Bungie’s Halo or Rare’s GoldenEye are often thought of as the first games that truly delivered a technologically advanced, first-class FPS shooter to console platforms – but from my perspective, Iguana Entertainment’s Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for N64 may well have got there first. It’s a release that was well received at the time but as the years have slipped by, its reputation has slowly lost its lustre, with many suggesting that perhaps Turok was never that impressive or important in the first place.
It’s difficult to overstate the hype surrounding Nintendo 64 when it launched in 1996. Boasting 64-bit power and hardware capabilities unlike anything else on the market, it was an instant success. This success was due in no small part to the unrivaled quality of Super Mario 64 which – a release which redefined expectations for what a video game could be. The problem was, very few titles lanched on the system in its first year, resulting in a recurring hype cycle even around the most mediocre of releases.
Turok was far from mediocre though and the hype bordered on the insane, and it’s easy to see why. First-person shooters were exploding in popularity on the PC but remained relatively scarce on console platforms. Then there’s the violence – Turok delivers a level of carnage and violence at odds with the family-friendly reputation Nintendo had accrued over the years. The large selection of weapons and flying blood particles certainly helped elevate the game’s profile. And then there’s the technology: Turok was a genuine showpiece with a focus on pyrotechnics and fluid animation quite unlike anything else on the market – even on PC.
Source: Eurogamer DF Retro – how N64's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was years ahead of its time