While the first Turok held a special place in my heart, I never really got to play the second game all that much. I always rented it from my local Blockbuster Video store, intimidated by that glossy black cartridge, but never got that far without the use of cheats. It’s now twenty years later and while Blockbuster Video is no more, I’m lucky enough to have spent almost too much time with Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Nightdive Studios have remastered the game fantastically, and I’ve come to realise that Turok 2 is an entirely different beast when compared to it’s predecessor. Thankfully, in this case, different most definitely means better (for the most part).
Turok 2 takes place some time after the events of the first game. Tal’Set has reassembled the Chronoscepter and thrown it into a volcano to ensure nobody can use it again. In doing so, he triggered a cataclysmic earthquake, awakening the Primagen, an ancient alien being that was imprisoned years ago. You play as Joshua Fireseed, a native American warrior who has inherited the title of Turok from his predecessors. It’s a basic story but it’s remarkable how much of a step up it is from the original game with fully voiced cutscenes that give the story of Seeds of Evil a much more cinematic feel.Drawing from its predecessor, Seeds of Evil is semi-open in its design. There’s less levels than in the original game but each is larger with more nooks and crannies to explore. The original game encouraged exploration too, but Seeds of Evil builds on this in almost every aspect. As you’d expect it’s also near impossible to collect everything on your first run through each level, as some are cordoned off behind certain pick-ups that are only found in later levels. Don’t worry, you can jump between levels as you wish.
As I mentioned in my review for the first game, this non-linear design has aged particularly well. You’ll come across things that you’ll remember to backtrack to after finding a new ability in a later level. And it makes sense too, given that a core selection of the team who originally worked on Turok 2 would eventually go on to work at Retro Studios and Metroid Prime. While not perfect in its execution, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil feels like a grittier homage to games like Metroid and it’s interesting to see how this non-linear design would eventually be refined and translated to games like Metroid Prime and its contemporaries.Thankfully the major issues I had with the original Turok are largely absent from Seeds of Evil. While Seeds of Evil features a greater emphasis on exploration and open level designs, it also features a lot less platforming segments than the original game. Thankfully, this means that most of the frustrating deaths I experienced in the original game weren’t as numerous in Seeds of Evil. The remaster has also added a few great features that help platforming and traversal feel smoother than ever – include a handy ledge grab.