Turok: Evolution is a first-person shooter video game developed by Acclaim Studios Austin and published by Acclaim Entertainment for the Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube in 2002. A port for Microsoft Windows was released in 2003 for the European market. It is the first game in the series to not be released on the Nintendo 64, and one of a number of high-profile failures that ultimately lead to the death of Acclaim.
The game is a prequel to the first game and covers how Joshua Fireseed's old West era ancestor Tal'Set became the first Turok. He ends up in the Lost Land after falling off a cliff into a portal while grappling with his mostly-absent nemesis Tobias Bruckner, an evil frontiersman who just slaughtered his tribe due to the aforementioned fact that he is evil.
Why It Sucks
- Bad advertising campaign: Acclaim offered $13,000 for someone who named their newborn baby Turok in the United States. In the United Kingdom though, Acclaim offered £1,000 and a new Xbox console for someone who legally changed their name to Turok.
- Many bugs and glitches.
- Many framerate drops (especially on the PC port).
- Outdated and ugly graphics (The PS2 port being the worst). The weapon models in particular don't even look as good as those in the N64 games: they are extremely blocky, and have textures so blurred and grimy that it's like you're looking at them with your eyes mostly shut.
- Barren and lifeless levels mostly consisting of corridors surrounded by unclimbable grey rock walls, with the occasional big room with nothing much in it.
- The default axe-club-thing just looks like a big blob with spikes on it.
- Most weapons are just straight copies from prior installments, sometimes with the functions mixed and matched a little. Some weapons from previous titles, like the Assault Rifle, Plasma Rifle and Charge Shot Rifle, are missing.
- The entire screen flashes white whenever you pick up any item.
- Rather dull gore system compared to previous games, particularly Turok 2.
- Uninteresting story and plot. The plot also tends to take long holidays from actually appearing, leaving you struggling to remember where you're going or why.
- Tal'Set is only actually Turok for about 30 seconds during the course of the game, and this happens during the ending cutscene. One would think he'd at least become Turok in order to gain some powers to face the final boss or something.
- Terrible controls and joypad aim that really only has "stiff" and "floaty" settings.
- Badly-designed Panzer Dragoon knockoff rail-shooter interludes riding an unresponsive Quetzalcoatlus that moves too fast and dies if it scrapes a wall.
- Stupid AI that has a tendency to walk sideways a lot.
- To make things even better, this same stupid AI is used for the escort mission. Oh yes, there's one of those.
- Little soundtrack, mostly consisting of very subdued background ambience. The few proper tracks that actually exist feel very generic.
- Unpleasant, anaemic or just plain weird sound effects. The explosions in particular are muffled in a very strange way, like they were recorded using a microphone in a different room.
- The Sleg speak in really stupid monster voices.
- Checkpoints are very scarce and too far one from another.
- In addition, whenever there is a checkpoint, most versions of the game will have to stop completely for several seconds in order to save.
- Terrible stealth sections.
- The game randomly removes and returns weapons to your inventory between levels, leaving you with no idea if there's a point in saving ammo for the more powerful guns. The developers claimed this was done because some of the levels would be unbalanced with some of the weapons, or "because they had no idea what they were doing" if you prefer. Even the "all guns" cheat only gives the player all the guns allowed in the current level.
- The game's ultimate weapon (nuke ammo for the rocket launcher) only appears in one level in the game, and it's just a random one about two-thirds of the way through. The nuclear explosion effect isn't even very good.
- The game continues the series tradition of having surprisingly little to do with dinosaurs, instead mostly focusing on fighting some lizard-men called the Sleg.
- The final boss, Tobias Bruckner, is infamous for barely appearing in the game, and his habit of bugging out and either not moving at all or getting stuck on scenery while blowing himself up with his own weapons. In fact, until 2014 Electronic Gaming Monthly referred to their annual worst game award as the Tobias Bruckner Memorial Award.
- The aforementioned boss can also be killed instantly if the player makes a tree fall on him, because the developers forgot to give him an exception to the instant death this causes to normal enemies.
- The game is at least quite long, though it's questionable whether that's a good thing.
- The fantastic Mobile Turret upgrade to the 2016 Doom's chaingun is based on the minigun from this game, so at least it eventually led to something good happening.
- Lord Tyrannus is actually not named after Count Dooku from Attack of the Clones, since that movie only came out three months before Turok: Evolution. It is just an amazing coincidence.
- Very early preliminary work was done on a sequel by a small team, but this was cancelled in 2003 and the staff reassigned to other projects as it became clear just how dire Acclaim's financial situation was.
- There are lots of cut content that can be found in the game files, such as various wildlife. Perhaps if Acclaim didn't experience financial troubles and time constraints, the game could actually end up good.
- Originally the game's plot was going to be a direct follow-up to Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion, and would have focused around Adon trying to resurrect Joshua Fireseed. Due to the poorer than expected sales and reception of Shadow of Oblivion, the developers instead decided to produce a prequel to the first game.