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Name: Turok: Rage Wars
Format: Nintendo 64
Developer: Acclaim studios Austin
Publisher: Acclaim
Year: 1999

After the release of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, which was cleverly timed so that it came out when N64 owners had all just bought GoldenEye 007 and were all waiting for Perfect Dark, Acclaim sat back and relaxed while the FPS starved masses bought it in droves. But due to Rare's 3D Realms style Done When It's Done approach, and due to the fact that Nintendo recognised that PD could be one of the games of the decade, they let the game slip for as long as was needed. The game's release date was pushed back, then back some more, then back... And it came to the notice of Acclaim that they had enough time to develop another Turok game and get it released before Perfect Dark came along to spoil the party. So they did.

This was the result. It essentially took the slightly sketchy multiplayer game from Turok 2 and then made a full game out of it. There was multiplayer for up to four players, in a similar style to GoldenEye. There was also a single player or co operative campaign mode featuring, for the first time ever on the N64, bot matches. Previously only seen on the PC in Unreal Tournament and Quake III: Arena, this must have required a bit of nifty programming to get working right. Unfortunately, compared to the technological advances in Perfect Dark, it seemed like nothing - while T:RW allowed four characters at once (which could be any combination of bots and humans, but this meant with four players, no bots could be used. Perfect Dark allowed a maximum of 4 human players and 8 bots at once.

However, it must be said that PD did take aeons longer to develop. Acclaim did a good job with this game, and it provided a good stop gap until PD came along. There were a good selection of characters, but only 4 were available at the start to choose from in multiplayer. The others all had to be unlocked through the single player Trial mode - a linear slog through loads of maps, in which the objective was usually "Get x kills / Tags / Flags". The kills are self explanatory enough if you have played any deathmatch games of this type, but the other may require explaining. Frag Tag involved maps which had two "gates" set up. One of the players involve magically became a Monkey (which meant no weapons or armour, and only about 30 health - normal was 100) and then they had to make their way to the gate that was activated (it would have magic blue lightTM pouring out of it) without getting killed by everyone else. If they got there, then someone else would become the Monkey. If they got killed on the way, then the killer notches up one Tag, and the person respawns again as the Monkey. This could be quite a fun mode, but some maps weren't too good, which lead to easy kills for everyone, and one player staying as the Monkey for ages.

Capture the Flag was a little different to how it is in Unreal Tournament - instead of two bases and two flags, there is one capture point and one flag - you simply have to get to the flag spawn point, pick it up, and take it to the capture point. There will be no doub a whole load of players in the way, shooting you, but then you will need to emply dodging madskillz. Alternatively, play as a team - all the game modes except Frag Tag can be played as teams, either with bots or just with human players. This will give you some much needed support when making a flag run.

The weapons that the game provides to blast your enemies with are mostly stolen from either Turok 1 or Turok 2. The usual favourites like the Mag 60 (high power pistol), Tek Bow (although it's nothing like the Tek Bow from Turok 2) and the Cerebral bore (but only as a one off pick up weapon) return, along with some new joys like the Boomerang (that can put your enemies in Slow Time - notably, this Matrix style slow down appeared years before Max Payne hit town...), the Chest Burster (Alien style embryo thrills) and the Emaciator (makes your enemies thinner and thinner until they wither away..) also appear. With a few exceptions, no weapons are found on the map - in a multiplayer game you get to choose your weapons before the match starts - you can choose 2 bullet based weapons, 2 energy based weapons, and 1 explosive weapon, along with the default Warhammer which everyone gets. It is, unsurprisingly, crap. In the single player game, characters start off with very few weapons, and gain more as rewards for beating certain levels. For example, beating Bastille on Turok's third level earns our boy a Scorpion rocket launcher to play with.

The game makes use of the Rumble Pak for gun recoil effect, the Controller Pak to save trials in progress (one is needed to save the characters that you earn from beating a Trial; there is no on cart save) and the Expansion Pak for lovely high resolution visuals. Luckily, the frame rate issues from Turok 2's multiplayer had been resolved, and the game played fine.

The maps the game featured were in some cases a little small, especially compared with the N64 version of Quake II that had just been released. However, this kept the action fast and furious, which was overall A Good Thing.

Overall, this game, while not the best thing ever, is a reasonable laugh if played with friends. The multiplayer is the focus - single player will lead to you getting bored very quickly. But as long as you have 4 controllers, 3 friends, and a big TV, you're in for some top times. The game can probably be found at a local bargain bin, or if not, is available through emulators on the Internet. The chances of it running at a decent speed are very, very small, mind, and getting it to run 4 players will be difficult. Your best bet is an original copy. And the copy I have? I'm keeping it, bitch...


yerricde says "3D realms style? Shouldn't it be more like Blizzard style? I am not completely sure Did Not Finish will ever be released" - he's probably right you know.


Sources:

Owning a copy of the game.
Instruction Manual.

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