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Turok Preview

publisher: Touchstone
developer: Propaganda Games
genre: Shooters

ESRB rating: M

release date: Jan 29, 08
» All About Turok on ActionTrip

Some among you may associate the name Turok with a fictional character from a comic book which dates back to 1954, when it was first released by Western Publishing. Several decades later, the franchise ended up in Acclaim's hands and a video game was born. Initially released on the Nintendo 64, Turok arrived when console first-person shooters were considered a rarity. Some time after Acclaim's demise, Turok was snatched by publisher Touchstone and Propaganda Games. Just so you know, Propaganda Games was formed by ex employees of EA Canada and is currently owned by Disney Interactive Studios. Anyhow, after such a turbulent history everything fell into place and a new Turok game was finally announced for PS3 and X360 platforms.

The game is set 200 years in the future. You play as black-ops Joseph Turok, who is part of so-called Whiskey Company (a cheerful bunch, no doubt). Ronald Kane, Turok's former mentor, went rogue and left the planet for unknown reasons. As you'd expect, Turok and his team are tasked with going after Kane and brining him back. The mission takes a turn for the worse, as their ship crashes on the mysterious planet inhabited by dinosaurs. The objectives are straightforward: find your soldiers, stay alive and capture Kane.

What we're looking at here is a classic FPS experience, with a few neat touches. The apparent Jurassic Park reference is, obviously, a key element in the game, both in terms of gameplay and atmosphere. The developers made their own comparisons though. They seemed eager to indicate 28 Days Later as a major inspiration for setting the ambiance in Turok.

Okay, although many may cringe at the somewhat pass' idea of a game with dinosaurs running around, it's clear enough the devs. simply wanted to throw in a decent mix of opponents to challenge players in various ways. The AI has been tweaked to make these ferocious animals act realistically. Enemy soldiers also behave according to their instincts and will primarily be interested in saving their own hide, in addition to dealing with you. This is something players may use to their advantage. Fighting against dinosaurs, for that matter, requires some skill and frequent use of tactics. Every so often dinosaurs attack in packs, but they can be lured into traps, turned against each other or against soldiers. In turn, soldiers may be confused when they see a pack of dinosaurs dashing towards them, which is another benefit for the player.

In addition, there are devices in the game, like flare guns that allow you to use soldiers as bait for the prehistoric beasts. Just hurl the flare on an unsuspecting soldier and watch as a furious dinosaur jumps on him - this was shown in a recent trailer. Other useful strategies can be employed. If you have to get past a group of guards and you happen to see a nest of dinosaur eggs, don't hesitate to fire a few rounds into them (just keep your distance). Usually, after this naughty cold-blooded act, an enraged carnivore should run out of its cave and take its aggravation out on nearby soldiers. Ouch!

Innocent herbivores roam the surroundings as well and albeit there aren't any immediate reasons for shooting them, you might want to scare them a bit with a couple of shots and force them to run amok, again, baffling enemy troops and taking them off your back.

Apparently, this is just a small number of ways to get rid of enemies stealthily. For more aggressive moves, you get to use many different firearms such as fragmentation grenades, shotguns, machine guns, mini-guns, flamethrowers, knives and the trademark bow and arrows. The flamethrower should be a particularly fine addition to your arsenal. Its primary function releases a devastating wave of flames, while the secondary attack launches incendiary grenades. There's also a stick bomb gun used to plant explosives that detonates upon enemy contact. It's a standard choice of weaponry more or less, but it should allow for solid variety of combat tactics, flavored with traditional FPS fun.

The bow and arrows are good for weakening foes, but there are a number of factors to consider. When firing arrows by rapidly tapping the trigger on the gamepad, they'll travel slowly and will deal insufficient damage. To increase damage and give more power to the shot, you need to hold down the button for a while longer. At the same time, holding the button too long affects aiming and you'll see the main character's hands shaking.

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