Hands-On: Turok Rage Wars

We get our hands on the latest version of Rage Wars - arguably one of the finest multiplayer titles ever devised.

We recently got a chance to play a 75-percent-complete version of Rage Wars and to be honest we were quite impressed. Instead of pretending it's a single-player game, Rage Wars is set up much like your standard fighter. From the character-selection screens to the weapon rundown - all the configurations would be at home in a fighter package. Once you start the game, you're given a quick level fly-through, and then it's off to fragging.

Rage Wars features four different main game modes: multiplayer - the standard fare with more advanced options, such as team play or frag tag; cooperative - where players team up against a slew of enemies; scenario - a single player mission mode where players achieve objectives to unlock new features; and award - where excellent gameplay in the other modes allows players access to cooler hidden features.

The game looks great. All the textures are new, none of the characters have been recycled, and the levels are more focused on a multiplayer game. In addition to house favorites like Turok or Edon, there are also new characters, such as camp or the mites - a group of five mites who spit acid and suck faces.

Any deathmatch-style game is only as good as its weapons, and this game lives up to Turok's reputation for cool guns. All the favorites from the first two games - such as the grenade launcher, the shotgun, plasma rifle, assault rifle, mini-gun, and tek crossbow - all make a return for Rage Wars. New weapons such as the war hammer, emancipator, flare gun, inflator, iron claw, napalm gel, chest burster, boomerang, mag-60, teleporter-mine, and freezer keep the combat interesting. Instead of running around the level looking for guns, you start Rage Wars with five guns of your choosing. What you will have to pick up is ammo in the form of three different types - shells, energy, and explosive. In addition to shooting, all the weapons have a secondary function accessible by using the B button. For example: the minigun has a personal shield, the plasma rifle has a rapid-fire sniper mode, and the shotgun has a four-shell flurry.

The game's sound does very well to set the mood. All the music is composed by the same person responsible for the first two games' soundtracks and seems right at home in the Turok universe. Although the character sound effects - such as vocal groans, exclamations, and death sequences - weren't in the build we were playing, Acclaim promised us that they would be in the game.

What about people who want to play multiplayer and don't have three friends lying around? Well, you could always toss a few computer-controlled bots in the level for practice. The bots can be customized, from play styles to difficulties.

Rage Wars looks to be an excellent multiplayer deathmatch from the developers responsible for two of the best first-person shooters on the Nintendo 64. Expect to see it on shelves this Thanksgiving.

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