Turok: Evolution update

Acclaim provides us with a demonstration of its upcoming multiplatform first-person shooter.

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Earlier today, representatives of Acclaim demonstrated the latest version of Turok: Evolution for us at a press event in San Francisco. Though the game is planned for a concurrent release on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube, only the Xbox version was shown.

This latest build of Turok: Evolution was said to be 60 percent complete. As you would imagine, there still remains a lot of work to be done on the game, such as setting a consistent frame rate, eliminating pop-up, and refining enemy AI routines, but there was much to see and be impressed by. Turok's world is said to be a fully interactive one, and we were able to see some evidence of that already. For instance, you can knock over trees with a hit from Turok's club, and they'll damage any opponents that are in their path. Additionally, the levels are not only populated with enemies, but also with birds, herbivores, and other noncombatants. (Although, if you get too close to a triceratops, it will turn from a noncombatant into a combatant very quickly.)

Though the enemy AI is far from complete, we were able to see enemies hide behind walls and overturn objects such as tables to duck behind them to avoid fire. Acclaim representatives described a situation where you might have to use a sniper shot on a tree to make it fall on an enemy who is camped out in a defensive position behind an object.

Most of the weapons in Turok: Evolution have two firing options. Changing the use of the weapon takes a few moments as the weapon cycles through a brief transformation animation (the more powerful the weapon, the longer the animation, apparently). Weapons shown in the game include a pistol that can be modified to use a sniper scope, a shotgun that can either fire one round or four at a time, a grenade launcher that can also shoot a heat-seeking missile, and a railgun that can be changed into a chain gun. Grenades also have two uses, as they can be tossed around corners or set like proximity mines. The much-loved cerebral bore from earlier Turok games wasn't shown in the version of Turok: Evolution that was seen today, but the game's producer has commented in the past that a new version of the weapon will be present in the game.

Firearms aside, you also have a number of different kinds of arrows at your disposal. Besides the standard fare, exploding arrows and poisonous arrows are available. We were told that when an enemy is shot with a poisonous arrow, he will pause for a moment, put a hand to his stomach, and begin puking before keeling over completely.

The only section of the game that we were able to play was an aerial level where you flew on the back of a pterradon. The section was similar to games such as 3DO's Dragon Rage in that you were allowed to move freely around the environment, instead of being stuck on a track as in Star Fox.

Lighting effects such as beams of light around tree leaves that move as the leaves are disturbed were described by Acclaim reps, but not seen at this time. Currently, only the immediate foreground is rendered in high resolution, but that could be subject to change. The default control scheme for the game is now much more similar to the scheme found in Halo than the schemes in previous Turok games, but--again--time will tell if that will be the case in the final product.

Turok: Evolution is planned for a September 3 release (on what Acclaim is once again calling "Turok Tuesday") for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. You can expect further hands-on impressions and new footage of the game over the coming weeks.

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