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Turok - hands-on

If you count yourself as a fan of the original, beloved N64 Turok games, there's something you should know: the new Turok throws all the mythology from the earlier games and comics out the window. Instead of an American Indian who lives in a timewarp and fights dinosaurs with ultra-futuristic weaponry, you'll play as special-forces commando Joseph Turok in an adventure set 200 years in the future.

While on the trail of his former mentor - who's gone rogue - Turok and pals track him to a savage alien world populated with dinosaurs, where their spaceship crash-lands. The Xbox 360 demo we played began shortly after the crash, as Turok was charged with clearing a path for his grimacing, computer-controlled sidekicks. Things started off pretty calm, giving us a moment to take in the landscape. Turok's setting is impressively lush, with realistically moving foliage and tall grass, and a few people in the room with us us when we played it went so far as to compare it to Crysis.

In the distance, we could see a few heavily armored enemy soldiers investigating Turok's smoldering crash site, and a couple of them were marching through the tall grass toward us. Right off the bat, we had several ways of tackling the situation; we could charge them with guns blazing, which would be stupid. Alternately, we could duck down through the tall grass, sneak up behind the bad guys and slit their throats with Turok's hunting knife, or - for an alternate stealthy approach - use his bow to take them down from a distance.

Then there's the fun option, which involves roping in help from a pack of easily angered velociraptors scavenging on a nearby cliff. Turok's shotgun can fire flares as an alternate function, and while this might seem useless, few things apparently piss off dinosaurs like flares. Firing one into the midst of the enemies made the dinos charge, and during the ensuing carnage it was easy to creep through the neck-high grass and take out the fleeing stragglers.

Unfortunately, the grass also gave the raptors a hiding place, and once they'd finished chewing their way through the bad guys, they came after Turok. Again, we had a couple of options for dealing with the situation. The first involved retreating to higher, clearer ground and picking off the raptors with shotgun blasts and submachinegun fire. This takes a while, as dinosaurs are remarkably tough. A more fun - if challenging - solution was to run straight at them with Turok's knife drawn; if you can time the strike just right, he'll either get them in a headlock and slit their throats, or just stab them in the head, both of which are incredibly visceral and spray blood all over the place.

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