Review: Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion

Review: Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion

Oh boy! Here we go! Find out why I think Turok 3 is most disappointing thing since my non-existent son!

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Year: 2000

Played on: N64

Developer: Acclaim Studios Austin

Publisher: Acclaim

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Half-Life killed the Dinosaur Hunting Star

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Date posted: November 19, 2020

Amazon.com: Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion: Nintendo 64: Video Games

PREMISE

Yet again, the question is asked. After destroying an ancient alien overlord and blowing up his lightship, where does Turok go from here? Well, if you have been paying attention in Turok 2, there was a mysterious threat you encountered who seemed to be working with a being only known as Oblivion. To my knowledge, this threat was actually built up in the comic books, but once again, the lore is just too deep. All you need to know is that things are about to get F–KED in the Turok universe- and in more ways then just the plot!

Straight off the heels of Turok 2 (and the vastly underrated Shadow Man, I might add) Acclaim still wanted more of that money. I don’t think I need to tell you that Turok 2 was yet another huge hit for the company- they would definitely be around for a while (cough cough…..). However, another game came out the same year as Turok 2… a very obscure indie title you may have heard of…. I’m talking out my ass…. It’s mother f–king Half Life! Yes, Half Life came and just changed the way FPS games were made, and even played. No longer would the genre be relegated to be called Doom or Quake clones, as HL brought a narrative structure to table that, at the time, just sent shockwaves though the video game industry. Many a dev quickly stopped making games like Quake and started to make them more like Half Life…. and sadly, that includes our old buddy Turok as well….yeah….

I’m just going to get it out of the way here. Turok 3 isn’t a bad game- far from it, in fact. Much worse FPS games on the N64…but my god. You know that little blurb at the top of this review? “Half Life killed the Dinosaur Hunting Star?” Yeah, I mean it…. This game wears it’s new found HL influence on it’s sleeve, and there in, starts to lose it’s identity as a franchise….Let me explain.

So yeah… the story…isn’t too bad, actually. Starts off with Joshua Fireseed, (The Turok from Turok 2) having a bad dream about “the child”. Then, afterwards, *spoilers*, he is killed by a few of Oblivion’s henchman. That’s right- Oblivion is real, and he intends on pretty much destroying the Turok bloodline for good!

In his steed, two of his clan take his place- Danielle and Joseph Fireseed, who were there to see their uncle mercilessly slaughtered before them, only to be rescued by Adon (who looks completely different, as he design changed in the comics proper). Both now hold mantle of Turok, and must stop Oblivion from ravaging the world!

Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion (2000) promotional art - MobyGames
That’s right! A female version of a male character YEARS before everyone and their mother started doing it…TAKE THAT, HOLLYWOOD/ COMIC INDUSTRY!

PROS

Unlike the last two entries, you can now select between two new characters- Joseph, who can use night vision goggles and use a sniper rifle, and Danielle, who has this cool grappling hook, and can use the best weapons in the game. Upon completing the game with both, you can play as Joshua somehow, who can pretty much use all the weapons. Both of the newblood’s campaign are practically identical, with some branching paths here and there, but Danielle is clearly superior weapons wise. This is actually appreciated, even though the levels them self are super linear…. (See CONS section)

That’s to say, they aren’t too terrible. The first level has you fighting though an actual city on Earth, marking the first time a Turok game has ventured out from the Lost Lands. It’s very reminiscent of Perfect Dark or Deus Ex, which were also coming out around the same time. And it looks pretty good, all things considered. Each level is pretty varied to be honest- you go from climbing around buildings to sneaking though a museum and then into a subway tunnel. That’s just the first level, too! Later levels will have you fighting though an military base before entering the Lost Lands once more, where you will find a call back to Turok 1, as well as a volcanic underground section before heading off to Oblivion’s base to uncover the truth that awaits you…. All in all, a decent mixed bag of settings, despite, you know, the lack of exploration….

This variety of levels also helps out in the enemy department, as you will be fighting new threats all the time. You start by fighting these admittedly cool looking mutated monsters in the city before fighting actual military personnel, and other strange abominations that look they were ripped from some forgotten horror movie from the 80’s. Oh, and you do eventually fight dinosaurs (at least, for little bit) in the lost lands, before facing nothing but Oblivion’s henchmen from the Nuke weapon arenas in Turok 2. There’s also bosses, which are, well…. good!

N64 | Turok 3 Shadow of Oblivion
The monster designs are pretty cool, though I might prefer dinos instead

I think my favorite part of the game were the actual boss fights, in which each level ends with. You got some weird eldritch abominations for to finish off each level, and these include a weird vehicle that has grown tentacles, a giant squid/crab looking thing, some tribal dude who can’t be killed by traditional means, and a lava monster. You also face Oblivion himself, which leads to an entertaining chase to the real final boss….. Joshua Fireseed himself. It’s pretty epic too, playing out like an intense multiplayer match. It’s the best part of the game, in my opinion!

Turok 3: Almost All Bosses - YouTube
Also, there’s this thing. I have no idea what it is, but it needs to die!

The linearity helps it some ways. You actually know where you’re going, for one! Back on the N64, you would constantly be left hanging because of the rather obtuse save feature (something remedied in the Nightdive remasters I won’t shut up about) but now, the checkpoints are much more forgiving. I just prefer the maze like levels of the original games. I know it sounds weird, but I like being lost in my games… helps with immersion. Just my opinion, though.

The weapons are…just okay, this time around. Like I said , Danielle has the best weapons, while Josephs…. eh, get the job done. The Cerebral Bore returns, and it works as intended…. but there isn’t really anything too great. There’s also a hidden weapon that can be used against Oblivion himself, but it’s pretty “eh”. Like the game itself, the weapons are just…. eh. Okay.

The game also has a multiplayer component, and looky here, you can play against bots! Pretty competent ones, too! There are a LOT of stages to play though… hell, this cart actually might be worth it just for this, really!

CONS

No more exploration, it seems. Just go here and kill enemies. Like I said above, the new environments are varied and have their moments… but god, I already miss the almost non-linear maze like levels. I want to be lost in a game, not be sent on Turok themed theme park attraction! Turok Evolution would, sadly, follow suit, being just as linear (but much more crazy, difficult and insane. I was going to include it in this event, but the game is just too long and too hard to complete! Evolution truly is an enigma!)

A note plot wise- it ends on a weird cliffhanger with the introduction of what looks to be an evil version of Adon…..don’t know what they were thinking for a Turok 4 (Evolution was actually a prequel to the first game instead, and the 2007 game just made up it’s own story unrelated to anything) I know the series isn’t as lore heavy as the comics, but I think the Turok games deserved a better send off…

Again, i have to bring up the obvious Half Life influence. In imitating HL, Turok 3 also inherited it’s flaws as well, as, yeah, I’m just going to say it- Half Life isn’t a perfect game. You see, the first two Turok games had their own identity, and identity in games is very important- it’s something I think a lot of companies often forget about. If you have ever seen a bad reboot of a game, or a bad sequel (which I don’t think 3 is, by the way) its most likely because the devs forgot what their game is all about, and I feel like that is exactly happened with Turok 3- the devs chased a trend, and I think the series suffered from it. You got to be you, at the end of the day- being like someone else isn’t going to make you more fulfilled….

Also, the game has yet to be re-released in any shape or form. Your only option “legally” is to buy the cartridge, which goes for about $20 to $30 last I checked…. compare that to the Turok remasters, which go on sale for $10 in under, and it’s a pretty hard sale, from me. That money could go to said remasters, or something like Doom 64 (another game that got a GREAT remaster recently). Hopefully, Nightdive works their magic on a remastered PC port… but only time will tell.

You can also emulate it, and even add mouse controls if you fiddle around with it. Seems to work fine, you know for an N64 game. Which will we get first- a new Turok game/remaster, or perfect N64 emulation? PLACE YOUR BETS!

FINAL VERDICT

Like I said- at the end of the day, I don’t hate Turok 3. I just miss the style of the first two games. There is some good stuff here, with the boss fights and some of the levels, but overall, I can’t feel as if they game as a whole is a huge step back. Being tied down to a collector’s worse nightmare (the N64 market is just…no) and I can only recommend the game to those curious of what became of Turok after 2. If you can get the cart for cheap, have a go, or just emulate it and hope Nightdive remasters it……

Sadly, Turok would continue to tumble from here. Evolution, like I said above, is somewhat of a beautiful disaster, and I actually hope Nightdive remasters it someday. As for Turok 3, I’m fine with just the N64 version- not sure if anything warrants a Remaster. Only time will tell.

As for Turok as a whole, I like many people wanted a proper sequel. The 2007 game was simply too modern and got rid of the mythos from the OG Acclaim, which is a dirty down right shame. I have ideas… imagine a Turok game, adapted from the 90’s comics, that had full on Metroidvaina elements….. maybe open worldish? A man can dream…. A man can dream…..

As for me, I think my next project will be a tier list of all the licensed garbage on the GBA. Do you know how much shovelware is on that thing?YOU. JUST. DON’T. KNOW. Hopefully, I find some hidden gems….. SEE YA!

Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!

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