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Best climbing animation in an FPS: Turok Dinosaur Hunter

Long-time homebrew Sert (who you’ve probably seen referred to as Aodhán on the site but referring to people by their real names apparently isn’t hip these days) has set up yet another blog, Dual Screens and Caffeine Dreams. He’s precisely the kind of guy who I’d love to hype… if he actually had a site that didn’t become dormant within five minutes and then gradually vanish off the face of the internet. It’d had three entries within two days, so here’s hoping it’ll work this time! I’d consider him my mentor in the realm of humour and quirky choice of video games, though I clearly went in the direction of vulgarity and bad taste while Sert still maintains an aura of decency. Keep on rockin’, buddy.

On the subject of quirky video games, remember when I actually talked about games I was currently playing on the blog? And then I thought, why bother, because I’ll eventually write up about it for Games I Own? And then that section became dangerously outdated and cumbersomely managed and it’s only if you browse the Flying Omelette forums that you keep track of what games I’m playing at the minute? Yeah, whatever happened to that?

I just finished playing Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth today, after starting it about four weeks ago. I started it at my dad’s request, but it’s definitely a game I was interested in trying anyway. It’s a first-person adventure where the emphasis on more on exploration, solving puzzles and investigating mysteries, though there is a small amount of shooting dudes involved. Basically the main character spends about six years in a mental asylum after encountering the Yith, and afterwards is out and about investigating Innsmouth, where a small-town robbery eventually escalates into a conspiracy that the citizens of the town are actually freaky fishmen who want to resurrect the gods of the Deep Ones. It’s a genuinely compelling story, and it’s amazing to look back at it and see just how far the characters go, from moseying around small town alleyways to storming an old refinery, culminating in visiting the underwater headquarters of the Deep Ones. I’ve no doubt said before that I never really give a hoot about stories in video games, but hot damn, this is a good one. Ending’s a little nonsensical, but given the closest experience I have with the original mythos is that one episode of The Real Ghostbusters, that’s to be expected.

The game’s pretty buggy, though. There were only two instances where it’s game-breaking, though – once early in the game if you forget to pick up a book before the house is sealed off (easily rectified with a walkthrough!), and again late in the game on the boat where if you save at the wrong time the game just freezes every time you leave the save room. It can be avoided by just keeping a few spare saves of the early parts of that segment, but still, it’s not cool that it exists at all. There’s other minor bugs like journals from one save file being carried over to the next one you load, how you can reload your gun endlessly despite having a full magazine and not losing bullets, and a lot of the hot spots for using items are kinda finicky, but despite the slightly unfinished vibe about the game, I’d definitely recommend it if you like your atmospheric adventures.

Honest to god, though, it could’ve done with a bit of contrast. Or at least a flashlight.

What game allows you to slowly blast a jeep to death solely by running after it with a hunting rifle?

Damn right it’s Turok: Dinosaur Hunter!

Turok is one of those strange games we’ve had since we got the Nintendo 64, none of us ever really knew what to make of it, and ultimately it would just boil down to using cheat codes so we could blow everything up with the chronoseptor. I think I was lucky once to get past the first level, but it’s a game of vaguely-defined goals and directions, where your character’s vision is permanently shrouded with a dense bubble of mist, and falling to your death is one of those casual facts of life, like blinking.

Using my newly-gained DVI cable I’ve been playing the PC version on the TV with a USB gamepad, and it is crazy amounts of fun. The music doesn’t play and the auto-map isn’t functioning, but it doesn’t stop the game from being surprisingly compelling. There’s something lovingly raw and old-fashioned about the game; your only objective is just to get keys, and that’s it, you’re left to your own devices. There’s no hints, no help, and if you missed one key, well, you’ll just have to start the level and look through it all over again. Despite the rather outlandish setting and the fact you’re toting around giant pulse cannons on your back, it’s probably the closest I’ve seen an FPS to being like a man lost in the wilderness with only his wits and some huge-ass guns to defend himself.

I admit I’ve been very boring and just used the pistol almost the entire time. I have no reason to use the bow except on the big green dudes (purlins, aren’t they called?), the shotgun hasn’t got enough ammo for me to feel comfortable with it, and, let’s face it, using a pulse cannon on a dinosaur from several million years ago seems just a little bit unfair. What have I become? In the old days I’d be swapping weapons like every two seconds so corpses would be littered with all manner of variable shotholes; I think my favourite choice was the grenade launcher, where I could continuously blast corpses around like ragdolls. But nope, I’m just sticking with the pistol.

I’m a very boring person, aren’t I?

4 Comments

  1. Sert wrote:

    Call of Cthulhu is a game I’ve been tempted to play but often get put off by the tales of it having more bugs than your average frogs diet. As for Turok, our endless games of Turok II in multiplayer will never be forgotten. Charge Dart Rifle = DANCE MANIA!

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  2. Ragey wrote:

    Oh crumbs, I don’t think I remember the Charge Dart Rifle! I remember “more meat for the table!” and I mostly definitely remember “GOODY GOODY FOH ME”, but the Charge Dart Rifle is completely absent from my memory. I might just have to play a game against myself to try it and see if it rings any bells with me!
    … play a multi-player game with myself. Man, just saying that makes me sad.

    Also I’d really recommend Call of Cthulhu. The minor glitches are really no worse than what you’d encounter when fooling around in Sonic Adventure, though I’ve heard the PC version is more glitchy and apparently on some computers the boat sequence (about two thirds through the game) is completely impassable. I’d like to reassure you that all these big bad glitches that prevent you from progressing are most certainly not common, but I wouldn’t put it against you for being wary of them. I’m not a talented man at trying to emphasis the good parts in something!

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink
  3. Sert wrote:

    Aw man, I can’t believe you don’t remember the Charge Dart Rifle. Most of our matches were spent doing nothing more than shooting each other with it. It made you character flail about uncontrollably as they were electrocuted.

    Surely you remember the Cerebral Bore though. That hideous screeching sound as it homed in on somebody. Everyone ran for their lives!

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  4. MightyKombat wrote:

    All talk of Turok and no Cerebral Bore makes me a saaaaad panda.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 5:09 am | Permalink