E3 06: Turok is back!

We've seen nothing of bloody dino-shooting game Turok since 2002's Turok Evolution - until today.

The T-rex-bothering series was recently picked up by Buena Vista Games and the company's Propaganda studio is currently developing both Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of an entirely new 'Rok. Even though it's over a year away from release, we've just been given behind-closed-doors access to the 360 version of the game at Buena Vista's E3 stand.

Players take on the role of the heavily-armed and, indeed, heavily-muscled Joseph Turok, who's inadvertently managed to find himself trapped in the middle of a dinosaur-infested jungle. Always the way, isn't it?

Aside from packing the usual array of gun-based first-person-shooter weapons, our man Joseph is also equipped with the classic Turok bow and knife. Indeed, one memorable moment from the demo sees Joseph caught in the process of being chewed to death by a dino, while vainly attempting to stab said beast in the face with his blade.

It makes for a satisfyingly gruesome scene. But the dinosaurs of the game are - unlike their real-life counterparts - supposedly intelligent creatures that can even be lured to attack your other, human enemies.

Although quite how much time you'll have for luring remains questionable - the action looks to be relentlessly intense, while the endless explosions are pleasingly large.

In addition to evading Jurassic Park's finest on foot, you'll also have access to a variety of different vehicles, although this aspect of the Unreal Engine 3-powered game wasn't evident in the presentation we saw.

The storyline itself is completely new and independent of the narratives of any previous Turoks. To that end, the game will - we're told - be released simply as Turok, with no subtitle. As for when you'll be able to get your hands on it, Turok is "over a year away" from release, although we are expecting it before the end of 2007.

When Turok debuted on N64, it was an imaginative, fresh and compelling take on console shootery. Whether we'll be able to say the same thing about Turok's next-gen incarnation remains to be seen, based on how little of it has been shown thus far. We remain quietly optimistic.

May 11, 2006