Turok - hands-on

Lush jungles and bloody stabbings combine in what could be the best dinosaur hunt in years

While they're easily massacred by dinosaurs, the soldiers you'll fight are far from being pushovers. A quick throat-slash or arrow to the head can take them down, but if you find yourself trading shots with them, be ready for an intense firefight. See, unlike just about every videogame villain ever, the stormtrooper armor your enemies wear actually does something, enabling them to soak up multiple headshots and get back up after being hit by a shotgun blast or grenade shrapnel. They'll also use group tactics to take you down, and while they're far from brilliant, their toughness and numbers partly make up for their habit of running out into the open to shoot at you.

Luckily, you're well-equipped to take care of the bastards. Your shotgun deals out a ton of damage, especially up close, and Turok can dual-wield the submachineguns he finds on enemy corpses. Even better, a little snooping around the demo stage revealed a semi-hidden railgun, which - with its secondary-fire grenade launcher - was pretty much all the firepower we needed. Although using the bow to snipe at faraway enemies was still a lot of fun.

The opening level's later firefights were also the point when our computer-controlled buddies decided to come out of hiding and contribute something to the battle. Ineffectual both at drawing fire and dishing it out, they weren't much help, but it was nice to have them around to distract the bad guys while we dove behind cover to rest and regenerate after repeated headshots turned our vision red and blurry (indicating we were near death, obviously).

While our time with the game was short, it's immediately clear that - in spite of the craptastic sequels that ran the franchise into the ground - the new Turok is no longer something serious gamers can scoff at. It looks stunning, it's intensely visceral and - unsurprisingly - being able to stab dinosaurs in the head is a lot of fun. The game is only a few months away as of this writing, so we expect to be finding out soon whether or not Turok can keep up the same level of kickass action past its opening stages.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.

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