LOS ANGELES--Today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Buena Vista Games took us behind closed doors to take a look at Turok, its upcoming continuation of the comic-book-based franchise that's been around on multiple systems for almost 10 years now. Although it made its biggest impact with multiple Nintendo 64 titles, Turok for next-gen systems appears to be heading only to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
This new Turok is being developed by Propaganda Games, and they seem to be intent on taking Turok in a new direction. The game revolves around the titular Joseph Turok, a former black operations soldier who's drafted back into the service to take down his former mentor, one Roland Cain, who's apparently gone rogue with his own band of soldiers and is wanted for war crimes. After taking off in a spaceship to head to the planet where they believe Cain is based, they're shot down as they attempt to land, resulting in their being stranded on the planet, as they're hunted down both by Cain's soldiers and the native...wait for it...dinosaurs.
The combat in Turok lets the player choose either stealth or action alternatives. The stealth options include knife and bow attacks. We got a chance to see one of the knife attacks, which involved Turok stalking up behind one of his humanoid enemies. When he was in range, the viewpoint shifted from first to third person for a moment, which gave us a quick glimpse of Turok as he kicked the soldier in the back of the knee, which bent him backward while Turok stabbed him in the face. An impressive and bloody display to be sure, but then again, most games could be improved by judicious face-stabbing. The bow attack is a bit quieter than gunfire, but you'll have to hold down the attack button for a few seconds for maximum power on your shots. If you do so, though, you'll be rewarded by having your target propelled backward and getting impaled on the surface behind him, a la the Stakegun in Painkiller.
Of course, there's also going to be a full array of weapons and vehicles at your disposal in Turok, although we were only able to see a few basic varieties of these, such as the pistol and machine gun.
In addition to the weapons, the environment in Turok appears to be at least partially destructible, as we saw when some of the soldier foes happened to hide behind tree stumps. After shooting these stumps, chips of wood flew off of them, letting Turok gradually destroy their cover and free up a line of fire.
During the demo we were shown, one of the obviously impressive moments was the appearance of the lizard antagonists that we imagine will play a large role in the game. Although most of your enemies in the game are indeed humans, dinosaurs are present in the title as neutral enemies, meaning that they'll either attack you or your foes, presumably based on whom they detect first. During one of the large firefights at the end of the demo, Turok had finished off most of his foes, only to be startled during mop-up by the appearance of a raptorlike enemy that launched out from the underbrush and clasped his foe's head right in his jaws. The dinosaurs are definitely tougher than the humanoid enemies, and the raptors aren't the end of it; at the very end of the demo, a huge Tyrannosaurus crashed out from cover and bit one of the raptors in two. Although it was content to eat its meal in silence, Turok managed to lure it back toward Cain's soldiers with a well-placed bow shot, which resulted in the quick and bloody demise of a few of Turok's enemies.
Although Turok is over a year away at this point (which is as specific as Buena Vista is getting at this point), it still looks impressive. The combination of stealth and action in a jungle setting isn't exactly new ground, as anyone who's played one of the Far Cry games will tell you, but hey--it's got some of the most beautiful dinosaurs we've yet seen in a game, and that's got to be worth something. We'll obviously bring more details on Turok as they become available, so stay tuned to GameSpot.