| Turok

Normally, we here at Pocket Gamer think of hunting as a morally questionable pursuit, being avid lovers of all creatures great and small and all that. In the case of Turok the Dinosaur Hunter however, we are happy to endorse his hobby – if only because it just seems like a fairer fight.

Not to mention the fact that it makes for an exciting game concept; show us a gamer that doesn't relish the prospect of taking down a T-rex with a bow and arrow and we will show you someone who is impossible to please.

Turok is more than just a shooter fanatic's wet dream, though – it's a thoughtful and well-executed distillation of its big brother console version.

For those of you who don't follow such things, Turok is all about the muscle-bound man-tank Joseph Turok, the newest member of Whiskey Company, a team assembled to apprehend rogue soldier Roland Kane and bring him back to Earth. Typically, not all goes according to plan, and Whiskey Company's ship is shot down, scattering the team across a planet in the midst of a terraforming process, complete with muscle-for-hire goons and mutant dinosaurs. Oh, for an easy life.

You might expect the ensuing game to be pretty heavy on mindless blasting and pretty light on everything else. Refreshingly, Turok takes the high ground, delivering a measured sense of pace, depth and challenge.

Of particular note is the stealth element of gameplay. Rather than shoot holes in everything that moves, there's the option to hide in the shadows, popping out just in time to knife an enemy in the back. Similarly, using the bow and arrow draws much less attention than a shotgun, enabling you to pick off the enemies you can't avoid quietly, while creeping around the ones that you can.

Though this should in theory give you the element of choice, the stealth sections do feel a little enforced at times. Throughout the game the odds stacked against Turok are often near insurmountable and an all-guns-blazing approach will result in several untimely deaths and an irksome retread through the same section repeatedly. This means that for the first half of the game, before you have acquired any significant armament upgrades (there are three available for each of the five weapons), it is absolutely necessary to take the stealth option nine times out of ten.

It would be easy to chide Living Mobile for being so draconian in enforcing this element of gameplay, but once you get beyond the idea of pumping lead into everything that moves (which is somewhat encouraged by the limitless ammo that the guns carry) the stealth approach proves to be much more fun anyway.

Making use of the knife and to a lesser extent the bow are the key to survival and the resultant measured pace leaves plenty of opportunity to admire the polished visuals.

The game's main gripe is that it is punishingly difficult – this is a hardcore gamer's shooter and requires a significant time investment to even reach the first boss (there are three in total). It is so difficult, in fact, that some gamers might even give up in frustration before the action really hits its stride, which is a shame as there is some significant replay value for the more dedicated/bloody minded gamer, with various collectables, style points and completion bonuses to be had.

There is also a pretty robust portal element, including high scores, tips cheats and the odd downloadable goody, too.

Ultimately, Turok succeeds as a hardcore shooter/stealth title and though the inclusion of a selectable difficulty level could have easily compensated for its main shortcoming, the game still entertains and impresses enough to warrant a place in any shooter fan's pocket.


Turok is simply too difficult to appeal to everyone but if you like your shooters as tough as an old boot full of hungry, angry dinosaurs, this will make your thumbs very happy