Genre: Run-‘N-Gun Developer: Code Monkeys Publisher: Accolade Players: 1 Released: 1991
Personally, I am a big fan of platformers. Ristar, Sonic, Rocket Knight and Gods all get my nod. When I play a new platformer I try to keep an open mind and just immerse myself in the gaming experience laid out before me. Turrican however really let me down even with my open mind. From the moment you start playing you are bombarded with hordes of aggressive enemies which glide speedily through your character mugging him of every ounce of life force he had and consequently every ounce of enthusiasm for playing this game.
Basically, you’re a robot who is out to destroy this nightmare-producing Morgul thing over five levels of exciting 16-Bit mayhem, emphasis on MAYHEM. Turrican’s graphics are really bland, the character sprite is the only stand out example of nice graphics in the game conveying a sort of pseudo 3D aesthetic with his swaying gun and nice bodily shadow; however the environments look rushed and lazily produced, and enemy designs are equally uninspired, looking something like characters from Alien Storm but with less detail. An interesting effect is the fact that the tint of the background (which is a solid color and not textured mind you) changes slightly from darker to lighter as you descend underground or climb back up to the surface. Regrettably, because there are no textured backgrounds you may not even notice you are supposed to be underground anyway.
As mentioned before, enemies are insanely difficult, and not necessarily because of their strength. It is just that they are simply so hard to get to. You have some intense super weapons but you quickly use these trying to eliminate the torrents of frustrating enemies coming at you from all quarters. The most hair-pulling, frustrating aspect of the enemies of Turrican is probably the fact that you have absolutely NO invincibility time so for however long an enemy lingers in your vicinity your health bar drains appropriately. I cannot tell you how many times I have been playing this game and suddenly thought “Where the hell did all my health go?” Two nice little features added to no doubt lessen the hideous frustration experienced through playing this game is a powerful beam which can be fired and then arced to wherever you please and a Samus like rolling attack which eliminates everything that touches you.
Turrican isn’t all hair pulling and controller biting, however. The music is a nice mix of racy platformer tracks which although aren’t exactly precedent busting get the job done as background music, you may even find yourself humming some of the tunes at one point. The sound effects are nicely synthesized and sound unique enough, especially the tiny little thud of your metallic feet hitting the deck or, one you will hear often, the sound of you exploding.
I could well and truly say that Turrican ate my brain; the sheer unbridled frustration which I endured playing it sort of honeycombed my brain and dropped my IQ about ninety points. While not a bad game (in the sense that the gameplay is in theory good), the enemies are simply too many too early – an endless flood of angry robots and other assorted malevolent oddities, including power up capsules, which float around acting deadly until you shoot them (YES, EVEN POWER-UPS CAN HURT YOU).
I got the feeling while playing Turrican that Accolade was trying to go for their own Contra or Metroid, which is evident by certain gameplay aspects that are pretty obvious when you do the math. Unfortunately, at the start of a game new players are actually supposed to be able to get somewhere without dying nine million times in a row. With bland graphics, fairly uninspired but not bad music, and floods of enemies which seem to be spawning out of rifts from hell, Turrican is a pretty bad platformer with pretty good ideas.
SCORE: 3 out of 10