On 4 March 1997, Acclaim’s first N64 game was launched, signalling the birth of one of the N64’s most iconic third-party game franchises.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was an important title for a number of reasons.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on N64 - shooting a raptor with a shotgun

In the late ’90s, the prospect of a first-person shooter game on a home console was incredibly uncommon. Although titles such as Doom and Wolfenstein 3D had come to home consoles before, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was the first to convincingly demonstrate that the genre could really work, primarily because of the N64’s power and analog joystick input.

The game also evolved the first-person shooter formula, forsaking Doom’s labyrinths of tight corridors in favour of large, open, multi-levelled areas.

This approach met with technical limitations, however, and the game is notorious for using heavy distance fog to hide the visuals popping up unnaturally – although some critics at the time felt that this actually added to the game’s atmosphere.

Fighting the T-Rex boss in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for N64

In the run-up to Turok: Dinosaur Hunter’s release, Acclaim Entertainment (the game’s publisher) had experienced financial difficulties as a result of falling sales. The company adopted a business strategy that involved developing games and then licensing merchandise based on them in the hope of generating more cash flow.

The concept for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter actually originated from a comic book series that was first published in the 1950s, before being revived again in 1993 by Valiant Comics. Acclaim purchased Valiant in 1994, and chose Turok as the first franchise for its new strategy.

Platforming section in Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for N64.

And it’s a move that paid off. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter went on to sell over 1.5 million copies, and boosted Acclaim’s fortunes considerably. This success spawned a whole series of games, and the N64 received another three Turok games during its lifetime: Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion and the multiplayer-centric spin-off Turok: Rage Wars.

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