Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was one of the unique Nintendo 64 games that gave Nintendo’s 64-bit console a sharper edge. It was one of the first very mature games for the console, which was based on a rebooted comic series from Valiant Comics in 1993. While the game was ported to PC and received a number of sequels, the Nintendo 64 version was praised in reviews upon its initial release. Many years later, Night Dive Studios has revived Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and brought the classic game to the Xbox One, PC, and the Nintendo Switch. For fans of the series, this is a welcomed remaster that gives some good improvements to the original game, modernizing and enhancing a few aspects that were lacking in its original release.
The remastered version of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is based on the PC ports of the original game. The 3D models and visuals are polished up with higher resolution textures and cleaned up objects. Lighting effects and soundtrack options are present as well, allowing players to switch between the original Nintendo 64 music and the remixed tracks from the PC version. On the Nintendo Switch, Turok can run at around 60 frames per second, but it’s not always consistent. When you run into large groups of enemies and have abundant nearby environmental effects, the game’s frame rate can slow down. Though the game never drops too much in frames, it is noticeable in most sections of the game as you traverse the different stages.
The controls on the Nintendo Switch are fantastic and very responsive. Unlike using a Nintendo 64 controller’s C-buttons for movement, having the dual analogue sticks on the Nintendo Switch make gameplay flow much better. Strafing around bosses and groups of enemies attacking you is ideal in classic first-person shooters, which is key to some of Turok’s later segments with tougher enemies. It’s not as smooth as using a mouse & keyboard on PC, but playing on the Nintendo Switch feels great to control.
Unfortunately, not everything is fine-tuned to perfection in this remaster of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. The hit detection and hurt boxes from some attacks you receive can at times feel a bit off, including some melee attacks from enemies that look as if they hit you from further than they probably should. You might be backing away from a raptor trying to bite you, only to still be hurt by the attack from more than a few feet away. Other times enemies might be aiming and firing bullets at you when you can can’t see them clearly enough in the distance, which ends up being very inconsistent in the later levels.
Boss fights are just as challenging as you might remember and will definitely give modern FPS players a run for their money, but they too sometimes suffer from the same issues. The faster framerate will make some of the more jagged movements of bosses more noticeable when they happen, even though it’s not frequent in most fire fights. Are they still satisfying to take down as you progress in the game? Most definitely.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on Switch also has the various cheat codes from its original releases. You can unlock cheats by either playing through the game and reaching certain milestones, or by entering codes in the menu and unlocking them. Using cheats however disables the achievement system in-game, which prevents you from marking off what milestones you reach in each level. Cheats range from unlimited lives and invincibility to warping to different levels and boss fights, as well as gaining every weapon and unlimited ammo for them to cause maximum havoc against enemies. The goofier cheats like Big Head mode and Purdy Colors will make anyone’s game very wacky, though they only provide so much fun for those that don’t have a lot of nostalgia for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.
There are very little extras for the Nintendo Switch version of the game, which may or may not be a good thing for everyone. On Switch, you can aim your shots with the use of the gyro sensor built into the Switch, which can be turned off in the menus if needed. Aiming this way gives a bit more accuracy in some situations, but you don’t always need to get a headshot to get a quick kill. Quickly unloading your gun at something is often more than enough. The different soundtracks you can Switch between is a nice touch, especially for those that played the game back on Nintendo 64 and want to hear how the game sounds in a new way. Outside of this, however, you won’t find any extra bonuses or hidden content in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. It would’ve been nice to see any developer commentaries or concept art as you progress through the game, but nothing like that is here.
If you wanted to add a classic first-person shooter to your Nintendo Switch library, then to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is a pretty decent choice. Night Dive Studios did a great job remastering the game and making it feel good to play through again on Nintendo Switch. The lack of new extras or bonus content is a real bummer to an otherwise solid experience. The few technical hiccups in this remaster don’t get in the way of the fun from one of the classic shooters from the Nintendo 64 library. Who knew that battling killer dinosaurs with crazy weapons was still just as fun as it was back then?
This review was based on a digital review code of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for the Nintendo Switch, provided by Night Dive Studios.