Amstrad Action1st June 1990
Published in Amstrad Action #57
Night chills are plaguing the world of man. Striking at the dead of night, they seize the heart, paralyse the brain and freeze the blood. Our entire species is in the grip of a collective nightmare, Morgul the lord of darkness and true fear has returned. The ancients thought they had banished this abomination to the endless tracts of time. They were wrong. Now all mankind is in the gravest peril.
The ancient ones had heroes to defend them, of course. but then so too does modern man - his name is Turrican. He has the courage, the will and the firepower to destroy Morgul. And you can take him into battle in the latest arcade-style epic from Rainbow Arts.
As with all decently evil demi-gods, Morgul has holed up in a seemingly impenetrable fortress - but he must be killed if the terror is to cease. To reach this hideaway, Turrican must battle through five worlds, each crammed with its own special horrors. Armed lightly at the beginning, the steel-suited crusader must find sustenance and greater weapons during the battle.
The first fight takes place in a desert land and the caverns below. While leaping and bounding between the platforms, even the mighty Turrican (Turri to his friends!) has to be amazed at the sheer size of the place. There's a correct route, but the shiny slayer has a choice and is not led along a single path. So Turrican not only has to fend off the forces of darkness and collect the 'power up' crystals, but find his way about too! No complaints from the lad, though, he just gets stuck in. After all, the more ground there is to cover, the more things/people/monsters there are to blow into small, smouldering pieces.
The sheer variety of foes is daunting. Level One's is the totally evil hammerfist creature. It's a huge gauntlet that tries to pound Turrican into the ground, and all he can do is shoot back. Later levels have even more joys to discover, all of which grow in nastiness proportional to the level number. If there's a giant piranha on level three, then what on earth awaits any player lucky (unlucky?) enough to make it to the industrial world where Morgul himself is shacked up?
Of course, just as there's more than one way to skin a cat (big knife, scalpel, dead, alive, etc), there's more than one way to shoot back. Turrican, like all good heroes, can make super-weapons out of the bodies of his enemies. Some leave jewels behind, and each colour has a different effect. Green jewels, for example, switch Turri from his normal three-shot rifle to a pulse laser. If more greens are bagged, the jewels increase both the range and pokeiness of the blast. The best shooter by far, though, is the boy's laser whip. Pressing fire with the joystick centred sends Turrican into a crouch. Out of the barrel of his gun, a solid beam of white-hot laser death leaps. What's more, this beam can be swept in an arc killing all it contacts.
The laser whip comes in handy on the later stages not only to help waste a few more of Morgul's nightmare beasts, but in locating the right route. Blocks commonly have to be blasted out of the wall to create a corridor, and a sweep with the laser whip soon shows up the solid from the fake - although not all hidden corridors lead in the right direction.
Turrican's true glory, though, is not won on the field of battle - he can hold his own with anyone there - but in the scale and stunning nature of the worlds he fights on. The creatures themselves are monstrous creations that range from cute red bats to huge, hero-eating fish, from the lowliest amoeba to leaping skulls on springs. Remember, Morgul is the Lord of Fear and Darkness, so any kind of horrific creature is likely to spring out at any time.
The worst nightmare encountered in pursuit of war, injustice and the Turrican way, is World Three. You've heard of Disneyland, well this is Geigerland, a monstrous theme park of pain. Just like the hive of Geiger's Allen (the eponymous monster that's forever fighting Sigourney Weaver), World Three is a mass of crystalline webs and bones. Set on the diagonal, Turri must hurry if he's to avoid the bacteria that doubles in size every time it's touched. This is a history-making nasty, because if you get it wrong it's past tense time.
Turrican is not just a platform leap-about. There are stages where the boy dons his jet pack and flies upwards through huge girders, continually hassled by vast creatures. These levels are the hardest of all, simply because once Turri starts to scroll there ain't no stopping him. There's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, he just hangs in the air, an inviting target for any passing nightmare to shoot at. To make matters worse, he doesn't even get his laser whip, as there's nowhere for him to stand!
The final twist to the game lies in the time limits allowed for each section of a world. More than generous to begin with, they soon take on Scrooge-like characteristics, giving the would-be hero mere nanoseconds (seems like it, anyway) to kill twenty beasts and clear three sections of a world. Don't you just love a challenge?
Turrican contains those wonderful moments, sadly absent in most games, where having successfully conquered an area you literally have to leap into the unknown. Set on platforms there are many occasions where Turri has to leap out into space totally ignorant of what lies below. Most of the time it's safe, and there's only monsters walking! On other occasions though, there are waterfalls or gaping chasms that swallow up mankind's last chance in a very fatal fashion.
For adventurous, blasting fun, it's hard to think of anything better than Turrican. It combines the elements of an arcade adventure brilliantly with the pace and power of a full-blooded platform shoot-out. The array of weaponry makes life fun, while the challenge of route-finding makes the brain and reactions work overtime. Its size and toughness makes this one a real stayer, while the graphics style ensures it will appear fresh for a long time yet. There's a storm force wind of change blowing through action games. It comes from Rainbow Arts and it's called Turrican!
A really good game. Lots of disgusting things to kill and excellent parallax scrolling. It's also a very big game that's going to keep you going for a long, long time.
Green Screen View
Complex mix of colour makes life tricky at times.
First Day Target Score
Finish World One, Section Two.
Tough going in parts.