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Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

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Reviewed by Mr. Shades Ah, the wait is finally over. After reading of this game's impending release, I was finally able to track down a copy of the fabled black cartridge and give it a whirl. All I can say is wow. From the uh - somewhat bizarre opening sequence (which involves a gun-toting Iguana) to the opening scenes of the game - I was enraptured. You are Joshua Fireseed, Turok. Apparently, your predecessor (Turok is sort of a title which is passed down from generation to generation) awakened a being called Primagen with the destruction of the chronosceptre in Turok 1. Primagen seeks to free himself from his dimensional prison by destroying energy totems located throughout the world. Problem is - if the totems are destroyed, the resulting explosion will wipe out the universe as we know it. Hence, it is your job as Turok to defend these totems and do away with Primagen's evil followers utilizing a multitude of techno-weapons that would make James Bond green with envy.

Graphics 10 out of 10

Iguana really took the cake here. From the beautiful interactive environments to the scarily detailed enemies, this game is mind-blowing. Shoot an enemy with an arrow, and watch it lodge in his throat as he's wracked with coughing spasms and begins throwing up blood. This game might be a little too realistic for its own good. Turok II is 100% guaranteed to scare the living crap out of you at least a couple times in the course of your playing - don't say I didn't warn you. Enemies move with oily fluidity and there have been at least a couple times where I've dropped my controller in horrid fascination as I watch some hideous monstrosity come lumbering out of the darkness to dismember poor Turok. Oh - and I have to say that buying the RAM upgrade is a MUST for this game. You simply won't believe the silky smooth, ultra realistic textures the guys at Iguana have gotten the 64 to produce until you see 'em with your own eyes. Graphically, this game is light years ahead of its time - a problem which crops up in the gameplay section, but I'll get to that in a moment. . .

Music and Sound 8 out of 10

One of my major complaints about Turok 1 (other than the horrid "miss one jump in a series of 60 and you die" problem) was the lack of music. I mean, I could only take so much of the kooky "natives are restless" drumbeats in the background before I'd just turn the sound off altogether and pop in a CD or something. Happily, the people at Iguana have decided to go with a more musical score this time around. Although nothing really jumps out at me as "phenomena", the music definitely helps to set the mood of the game, and in some places has me guiltily humming along. The sound effects are great! From the bird-like chirping of the raptors, to the horribly disgusting noise the "cerebral bore" makes - the effects are perfect. You can even hear the footfalls of enemies on floors above you, and the rumble pack adds to the effect. All in all, T2's sound is a HUGE improvement over the first game.

Game Play-Fun 8 out of 10

Boy - talk about light and dark. There are 2 serious flip sides to T2's coin. First off, let me just say that the 4 player death match mode is tons of fun. The game has a multitude of vastly differing death match levels and characters complete with their own special abilities and weapons. You can play as a raptor (Sure, you can't use weapons, but you get to BITE people to death!). Until you've sneaked up behind one of your friends and popped a cerebral bore into the back of his head, you haven't experienced the fun that multiplayer console gaming has to offer. Move over Goldeneye, there's a new champion in town. The single player quest mode is also well thought out. Although the levels tend to be a bit on the ridiculously long side, the game flows well and doesn't have any glaring flaws - save one. Which brings me to T2's only downfall : slowdown. When an enemy gets in your face, or when there are large explosions going off, the game bogs down considerably. If the game weren't such a visual masterpiece, this would probably really get on my nerves, but if anything, my willingness to overlook such a drawback really says something about the overall quality of this game. That said, the single player mode offers plenty of opportunities to alternately scream, laugh, drool, and wet your pants. The absolutely huge selection of sicko, futuristic weapons will have you tracking down old enemies just to see how they die when shot by a new weapon you just acquired (the death animations in this game are *really* something). T2 grabs your attention from the get-go and never lets up. Until ! your eyes feel like they're going to fall out of their skull, you *will* keep playing this game. The control setup, although seemingly awkward to someone who hasn't played either Goldeneye or Turok 1, is well suited to the style of gameplay, and you'll soon be strafing, dodging, ducking, and jumping around the world of T2 with ease. Despite the obvious, this game is an intense and very moody gaming experience (reminds me of the feeling I got when I first played Metroid for the 8 bit Nintendo) that's just not to be missed.

Overall 8 out of 10

Honestly, I'd have given this game a perfect score if not for its slowdown problem, and believe me, it is a *big* problem. However, the game is pure visual artwork. The graphics are unlike anything you've ever seen for this system. The poor N64's processors just can't keep up with the high framerate and dazzlingly rendered characters dancing around your TV screen. That aside, this game is an absolute must-have for fans of console death-match gaming. For fans of the Turok series (and comic book), the storyline and characters are true to form - representing some of the most vile enemies Iguana could come up with - and believe me, there are quite a few of them. Anyone just looking for a 1st person shooter should definitely give this game a look, but if slowdown really gets on your nerves - run away fast. You'll break the game in half after 10 minutes of play.

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