Turok 3: Shadows Of Oblivion Review

I have a little bit of a special history with the Turok games as the first two were some of the earliest games I reviewed when I used to work at an online radio station called The Cove Radio. I knew there was a third game from old Nintendo Power articles but, at the time, there was no way to play the game outside of buying a used copy for the N64 or emulating it. However, thanks to the wizards at NightDive Studios, the game has been fully remastered and is available on all next-gen consoles and, for the first time, PC. Was it worth the wait? Well, outside of a few issues I have, this is honestly my favorite of the trilogy*.

Firstly, and this is one of my main complaints I have, the story was just OK and a little disappointing as well. Taking place after Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil, Joshua, the main character of that game, is killed in the opening cutscene and Adon, who looks completely different from her previous entry, rescues Danille, his sister, and Joseph, his brother, who are now tasked with stopping Oblivion once and for all. I’ll get to more why I was disappointed later, but what I’ll say now is that I felt the story had some decent ideas but I really didn’t feel that engaged in the story. Yes, the first two games didn’t really have a story to speak of, per se, but I still felt engaged as the worldbuilding itself was strong. Here, though, it just feels like it’s trying to come up with a darker story for the sake of being darker (as that seems to be the case with many third entries) and fails in pulling it off. What really doesn’t help is that the ending teases a Turok 4, but, seeing as the next game was a prequel and there is no news of a new Turok game anywhere, this just ends up being a somewhat un-satisfying conclusion and, at the same time, a somewhat weak story. Who knows, maybe we’ll finally see a new entry sometime. I mean, if Bubsy and Gex can make a return, why not Turok?

Turok3 Raptor2

Though the story’s weak, the gameplay is still as strong as ever. I personally feel that the gameplay of Turok 3 takes the best elements of the previous entries, while ignoring the worst parts of those games. For one, there’s no more platforming, save for a few jumps here and there but nothing like you’d see in the first two. This is a good thing as I didn’t care for those sections in the previous games, especially the first one, what with the somewhat small FOV (even when cranked to 90). There are still some jumping sections, but these mostly are just there to get extra life points, which are floating yellow diamonds that, once you collect 100, you get a boost to your HP. Yes, the game doesn’t use a live system any more and, instead, uses a simple HP system, which on the one hand is a nice change but, on the other hand? I actually didn’t mind the live system from the previous game so it is a bit of a disappointment that it’s not here. The biggest improvement, I feel, is to the levels. No longer are they the huge, sprawling maze-like levels from Seeds Of Evil where you’d have to restart a level countless number of times, just because you missed an objective cause you couldn’t find the area you needed to be (I’m looking at you, Lair Of The Blind Ones). No, these are simple linear levels like the first game with only the occasional backtracking to complete an objective. This is a good thing.

Turok3 FightThis carries over to the characters and weapon selection, which I, again, I feel is where Turok 3 excels over the first two games. From the outset, you have the choice between two characters, Danielle or Joseph, and each one offers a unique element to their gameplay. Starting with Joseph, as that’s how I actually played through the game first, as he is smaller, he can fit through tighter spaces and get access to a pair of night-vision goggles (which act more like infrared goggles but whatever). Danielle, on the other hand, is taller (which actually is represented in the viewmodel as well, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a FPS), but can get access to a disappointing grappling hook and can jump higher. I say ‘disappointing grappling hook’ as you can only grapple to select targets and there were very few areas to use the hook, so it ended up just taking up space in the inventory. This brings me to the weapon selection and, I gotta say, this is my favorite selection of weapons in the entire trilogy. Outside of the main selection, consisting of a bow, pistol, shotgun, and assault rifle, each character also gets unique weapons to use. For example, Joseph gets access to a crossbow and sniper rifle while Danille, being stronger, gets to use a RPG and probably the best minigun in any game in a long while. Seriously, this thing shreds through enemy’s HP and I ended up using it alot, when I had the ammo since it does chew it like a T-Rex at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Don’t worry, in case you were wondering, yes, the Cerebral Bore returns, but this time in three flavors. Along with the fan-favorite from the second game, Joseph gets a unique version that enables you to control the enemy before it detonates while Danille’s version simply attaches to the enemy then detonates after a few seconds. This game also features a BFG of sorts called the PSG (Personal Singularity Generator), that sorta reminds me of the Dark Matter gun from Quake 4, though in order to use this gun, you need to find the four parts for it in four levels, which are surprisingly easy to find, unlike the Chronosceptor from the first game. However, there is one gun I need to bring up as it sorta confused me at first: The Vampire Gun. At first, all it did was take some health away from me whenever I fired it and it didn’t do any damage to the enemies, so I thought that maybe this was a joke gun. No, in actuality, how it works is you have to get it close to an enemy and fire it. Then you hold the trigger and it saps the enemy’s lifeforce and returns it to you. Compared to the other weapons in the game, this is one I barely used as it requires you to get up close and, with how health is pretty easy to come by and how easy it is to avoid a lot of the attacks, this, like the grappling hook before it, really just takes up space.

However, this leads me to my main issue with the game: The length. There’s only five levels and, though they are long, they feel surprisingly pretty short. Imagine my surprise when I found myself at the final level after installing the game on the same day. Hear me out, a short game isn’t necessarily a bad thing as there are many good games with short campaigns, but Turok 3’s is, I feel, too short, even if you go out of your way to find the secrets and PSG parts. However, it is worth beating the game twice as you get two pretty cool unlocks, the first being Joshua Fireseed, the star of Turok 2, and he’s able to use all the weapons in the game and both the grappling hook and night vision, along with being able to crawl through tight spaces and jump higher. But, there is one unlock that not only took me by surprise but was one I had no idea about. Once you beat the game on any difficulty, you can unlock a Raptor to play as. Yes, a fast moving, high jumping raptor! Imagine the smile I had when I saw that! Granted, he’s limited to a small handful of weapons, like the Cerebral Bore and Grenade Launcher, but the fact that you can play as a dinosaur IN first person? That alone gets a +10 from me! Heck, it makes me yearn for a proper Dinosaur FPS (that isn’t Dino D-Day)!

Turok3 Raptor

Though the story was weak and the game is pretty short, I honestly say this is my favorite entry in the Turok N64 trilogy*, surpassing the first game by a mile. Would I have liked a longer story and a more satisfying conclusion? Admittedly, yes, but what’s on offer is still satisfying enough.

Turok3 Scores

*There is a fourth N64 game, Turok: Rage War, but seeing as that was multiplayer only, is considered non-canon, and I don’t see a remastering happening any time soon, I don’t really count it as part of the series.

DJ MetalWolf
Author: DJ MetalWolf
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Wolf who loves Heavy metal and video games! My Throne -
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