The Turok series was very popular in the late 90s. In fact, it was seen as an example of how first-person shooters, then a PC only genre, could be translated well to consoles. The pinnacle of the series, however, tends to be the second game in the franchise, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Yet, despite the game's popularity, Turok 2 has failed to hold up as time has passed. And as it stands, many first-person shooters for the Nintendo 64 are not as fondly looked at anymore -- except for Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. So, why exactly does Turok 2 fail to hold up? It's a mixture of the game's awkward controls, copious amounts of fog used to mask the game loading in assets, and the generally poor performance of most video games.
So the demand for a remaster of Turok was never truly high. However, with the strength of modern platforms, could it be that a remaster is exactly what this game needed? With better controls and stronger hardware, can the game hold up based on its design and gameplay? Let's find out and compare the original version of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil with its remastered counterpart.
Turok 2 on the Nintendo 64
To begin, let's revisit the original Turok 2: Seeds of Evil on the Nintendo 64. I happen to own an original copy so, in preparation for this article, I revisited the first level of the game. I should also preference that Turok 2 on the N64 supports the expansion pak and it plays the game at a higher resolution. However, I do not own an expansion pak so I won't be taking advantage of that, although, I have heard that the higher resolution just tanks the frame rate so it perhaps it was for the best in the end.
Upon starting the campaign and getting past the opening cutscene, the game starts with a bang. Literally. An explosion happens and it cuts the frame rate down to single digits. That's indicative of the pending experience and the problems that I described before they come out in full force. Certain sections of the level consistently run at horrible framerates, making combat very difficult. Like many FPS games at the time, some exploration is required as you look for various keys to open sections of the level. Unfortunately, though, the abundance of fog makes exploring a chore and backtracking an exasperating pain in the neck. Even still, the controls are maybe the most damning thing as moving and shooting with Turok never feels natural and I never got used to it.
Turok 2 on the PC
Full disclosure: As I don't own an Xbox One or a Nintendo Switch, I opted to try out Turok 2 Remastered on my PC. I should note, though, that my PC is on the older side, so hypothetically, these impressions should apply to the Xbox One and Switch versions as well.
Loading up Turok 2 Remastered and starting the first level is like a breath of fresh air. The explosion happens and the game remains at a rock-solid 60fps. The controls feel precise and responsive as you run around shooting and exploring. That's also another change: the game runs not just cleaner but faster. The game now feels like a PC FPS game at the time, such as Quake II or Duke Nukem 3D. More importantly, the fog is completely gone -- you can clearly see in front of you as you move about. Exploring these worlds, as sparse as they can be, is thoroughly enjoyable now.
Does Turok 2 Hold Up?
Now that technical issues are no longer holding Turok 2 back, I can decide on whether the game is fun based on its design and gameplay. The first level was well designed, with secrets to find and multiple pathways, without feeling overly big or confusing to navigate. The game comes with a wireframe map -- which isn't very good -- but you don't truly need to make use of it. The levels are designed well enough that landmarks are easily identified and players quickly managed to learn the lay of the land.
And if that's not enough, the remastered version of the game gives you waypoints for you to see when you're near something important. The biggest surprise, however, is how much I came to enjoy an aspect I hadn't considered before -- the use of the game's guns. Now that they no longer tank the game's performance, I can appreciate the guns within the game.
Turok 2 has some incredible guns, with creative designs and fantastical effects. While there are plenty of noteworthy parts of the remaster, the weapons are reason alone to give this edition a chance.
Sometimes the games you think are a waste of time to remaster are the ones that can benefit the most from it. No one was demanding a Turok Remastered Edition. Most were content with leaving the series in the past and moving on to something else. However, Turok 2 is a title you should give some time to -- especially if you're a fan of late 90s shooters such as Unreal and Half-Life. This remaster gives a new lease on this game's life and it is more enjoyable than you may think.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil Remastered is available now on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.