Turrican


by Probe Software Ltd: Daren White, Jason Green
Rainbow Arts
1990
Crash Issue 77, June 1990   (1990-05-24)   page(s) 41

Long, long ago mankind lived in fear. Paranoia ruled them by day and horrific nightmares made sleep a dread by night. The cause was a three headed creature called Morgul with fantastic evil magical power who lived hidden away in its kingdom from where it infiltrated man's mind. As humanity cowered, a brave hero called Devolon did battle with the beast and banished it to another dimension. For many years mankind slept soundly. But now the nightmares have returned with a ferocity that banishes everyone to their homes lest evil strike them. Morgul is affecting them even from the other dimension.

Only one man has the courage to stand up to his fears and attempt to once again banish Morgul from the lives of mortals: Turrican, skilled soldier of fortune, athletic and heavily armoured.

Turrican is set over five different worlds and 13 levels. Fight through creature-infested landscapes using your athletic skills and arsenal of weaponry - standard pulse-rifle, lightning beam, grenades, mines and energy lines. The last three are limited, so stocks must be regularly replenished and weapon power-ups collected. Collision with the weird denizens of Morgul's realm lose you vital energy. Make use of the gyroscope mode (three times per life) and turn into an impervious and destructive ball. Extra weaponry can be collected as well as diamonds, 300 of which provide an extra life.

Trust Probe to come up with the goods: the sprites are colourful, nicely drawn and animated. Turrican himself looks well hard a range of weaponry to make Rambo jealous. Creatures and backgrounds are varied - there's nothing I hate more in a game than the same sprite being used over and over again! End of level monsters and Morgul himself are great. All in all Probe and Rainbow Arts have produced one of the best Speccy games seen this year. Just wait for the sequel Apprentice.

MARK ... 95%


'Wow, it' a long time since I've seen this much offensive weaponry in a game!! Turrican is pure blast-'em-up action all the way with a wonderfully detailed main sprite blasting the living daylights out of the enemy hordes. My personal favourite is the Alien world which Is obviously inspired by the Giger-esque monsters from the Ridley Scott movie. The backdrops are as colourful and varied as the character sprites. Turrican is a no holds barred shoot-'em-up that no joystick mangling fan should miss.'
NICK ... 93%

Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 88%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 90%
Addictivity: 92%
Overall: 94%

Summary: Hurricane strength arcade blast-'em-up of the year guaranteed to give you nightmares!

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 56, August 1990   page(s) 64,65

Look, I'd like you all to quiet down for a moment if you will and put on your serious faces, because I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You see, sometimes (just sometimes) I take a look at the games we review in Bargain Basement (the £2.99 jobbies) and then at some of the regular reviews, and I really can't see that much difference. Maybe it's because anything a little bit complicated tends to get rendered, almost automatically, in monochrome these days ("because the Speccy's not very good at colour") meaning that at first sight many premiere products look no more impressive than, I don't know, the latest Codies Simulator or something.

So imagine my joy when a game comes along that has 'full price' written all over it - like this one for instance. It's big (big! Big!), it's varied (varied! Varied!), it's more colourful (colourful! Colourful!) than you'd ever believe - it looks like it's worth every penny basically. A minor miracle, doncha think?

But less (less! Less!) of the superlatives - what's Turrican all about? Well, for those who missed the Megapreview a couple of issues back (shame on you! Where've you been?), it's an absolutely whopping (five worlds, each divided into a number of fairly lengthy sub-levels) shoot-'em-up packed full of some of the most spectacular graphics ever seen on the Speccy.

Your little man (a rather characterless chappy in a silver space suit. who looks nothing like the butch Robocop lookalike of the adverts) runs, jumps, ducks and occasionally flies (there are jet packs you'll need to collect for a couple of the levels) all over the place, collecting power-up icons and blasting the living daylights out of all sorts of baddies. Starting off on a sort of deserty landscape (blue skies, yellow brown rocks and the occasional shrub) you work your way along numerous platforms, across a couple of waterfalls, down some tunnels and into just about the most humungous underground maze system ever. Somewhere at the end of all this you'll find Morgul, the man (or rather, flying head thing), responsible for 'all the fears and nightmares of mankind' (!), and obviously have to work out some way to bump him off.

One of the great strengths of the game is the sheer number of extra weapons you can collect along the way. They're thick on the ground all over the shop, as are extra power icons, often hidden in 'secret' rooms behind false walls or floating in space Super Mario Brothers style. It's wise to go off the beaten path sometimes and search out a rich seam (unusually for this sort of game you don't have a single 'correct' route but can wander off at a tangent for a bit if you wish) Walk left instead of right at the start of Level 1.1 for instance and shoot about in the air a bit - you'll be glad you did!

Weapons include such goodies as Energy Lines (acting rather like smart bombs, they send walls of force outwards from your character, killing most everything by they touch), Giro-mode (where you turn into an indestructible spinning top, useful only for bouncing down hill), Megablast (like a giant Star Wars light sabre) and so on. (The Megablast is especially useful - not only can it kill aliens, it can help locate hidden power icons, often placed out of normal reach overhead, and uncover secret passageways hidden behind fake wall blocks with ease.)

However, the real stars of the game are the backdrops - from the Alien-influenced World Three to the giant mechanical stars of Level Four (depicted with some neat parallax scrolling rarely seen on the Speccy) they are incredibly colourful, spectacular and usually very well designed - not like usual Speccy screens at all actually. The monsters are good too - from the giant armoured fist you encounter early on to the massive mechanical, um, doobries (I can't really think how to describe them) of the later levels. These are things which'd be major set pieces in many other games but here they just flash by, almost thrown away.

So. Its been a bit of a rave review so far, hasn't it? Bad points to the game? Well yes, there are some. For a start there's the scrolling - though eight-way and generally quite smooth, there were occasions (particularly in the flying sequences) when I felt it was actually going too fast for me! There I was, being whisked past all these fabulous graphics at a phenomenal rate, almost as if I was on a giant conveyor belt. Whisked by too fast really - I often felt vaguely out of control and resented being dragged into enemies through no real fault of my own. Mmm.

Then there's the animation - I already said Turrican himself is a bit of a characterless fellow, but what I haven't pointed out is how silly he can sometimes look. Though generally well animated, there are sections (like when he's running up and down the sloped platforms in the Alien bit) when he seems to be hobbling along with a broken leg or something - not ideal.

Still, let's face it, these are minor quibbles. Even if for some reason I can't quite get a firm focus on Turrican (although Rainbow Arts stuff has improved vastly of late it still carries slight traces of the days when everything they brought out was a direct and slightly soulless rip-off of something else - remember Great Giana Sisters?) it's still a spectacular achievement. I can't wait for the next one (something called Apprentice, I believe) because if they manage to combine the sheer professionalism and hard work that's been put into this game with a truly original concept or a strong, distinctive character (heck, Little Puff In Dragonland has more soul than this!) the results would be absolutely spectacular! Still, let's not knock it - as a technical and graphical achievement this is one of the best games of this year, and a bit of a 'Must Buy'. Hurrah!


Life Expectancy: 87%
Instant Appeal: 88%
Graphics: 93%
Addictiveness: 85%
Overall: 92%

Summary: Massive and spectacular shoot-'em-up, though it does lack a bit of character. Still, buy it!

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 73, January 1992   page(s) 82

Turrican is a bloody good game. So good, in fact, that my friend from across the road has stolen my copy. Never mind, at least I got to play it first.

Turrican is possibly one of the most blathered about platform games in the somewhat historic history of history itself. It's a lot more than just a platform game - it's a large platform game. Just take this issue of Your Sinclair, remove the staples and spread the pages over the carpet of your favourite room. The covered floor space still won' t be as large as the first level - that's how big it is.

It's also a shoot-'em-up, 'em being the entire mobile alien population of the Universe. As an exploratory game, you get to wander around levels looking for secret caches of weaponry. This can really take it out of you, and your time limit. Oh, and it's a multi-load too.

In true xenophobic tradition you're given a plot which is about as likely as Rolf Harris. Still, what really matters is that you get to deal out some loud, colourful and extremely painful death. There are six possible ways of destroying any one nasty, so you really are spoilt for choice. As for variety, there's loads of it. Each level has its own theme and new nasties emerge each time: twice as big, four times as deadly and dripping with slime.

There are but two niggles - there appear to be no 128K extras, and it doesn't wait for a fire press after loading in levels. But apart from this, I can't find a single fault. If you poor deluded souls haven't already got this, I suggest that you dash out and get yourself a copy pronto Tonto.


Overall: 90%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 102, August 1990   page(s) 74

What on Earth is a Turrican? Is it some sort of brightly-coloured South American bird? Is it a steel enclosure for turries? Is it some martial art practiced in Newcastle? It's none of these. A Turrican, Frank, is in fact a fearless hulking great armoured adventurer chappie who fights his way through the five levels of magical mayhem in search of the evil three-headed Morgul. So now you know.

The most remarkable thing about Turrican is the play area. It's an absolutely massive scrolling landscape. Next come the graphics, which are colourful and varied (but pretty damned blocky). The premise of the game itself is simple. There's an awful lot of aliens out there, and you've got to kill them all, with an ever-escalating armoury or weapons.

As you run and leap around the five kingdoms your ultimate aim is to find the nightmare-maker Morgul and give him the chop; on the way you have to blow away a selection of vampire bats, robotic monsters and other ghoulies. You have a standard zappy-gun to do this, but you can also pick up tokens which give you other weapons such as lightning-whip which you can wave around madly, a multi-shot weapon and a laser gun.

There are also smart bombs which clear a whole screen with a field of flame, force shields which protect you from harm for a limited period, grenades, and diamonds which are, er, pretty (and which add up to give you extra lives). Laying mines can help you to blast your way into fresh areas, but some walls can simply be destroyed with your gun, which makes you wonder why they're there.

If it all becomes too much, you can turn yourself it to an invincible gyroscope by pressing DOWN and ENTER. Once in gyroscope form, you're impervious to any form of attack, and wipe out everything you touch. You can't travel upwards as the gyroscope, however. Pressing Q (up) returns you to humanoid appearance.

First appearances can be deceptive. On face value, Turrican looks slightly unpolished and workmanlike, but its sheer map size and variety of aliens make it rather special.

Label: Rainbow Arts
Price: £8.95
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins


Graphics: 78%
Sound: 70%
Playability: 82%
Lastability: 80%
Overall: 79%

Summary: MASSIVE blast! Not the most beautiful game in the world, but it's so BIG!!!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 118, December 1991   page(s) 48

Where did they get this name from? Turrican is a major shoot 'em up blast, first seen last year and it's title has been confusing me ever since.

A mythical science-fiction based, horizontally scrolling shoot 'em' up, Turrican involves clearing five worlds of evil uglies using a space suite man with a futuristic pop gun. Sounds difficult? It is! However to help you along there are plenty of power-ups and special weapons varying from the mildly devastating to the totally annihilating. This includes a a laser whip (OOhh!), a rapid fire laser gun (AAgghh!), smart bombs (KaoBoom!) and mines (and mine's a pint - of milk eh kids?)

The main sprite moves around the battlezone with great speed and agility and by transforming into a gyroscope or by using force shield power up becomes invincible.

Although the graphics and sound aren't stunning, indeed for such a popular game they could have been better, the sheer scale of the action and the speed at which enemies attack, makes this a worthwhile budget buy.

Label: Kixx
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99
Reviewer: Steve Keen


Overall: 82%

Summary: Hop and skip and shoot those baddies. Turrican features lots of action for your money and will not disappoint.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 39, December 1990   page(s) 113

Rainbow Arts £8.95;
Amiga version reviewed Issue 35; ACE rating 912

The original version of this arcade adventure was perhaps the best arcade blast yet seen on the Amiga. The quality of gameplay and presentation were as near to arcade perfect as any game of its genre. The Spectrum version cannot hope to emulate that quality. Limitations aside, Rainbow Arts have successfully managed to cram in all the features of the 16-bit version and although this inevitably makes Turrican a multi-load, this is of little consequence. Graphics are colourful (if a little blocky), move well and the play area is huge. The internal speaker is used with successful results and the game as a whole whilst perhaps not groundbreaking, retains the playability of the original.


Overall: 871/1000

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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