When we recently revisited Turok: Dinosaur Hunter as part of our month-long celebration of the series, we couldn’t help but feel overcome by an old, familiar feeling.
And that’s because the game forced us to do something which is so rarely seen in gaming today (and for a good reason, too); we had to find a save point before quitting our game.
That’s right, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter uses an archaic save system which often feels so unnecessarily long-winded that you almost have to allow for twice as much time when playing it. At certain points throughout the game, Turok can walk up to a strange monument and record his progress. This wouldn’t be such a bad idea if it weren’t for the fact that they’re almost as elusive as the Tomb of Ghengis Khan.
The autosave feature that is found in today’s games is something we probably all take for granted. It has undoubtedly made gaming much more accessible to all. So whether you’ve only got 15 minutes here and there or you have a habit of playing for hours at a time, everyone benefits.
Save points are a bit peculiar when you think about it; why were they ever deemed necessary? In some instances they’re employed by developers because the software is complex or simply because they help to up the difficulty. In Turok: Dinosaur Hunter’s case, we can’t help but think it’s the latter. And when you’ve made good progress, only to suddenly realise you’re late for something in the real world, you have to make the choice of seeing the game through to the next save point or potentially going back quite a way. The worrying thing with Turok: Dinosaur Hunter is that there’s no guarantee you’ll make it to the next save location anyway!
Nevertheless, this game isn’t the only offender when it comes to frustrating save points. We’ve compiled a list of games that also feature annoying save systems for you to deal with. Be warned: if you’re going to play any of these games soon, you might want to set aside a bit of time. We’d simply hate for you to lose your progress because you had to leave for something trivial like a Valentine’s Day date.
Anyone who has played Body Harvest will know what an absolute trek it can feel like at times. Surviving wave after wave of alien encounter is one thing; making sure everyone else gets through it alive is another. To make matters worse, this game incorporates an absolutely unforgiving save point system.
Each area you visit is divided up into four different levels and a save point only exists at the end of each one. It’s important to bear in mind that each of these areas can take a good 30 to 40 minutes to complete. On top of that, you’ve got to keep an eye on a meter at the bottom of the screen that shows you the number of civilian casualties. If this gets too high, it’s game over. There’s no going back to a previous save state (unless you cleverly copy your game via the main menu) and it’s terrifying that you can essentially get very close to a save point, only to then die and lose a fair bit of progress.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Despite being one of the best Zelda games we’ve ever played, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask deserves its place in this list for its somewhat frustrating save system.
Our infamous green hero is stuck in a continuous three-day loop, and only by defeating Majora’s Mask can he escape this Groundhog Day-esque situation.
If you’ve ever played this instalment in the Zelda franchise, you’ll likely know how complex it is for a game of its time. The game world changes over the course of time; day and night come and go, NPCs adhere to busy schedules and going back in time resets all of this. The save sytem is clearly designed to compensate for this (otherwise the game would just use the same quicksave feature that Ocarina of Time had), and thankfully there are two ways to go about it.
The problem, however, is that both choices are less than ideal. In the first instance, you have to use the Ocarina of Time to travel back to the first day. This saves the game, but resets all your progress made in dungeons and quests, and you’ll also lose certain items. The second choice is to use an owl statue. These are dotted across the game world for your convenience and don’t require you to travel back in time. Nevertheless, it’s still annoying that you have to travel (or warp) back to these every time you want to save. It’s just that little bit of extra effort that most of us lazy gamers can’t be bothered with.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
Who’d have thought that the sequel to the game that spawned this feature would also appear in it?
The fact that Turok 2: Seeds of Evil uses an identical save system to the first game tells us something: either Acclaim weren’t able to incorporate a quicksave system into the game or they decided not to. Either way, what’s so incredibly annoying about the second game in the dino-tastic series is the fact that like its predecessor, its save points are spread out too far apart. As a result, it’s not a game you can just pick up and play.
On the plus side, the game is a bit easier than the first, meaning that you’ll hopefully have a bit more luck making it to your next save destination. Just be sure to set some time aside for this one; it’s easy to get lost some of the tunnels and passages.
Which save systems in games are so bad that they give you a headache? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!