Published on January 7th, 2024 | by Gareth Newnham

Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion Review

Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion Review Gareth Newnham

Summary: Turok 3 is a blast for both shooter fans and anyone interested in games history.


Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion is, in many ways, a game that fell through the cracks. Released in the dying days of the N64 and with no PC port, Turok 3 was a game that a lot of people looked at, said they’d get around to it eventually, or skipped because they no longer had the hardware to play it.

More than twenty years later, thanks to the wizards at Nightdive Studios, the Turok trilogy is finally complete for PC players, and the rest of us get another chance to play this overlooked and curious piece of shooter history.

Picking up straight after the events of Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, Shadow of Oblivion, players are given the choice of taking up the mantle of Turok as either Joshua or Danielle Fireseed as they fight to vanquish Oblvion, an eldritch god that plans to tear reality apart using the power of a child of destiny the pair see in their dreams.

Throw in a shady cabal of literal talking heads, baiting for a sequel that never happened, satisfying combat, big boss battles, and some interesting set pieces, and you are in for a great weekend of running and gunning.

Although it’s fun to play for dusty old gaming academics like myself, the most interesting part of Turok 3 is how it is essentially a missing link between old-school FPS design and its more modern sensibilities.

It’s a sprawling, story-focused shooter packed full of bloody, brutal combat and a literal sackful of weird and wonderful weapons, including a solid shotgun, the iconic Tech Bow, and the Cerebral Bore that literally drills the brains out of enemies before blowing their heads up.

The combat is challenging (unless you strafe), and the controls have once again had a light overhaul to bring them up to modern twin-stick standards, which, combined with the streamlined design of the original that forgoes the need to reload, open doors, or even crouch makes for a game with a great sense of pace.

The level design is simply fantastic, too, with players forced to figure out their way through each interconnected level; from futuristic cityscapes to crumbling ancient ruins, every area is packed with secrets that encourage exploration, clever platforming, and a sense of verticality sorely missing from most modern shooters.

This is bolstered by the introduction of a grappling hook that lets you zip to admittedly predetermined parts of the environment, but it’s still a lot of fun to take the high ground before reigning machine gun fire down on a group of monsters that were giving you trouble beforehand.

It’s also stuffed full of great set pieces, especially when you consider that you can theoretically speedrun the thing in just over an hour (although mine took me closer to six, and I still had a few upgrades and secrets to find). At one point, you find yourself desperately scrabbling to stop the pesky agents of Oblivion from wetting off nukes on an overrun military base, leaping from carriage to carriage in an attempt to stop a runaway train and do your best Ethan Hunt impression by sneaking past laser grids in a pitch black museum, and at one point you even dive into an active volcano.

The same can’t be said of the boss fights, though, which range from being cheap to stupidly easy to feeling mostly pointless. It’s a shame because there are some interesting puzzle mechanics at play, and the monster designs have that typical comic book charm that the trilogy is known for.

Considering it’s an N64 game, Turok 3 looks surprisingly good for its age; of course, Night Dive has done some fantastic work in updating the visuals, but the character design and world itself are still impressive even by modern standards, and in the context of when it came out, feels like a technical marvel considering the original hardware it was made to run on.

There’s even a decent amount of voice acting, quality music, and fairly lengthy cutscenes. Things, thanks to how limited cartridge space was, were rarely ever seen on the N64. The music, on the whole, is also pretty decent in that cheesy late 90s, early 2000s way that will bring a smile to the face of many a jaded old 30-something.

The biggest issue with Turok 3, though, is that the multiplayer mode has been stripped out of the remaster. Without it, there’s a solid evening to a weekend’s worth of entertainment. But the multiplayer was known for being the best in the series and could have added hours of extra entertainment, especially if they’d included a local split screen and the ability to team up against bots like you could in the original. l, and who doesn’t love a game of monkey tag?

Final Thoughts

Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion is the final chapter in what is easily one of the finest trilogy of shooters of the N64 era. Though not as lauded as its predecessor, it’s still a solid shooter with a design philosophy that married Half Life’s level design and narrative push with the over-the-top combat, violence, and pace of your average doom clone. It is an unlikely pairing and a serious feat when you consider it, and I can’t stress this enough: it was an N64 game.

Though it’s undoubtedly a shame that the multiplayer is missing, fans of Night Dive’s previous Turok remasters or with an interest in game design will still find plenty to love,


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