

Pod

#18

Pod said:

I remember friends and I playing this game in multiplayer quite a bit more than Golden Eye.

The arsenal is hilarious, and the levels are well laid out. And while the single player games was a bit on the choppy side, I remember Turok 2 as running more smoothly in multiplayer than Mr. Bond's game did.

Zeldalover

#19

Zeldalover said:

Still own the original cart and it works fine too! I only managed to beat a couple of levels without using the 'bewareoblivionisathand' code. This game was very good for it's time!

WhiteTrashGuy

#20

WhiteTrashGuy said:

Take this review, strike it, and reverse it with the review for the first game. Got lost much more in this title, had more fun in the first game, and hated the dinosaur people. It was pretty and sounded amazing, though. Of course being 16 and using a shotgun to blow off all 4 limbs of a raptor and then subsequently watching it flop around on the ground had its charms. But seriously, I sold this game a month after I bought it. I should have bought ROGUE SQUADRON.

Jarod

#23

Jarod said:

had alot of fun with this game as a kid i didnt have a memory card so id always just see how far i could get, never beat it unless you count using the unlock everything cheat though haha

RR529

#24

RR529 said:

I used to play this all the time! Liked it much more than the first, but I never beat either, since I didn't have a memory card.

I did fight the final boss (thanks to a cheat code), but I was never able to beat it, because it kept reviving it's health or something...

Jeremyx7

#25

Jeremyx7 said:

IMO, this was a much better game over Golden Eye, especially the variety of gameplay mechanics, weapon functions, and the vast ammount of brilliant level design beginning to end! Not to mention the incredible A.I. for it's time, heck, even by today's standards the A.I. is better than ALLOT of recent FPS games. I would personally give this game a 9.6/10 instead of a solid 8.

Turok 2 was so much more than just a great FPS game, it was an atmospheric no holds bar intense action/adventure with so much variety and exploration. Definitely deserves more than an 8.

Pichuka97

#27

Pichuka97 said:

I was recently reading a Nintendo Power article on this game and was eager to play this. I saw a video on youtube and I really want to play this now. Great review.

Guovssohas

#28

Guovssohas said:

I still have this game :) And what a beast it is, it's incredibly hard. I was always desperately searching for health and ammo, even on easy mode. It was a quite intimidating game thanks to the brutal difficulty and great atmosphere. Also the music is very very well done.

JackdaRipper

#29

JackdaRipper said:

I paid $65 dollars when this came out, saved all my allowance money for it lol First game to ever get me motion sick as well lol

Subie98

#30

Subie98 said:

Fps style games weren't my cup of tea back then, however they have been for the past 3-4yrs. I do remember playing turok and didnt like it back then.

Relias

#32

Relias said:

Oh I remember this.. I loved this game.. though it made me a little sick sometimes.. still a great game..

Tamalesyatole

#34

Tamalesyatole said:

It would be nice to see some kind of postscript, detailing how the developer is right now, or the possibilities of a re-release, or remake, or port.

I mean, like "Could this appear in the WiiU/3DS virtual console?" "Who has the rights?" etc.

DiSTANToblivion

#35

DiSTANToblivion said:

@Macarony64 Oh yeah, the HD one... shudder the one about a bunch of marines crashing on a dinosaur planet with the lead, codenamed: 'TUROK'. It's like a slap in the face to fans of the comic series.

Than64

#36

Than64 said:

I used to play this game a lot, long ago. I never finished it but remember thinking that each area being so different from the last was awesome.

And those machine gun-toting gorilla-men used to scare the crap out of me!

RantingThespian

#37

RantingThespian said:

This game is awesome because of two words: CEREBRAL BORE

I loved this game. My brother, his friend Chad, and I would play this for hours at a time. I also LOVED how you could change the texture of the maps in Multiplayer. My favorite was using the "kiddie" texture. It just added to the insanity of it all.

Also, Frag Tag (Monkey Mode) added hours of hilarious fun!

Cia

#39

Cia said:

I can't believe that the reviewer forgot to mention the music. Anyway, this my favorite fps of all time straight after Metroid Prime.

Azikira

#43

Azikira said:

I love how nowadays Acclaim makes MMO's with Trojan Horse viruses built right in! Way to fall far off the wagon!

MoogleMuffins

#44

MoogleMuffins said:

I would love for the N64 Turok games to come out on the Wii U eshop. But I can never see that happening unfortunately. Turok 2 was definitely the best in the franchise IMO though.

Jeremyx7

#45

Jeremyx7 said:

@MoogleMuffins I completely agree with Turok 2 being the best in the series! Turok 3 had a ton of potential but ended up feeling flat, bland, and poorly thought out...felt like it was rushed if you ask me.

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