Developer: Nightdive Studios
Publisher: Nightdive Studios
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop download
Category: Action, Platformer
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: August 9th, 2019 (EU & NA)
Price: $19.99 USD
The year is 1998. Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil released on the Nintendo 64, a year after Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. The sequel was actually being developed alongside the first game and used an optimized version of the Dinosaur Hunter engine.
Turok 2 was meant to follow in the footsteps of the first game and consist solely of a single-player campaign due to the limited 12MB space on the N64 carts. However, when the price of cartridges fell, their storage was increased up to 16MB. The development team took advantage of this and began working on a Multiplayer mode to fit in the extra space.
Upon release, Turok 2 saw positive reviews and was praised for its vast technical improvements over Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. It sold 1.4 million copies within three months, which is an impressive feat in its time. The game was ported to PC in 1999 and was then left to rest. That was until Nightdive Studios picked up the rights to both Turok: Dinosaur Hunter & Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil in 2015. The company went on to remaster the game, improving the graphics, enemy AI, among the inclusion of other features.
Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil Remastered and its predecessor went on to see release on Microsoft Windows in 2017 and Xbox One in 2018. Of course, it is now 2019, over 20 years since its first release and now, Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil has returned to a Nintendo console.
Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil picks up where the original game left off, albeit with a different protagonist taking the mantle of Turok and a significant amount of time passed. When the original Turok threw the Chronoscepter into a volcano in the hopes of destroying it and restoring peace to the Lost Land, it ultimately awoke an ancient evil known as the Primagen.
Joshua Fireseed is summoned by an alien being named Adon on behalf of the Elders of the Lost Land. Adon explains to Joshua that a powerful entity (the Primagen) is attempting to escape the wreckage of his lightship by rallying the hostile races of the Lost Land to destroy Five Energy Totems that bound him to his lightship.
Joshua adopts his mantle of Turok and sets off on his way to stop the Primagen’s plans and save not only the Lost Land but the entire universe. He must travel across the 5 realms of the Lost Land and eventually to the Primagen’s lightship itself, taking out every manner of monster and beast that gets in his way.
Turok 2: Seeds OF Evil is a First-Person Shooter/Platformer that focuses on exploration just as much as it does blowing limbs off of your enemies. You have to navigate your way through labyrinthine levels, scavenging weapons and ammo to fight off the onslaught of hostile creatures that want to decimate you.
On each level, there are a set number of objectives that have to be completed before reaching the end. These can consist of rescuing four children, Destroy gate of souls, Destroy ammunition facilities, etc. If you attempt to finish the level without completing all of the objectives, you will be warped back to the beginning of the level.
You may be able to rely on your wits and perseverance but having an ample supply of weapons and ammo does make things much easier. There are 26 weapons to find and use. These range from the up close and personal like the Talon and Warblade up to the long-range Plasma Rifle and Tek Bow. Lest not forget the “light up the heavens” Nuke weapon or our personal favorite, the cranium-drilling Cerebral Bore.
Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil is not just a “Run & Gun and save everyone” kind of game, it does have it’s elements of platforming and puzzle as well. Sometimes Turok will have to jump from ledges suspended over deadly falls or swim through underwater tunnels to find his through each level. To top it off, simple completion of a level doesn’t automatically grant you access to the next level either, you have to find Level keys.
These Keys are hidden throughout levels and can be found in some really sneaky places. There are also Primagen Keys that will give you access to the big bad himself of which, there is a single key hidden in each of the levels. These usually require the use of a specific talisman to reach it.
Talismans are special skills that will allow you to perform leaps of faith, swim in poisoned water or walk on lava. To earn them you will need to find the Sacred Eagle Feather hidden on each level (with the exception of the Port of Adia) and take them to the Warp Portal. You can use the special ability granted by the talismans by stepping on the corresponding Talisman tiles found throughout each level.
Oftentimes, you will come across a locked door and will need to find a way to open it. Sometimes, it is as easy as killing all the enemies in the room. Other times, you have to scour high and low to find levers that will unlock the door.
There are also moments you might have to activate several levers to open up a pathway or even find a hidden path you never knew previously existed. Safe to say you will spend plenty of time trying to find your way around each level, discovering secret areas whilst fumbling about trying to find the warp portal out of there.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil Remastered has a number of features that were not available in the original sequel. The Menu and text font has been refined and is much clearer to read, though some may still have trouble when looking on the Switch’s small screen in handheld mode.
There are many more options in the Remastered that make N64 version look extremely limited. While the whole, turn blood off-on option and X/Y-axis sensitivity is still here, they are expanded upon with other features like, how far you want to extend the draw distance, whether you want to use motion control, how sensitive you would like them to be and so on. It can be a little daunting to start off with but once you get the hang of Turok 2, you will find yourself coming back and tweaking these options to customize a more personal experience for yourself.
The HUD display has also been cleaned up and looks much sharper. I do wish that Nightdive Studios made the icons a little bit bigger but I respect that they reduced the size of the HUD icons so that they didn’t intrude on everything else that is seen on screen.
One feature that all players will certainly welcome is that they can save and load there progress at any time from the Pause Menu. In the N64 version, saving was restricted to Save Portals but this feature has been done away with. Instead, players can now use “Checkpoint Stations” to quick travel to other Checkpoint Stations they have previously encountered. Ammo and health can also be replenished from the Checkpoint Station, which was a feature left over from the N64 version.
For those that like to do a little “extra-curricular” activity in the school of “Turok 2,” there are achievements that can be unlocked. These can consist of finding your first oblivion portal, defeating the Mother Boss, scorching enemies with a flamethrower, etc. This was most likely a feature that came from the Xbox remaster version and was kept in to give players a little extra “homework” to do.
For anyone looking to really change up their game. There is a cheat menu as well. You can either unlock the codes naturally upon the completion of particular levels or you can be naughty and input the codes manually. These cheats include the likes of all weapons, invincibility, big head, mode, pen & ink, etc. Bear in mind that using any cheats will stop you from unlocking achievements.
Another feature that seems, to only be accessible from the main menu is the Gallery. The Gallery allows players to check out the models of the characters, enemies, and weapons featured in the game. The more you find and encounter in the game, the more you will have access to in the Gallery. Weapons have the added benefit of keeping a note of how many shots were fired. Enemies will list how many times you have killed them.
When it comes to music, Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil does have some tunes to keep players motivated, accompanied at times with adrenaline-pumping war drums at times to really get you in the mood. Both the N64 and PC music tracks are available and can be easily swapped between in the Audio settings.
Most of the sound effects have come straight from the first Turok game and had some new ones added for good measure. Every enemy has a few different sounds they can make from low guttural roars to the gurgling of choking on their own blood. Bear in mind that there was very limited space on the original N64 carts so developers couldn’t exactly go all out with a whole library of roars, grunts, cries, and gurgles.
Though Nightdive studios could have added to the sound library, and perhaps they did and I just didn’t notice, it may have actually taken away from the experience rather than add to it. Music and sounds to videogames substantially create the identity of a game just as much as its art design and Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil Remastered is no different.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
Probably the most important thing of all is how the game looks and plays after 20 odd years. While Turok 2 looked very much ahead of its time in the ’90s, it would certainly show its age now. Fortunately, the remastered version gives the game a much-needed coat of paint and polish, making it look much more refined.
The attention to detail in Turok 2 has been maintained and is a vast improvement on the Turok: Dinosaur Hunter remaster. Some of the game models like the raptors could have done with a little more refining but everything else does look a hundred times better than what Turok 2 originally looked like back in 1998.
Performance-wise, Turok 2 on the N64 did suffer from framerate drops when enemies began filling up the screen. Fortunately, I have yet to see performance drops in either handheld mode or in docked mode, regardless of how many enemies are on screen.
Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil Remastered does a lot of things really well and some things that are missing. The updated resolution and graphical overhaul really do make the game shine. The enemies are smarter and more relentless than before. There are plenty of secret areas to find and the inclusion of motion controls really does improve on the original game’s camera movement controls.
The Enemy animations crack me up, especially when they react to your attacks and being shot at. From clutching their shoulder after being shot to dramatically dying like an opera actor. I do enjoy the extra touches like blowing their heads clean off or watching the limbs disintegrate from a shotgun blast.
That said, I am a little sad to see that the multiplayer mode has been removed from the Switch version. I was included in the Xbox Remaster and it was where my brother and I would have lots of fun hunting each other down in Deathmatch. Well, until Turok Rage Wars came out and stole all of our attention.
I did reach out to Nightdive Studios about the exclusion of Multiplayer. Their Business Development Director informed me “While I can’t address specific features or issues, we are planning on continuing to support and update this title as we do with all Nightdive Games.”
I remain hopeful that multiplayer mode may still get added at a later date but that may depend on the success of the Switch version, warranting more support for the game and new features being added.
Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil Remastered is a return to form to a series we have long adored. It’s fast-paced, gruesome, bloody and still a buck load of fun, even after 20 odd years. If you are looking for blood & gore, Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil Remastered has all that and more.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*A download key was provided by Nightdive Studios Games for the purposes of this review
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