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