reviews\ Jan 31, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Tork Prehistoric Punk - XB - Review

In the hands of an adult, the game may seem a bit silly, but give it to a young child, and they'll think you are the greatest.

And with that my dear friends, is why this game is perfect for the younger set. Oh wait, I forgot to write the review. Huh, I guess after playing this title with my four-year-old my mind seems to be slipping. Ok, well, let me start again, and hopefully this time I'll make some sense.

Tork: Prehistoric Punk is an action-style arcade game. Players take on the role of Tork, a miniature cave kid who just happens to have inherited his father's ability to change into animals. Good thing too, since a sorcerer has kidnapped his father and destroyed the village. Not a smart move since the last time I checked, cavemen don't posses any real social skills.


Tork is a nifty little squirt who carries around bolas and uses them both like nunchuks and for their intended throwing use. Dinosaurs, flying critters and even robots will feel Tork's wrath as he runs around the different levels ticking off mammoths, freeing pterodactyls and generally causing all sorts of damage to Mother Nature. After playing this game, it's easy to understand why dinosaurs are extinct, it wasn't some large meteor, it was a 64-pound caveman whuppin' some butt. It's true, by the third level, chances are you have destroyed at least 200 dinosaurs, including triceratops', baby t-rexes and plenty of pterodactyls.

As you game along and you have a child playing with you, you will learn that Tork can change into different prehistoric-like creatures much to that child's delight. Places in the game are only accessible if Tork invokes these transformations. I'll explain: as you adventure through the levels smacking baddies around, Tork's fury meter gets fuller and fuller. When it is full, Tork yells out "FURY!" indicating to you that if you so desire, you can change into either a Yeti (very strong), an armadillo (very tough), and a flying squirrel (very fast). As you may have already guessed, there is definitely a prehistoric look to these characters so as to remain firmly rooted in the game's premise. The game has an awful lot of things to smash and objects to find, which does keep the pace set at frantic. Tork has a health bar, as you would imagine, and controls fairly easily. I know this because, again, my four-year old can play this game.

What there is to like about this game is its kid-friendly controls; lively, cartoonish graphics that feature strong use of sprites and level design' and the fact that it sells for $20.00. But (there's always a but) the game will begin to wear on those players over 14 that have played similar titles. Which means that there is definitely that deja vu feeling. Some of the levels reminded me of the Crash Bandicoot series while others reminded of any number of others, Gex, Astal, and Super Mario 64.  

The sound effects were kind of a mixed bag, as I sit here and think about it, there was nothing much that comes to mind other then "FURY!" The little amount of voice work was done Ok - not great, but Ok. The background music moved things along but again, nothing about it made me get excited.



Review Scoring Details for Tork: Prehistoric Punk

Gameplay: 8.0
The controls are easy enough for, well, a four-year old. There are some tricky jumps occasionally and sometimes getting the depth-perception type leaps can frustrate you, but for the most part it's solid. Tork has an absolute ton of things to collect and items to smash and make extinct. The game never slows and thankfully when you do run out of lives you can (provided you made it to the correct point) pick up where you left off.

Graphics: 7.5
It has a good flow to the look. I liked how some of the levels incorporated the environment as a tangible adversary. The dinosaurs also looked pretty good. Some look goofy on purpose since I do realize the target audience is about nine. Not a lot of camera slow down, even when 30 little buggers were attacking. I didn't like the fact that you couldn't rotate the camera in some areas since Tork is viewed in the third-person perspective. Some blind jumps, which I think is poor developing.

Sound: 5.0
Smack dab in the middle. Tork has a little "tough" guy voice and that was alright, but I just can't find anything above average here.

Difficulty: Easy/Med.
I burned through the first three levels in my first sitting. I died several times, but it was never anything that I couldn't beat doing trial-and-error jumping. And for the most part I died making silly mistakes in the jumping. But my son had some difficulty with some of the scenarios, specifically the frozen level when the King Mammoth is chasing after you and it's viewed as Tork runs towards you reverse perspective. But then, that's the point, it should be challenging for the target audience.

Concept: 5.0
Heavily borrowed from many other games, and even I got mixed up between Tak and Tork. I liked the power to change into other animals, and the time traveling was also enjoyable but again, this is all things that have been done before many, many times. 

Overall: 6.9
If my son wouldn't have had such a good time playing it with me then I might have scored it lower, but since it was a game for little ones, I only felt that I needed to get his qualified, expert opinion. So I asked him as I wrote this very review, and he said "I like it Dad." So it gets the full approval of my son. And so I'll end this review the same way I started it. And that my dear friends, is why this game is perfect for the younger set. 

Above Average

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