Insert Disk collects the Turrican series. Part 3 of 3.
Today’s retro game review is part 3 of a 3 part mini-series looking at the Turrican series. This classic retro game series will look at Turrican, Turrican 2 and Turrican 3 (Mega Turrican / Payment Day). These three games represent the main canon trilogy of the Turrican series. In Turrican Manfred Trenz created one of the most iconic run and gun series of all time. Join me this week as I reminisce over three of the major outings in the Turrican series.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. Welcome back to part 3 of this retrospective of the Turrican series. Previously we took a look at Turrican and Turrican 2. Today it’s the turn of the last game in the main cannon trilogy. By 1993 Factor 5 had developed Turrican 3: Payment Day and released the game in the UK on the Commodore Amiga. The times were changing though and distribution of the game became more of an issue. The previous entries had been released on numerous home formats. By 1994 though there were far less mainstream home consoles and micro-computers. It was now the age of the home gaming console.
In 1994 Turrican 3: Payment Day became Mega Turrican for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis. The game saw a worldwide release by publisher Data East and Sony Imagesoft. Despite being released first the Amiga version of the game is technically a port of the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis game. Throughout its development Turrican 3 was in some doubt as to where the development focus should lie. With the Commodore Amiga losing ground to both traditional IBM compatible machines as well as the 16-bit Nintendo and Sega consoles the final solution was a small European Amiga release but a worldwide Sega console release. This resulted in a technically superior release on the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis as porting back to the Amiga led to losses in some graphical detail.
I’m showing footage here of Mega Turrican for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis. As you might expect from a Turrican game the game plays very smoothly. The weapon upgrades are here the decent soundtrack is here and I’m pleased to report that Mega Turrican is a very solid release. New additions to the game include a rebound shot that tracks along walls and other various modifications from previous weapon sets. The largest change is the grappling hook. This added game mechanic allows the player to reach previously unreachable platforms. In general the grappling hook works well. It’s used sparingly and to good effect. It never feels like a gimmick, the feature has a warranted reason for being included in the game design.
The largest change from previous entries in the series is the emphasis on shooting. There’s far more running and gunning than ever. You’ll find that auto fire is very much your friend and expect to see bullets and projectiles flying across the screen fairly much nonstop when you play. The experience does feel different the other games but not unwelcome. It shares enough to feel familiar yet different enough to not feel like a re-hash of previous games. Whilst Mega Turrican is somewhat open plan the levels are undeniably much more linear than before. At times taking the feel very much of a traditional platformer. Again, this actually works really well. As much as I enjoy Turrican 1 and 2 I can definitely see the appeal of the shift in gameplay. As with other Turrican games there some great set pieces. The boss fights genuinely are epic. Most take up at least a quarter of the screen and provide an excellent method of bookending the action of the main levels.
The soundtrack is not bad at all considering the absence of Chris Hülsbeck. It’s suitably dramatic, more action blockbuster rather than orchestral epic in nature compared to previous soundtracks. It suits the game well though. Overall I really have no complaints about Turrican 3. It’s a really enjoyable game, bright, bold and a really fun experience. Here is the physical release of Mega Turrican. Expect the regular black plastic case along with really decent artwork on the box, manual and cartridge.
Hopefully by this point I’ve convinced you all to run out and collect the Turrican series. Here’s a rough guide to current pricing. For the big box Turrican 1 on the commodore 64 a price of around £20 or $25 is the going rate for a near mint in box edition. For Turrican 2 on the Commodore 64 a price of around £15 or up to $20 is a regularly achievable price. For a PAL edition of Mega Turrican on the Sega Mega Drive you’re going to have to dig a little deeper in to your pockets. Here in the UK prices starting around £100 are common. If you are buying online insist on seeing close up images of the labels and printed areas. Due to the games value there is sadly a large amount of reproduction cartridges being passed off as genuine editions. For the US recent online auction prices have ended anywhere between £75 and $150.
It’s worth noting that outside of the main Turrican cannon trilogy there were other entries in the series. Super Turrican for Nintendo Entertainment System. Super Turrican and Super Turrican 2 for the Super Nintendo A fan remake called Hurrican and of course the Universal Soldier licenced game. You’ll also find various ports of Turrican on numerous consoles including the Nintendo Gameboy. To keep this retrospective down to a reasonable three episodes I’ve intentionally not covered all of these games in detail. Instead, focussing of the main trilogy should set you on a good path to collecting the Turrican series.
I would like to say though that Super Turrican on the SNES is an excellent game. It recycles many elements from other entries in the series but the game has a distinctly Nintendo feel to it. It’s well worth investigating if you enjoy the mainstream releases of Turrican. Super Turrican 2 for the SNES is a very distinct game. It perhaps lacks the feel of the mainstream Turrican series but it is interesting to see how the team experimented with vehicle stages and different game play styles. It’s not my favourite of the franchise but also well worth a look if you are a collector that needs to complete the set.
So, we’ve seen a slice of the Turrican series over these past few episodes. One thing I’ve personally come away with are that there really are no bad games in the Turrican series. I grew up playing mostly playing Turrican 2 and Mega Turrican but wanted to go on the complete journey of trying all of the games. Perhaps not completing them all but getting a good feel for what’s on offer. If I could only save one Turrican game it would be Turrican 2 for the Commodore Amiga. It has all of the elements that the original had, yet enhanced them without losing touch with what made the original so great. It kept the mechanics of the game yet revealed even more perfect execution that make Turrican games feel like Turrican.
If you are new to the Turrican series you’re also well catered for. With the large array of games and platforms you really can start anywhere, usually at a decent price. As I mentioned there really are no bad entries in the Turrican series so there’s a very easy route in however you first encounter Turrican. Perhaps the lasting appeal of the Turrican series is that these were games that were built to last. It’s now several decades since we were first introduced to the series. The phenomenal game design and execution make Turrican one of the defining moments of run and gun gaming history.
Hopefully you can appreciate that I’ve not been able to cover everything I’d like to in this mini series. The Turrican series has a really in depth back story of development, twists, turns and so many games that I could easily fill an afternoons worth of episodes. Instead, see this as your introduction to Turrican if you’re new to the series or a simple piece of nostalgia for the older gamer. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this compact retrospective. Now, I’d highly urge you all to go back to your gaming shelves and re-live your favourite Turrican game.