Turrican Anthology Vol. I & II are now available digitally
Stuttgart, Germany – 29 July, 2022 – Get your Turrican suit ready and be prepared to fight against evil-doers, because Turrican Anthology Vol. I & II are now digitally available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4® (PS4). Originally developed by Factor 5, ININ Games brings these iconic cult classics to the modern gaming world in two separate anthologies. It is time to re-experience some of the best retro action games ever, with a soundtrack by the iconic Chris Huelsbeck.
Turrican Anthology Vol. I & II contain ten Turrican games across two separate collections, from the Amiga, SNES, and Genesis/Mega Drive era. Celebrated as a ground-breaking video game series, Turrican was mixing exploration with non-stop action, and one of video game’s finest soundtracks by legendary German composer Chris Huelsbeck. Both collections of games are now available as a download title for Nintendo Switch and PS4.
Get ready to play through the most epic moments in Turrican’s history:
Turrican II (Amiga)
Super Turrican (SNES)
Super Turrican Director’s Cut (SNES)
Mega Turrican Score Attack (Genesis/Mega Drive)
A story of times long gone by, tells us of the three-headed Morgul,
who lives a secluded life in his kingdom. This Morgul is the cause of
all the fears and nightmares of mankind. It is furthermore said, that
in ancient times he was banished to an unknown dimension by the hero
Devolon. Fear and sleepless nights disappeared out of the people’s
For some time now people have again been tormented by nightmares and
suffer from a serious state of dread and fear. Hardly anybody dares to
set a foot onto the streets at night and a dreadful fear that Morgul
has returned to his kingdom is alive in the people’s minds again. As
the only man on earth whose courage has not yet deserved him, you are
sent off, once again to free human kind from its burdon of fear. You
have been armed with the latest weapons and technical equipment for
this mission. Find Morgul in his kingdom, and destroy him for once and
In Turrican you will guide your hero through five different worlds, in
which he will be confronted by various perils. Three of these worlds
extend over three levels, the remaining two worlds over two levels.
Ever changing enemies, will constantly try to destroy you. You will
have to use your weapons skilfully in order to survive the varied
levels. To aid you in battle, you may gather up weapons and other
extras on your way, e.g. forceshields and extra lives.
Examine every level closely you will find new surprises and useful
[This is referring to the invisible ‘bonus squares’ scattered around
which spew lots of goodies when jumped through (they’re always in the
air, I think). Go left and up from the starting position on the very
first level to find one, and a bonus life.]
For several years after its release, the Amiga suffered from more than a few sub-par game ports which failed to capitalize on the platform’s technical strengths. The Atari ST, while not as powerful as the Amiga, was out-selling its rival by a considerable factor, making Atari’s 16-bit offering the primary choice for most developers. The two computers also featured the same CPU, the Motorola 68000, and with most games appearing on the more popular ST first, developers often took the quicker (and cheaper) route of doing quick Amiga ports based on the existing ST version, without writing any code that would exploit the former’s superior graphics and audio hardware.
Full marks then to German software publisher Rainbow Arts and independent developer Factor 5 who saw the Amiga for what it was and were determined to showcase exactly what it could do in the right hands. On its release in 1990, Turrican stunned reviewers who fell over themselves to heap superlatives on the game, and with good cause. While Shadow of the Beast from Psygnosis was released the previous year and had wowed everyone with its graphics and audio, the gameplay left a lot to be desired. Turrican would suffer no such problems…
The game was orignially released for the Commodore 64 and remains a gaming high point for the 8bit wonder machine. Running at 50 frames per second and pushing the 64’s hardware to the limit, it was inevitable that 16-bit versions would follow. Factor 5 were determined to wring every last ounce of performance they could get from the more powerful 16-bit chipsets.
Turrican is a run-and-gun platform shoot-em-up, influenced by titles such as Nintendo’s Metroid. The player must defeat the three-headed Morgul, an evil entity banished eons ago to another dimension. Morgul has grown in strength and has begun to plague mankind from his inter-dimensional stronghold. Armed with the latest technology in the form of the Turrican suit, a highly armored, heavily weaponized exoskeleton, the player must enter the Morgul’s kingdom which extends over five distinct worlds. Each world is composed of multiple levels, swarming with enemies and defensive units, intent on taking the player out.
On starting the game, the player is equipped with a single shot weapon, which won’t see you very far. Fortunately, multiple weapons and power-ups are available throughout each level, some floating across the landscape, which can be collected by contact with the player and others contained in hidden power-up blocks which magically appear when hit with the player’s fire. Further shots
pumped into these blocks will cause other weapons and power-up icons to appear, which the player can then collect. There are two weapons available: multiple (a 3-way firing weapon) and lasers (handy for slicing through multiple enemies at a time).
Multiple is extremely efficient when traversing platforms out in the open,
though it’s not the beefiest of
weapons. Lasers offer much more penetration and are vital when confronting any of the larger enemies or guardians which populate the different worlds of Turrican.
As well as the standard gun weapons, the player can activate a lightning beam from their gun by holding down the fire button. This beam can be directed 360 degrees by rotating the fire button; it’s an awesome sight and a real life-saver when under attack from above or below.
The Turrican suit has an additional devastating card up its metal sleeve in the form of the power line. Pressing the space bar will emit two vertical lines, emanating from the player’s position, that sweep left and right across the screen, decimating (or severely damaging) any enemies in their path. Should the power beams come into contact with any scenery or structures, that part of the beam will be destroyed so it’s most effective when used out in the open. Even in more cramped surroundings, it’s still an indispensable tool for clearing your path of multiple bad guys. Be warned though, you only have a limited amount of these power lines (four to begin with) though more can be collected from the power up blocks found on each level.
Additionally, the player can also plant mines. By crouching down and holding the fire button for a second, an explosive device is planted that can take out or damage any enemies bearing down on you. You’re impervious to damage from your own mines so feel free to go hot-footing it over them if you need to beat a retreat from the opposite direction.
The final feature in the Turrican suit’s considerable arsenal is the gyroscope mode; holding down the fire button and pressing the space bar allows the player to transform into a spiked gyro. The player is impervious to all damage while in gyro mode, although you can still lose one of your lives by tumbling into an abyss. You can also fire your normal weapons and unleash power lines while in nongyro mode. While it might sound like a feature that will make the game too easy, gyro mode has its limitations. As mentioned, you still need to watch out for bottomless pits. It’s also impossible to traverse slopes or structures, or to remain in one spot since you’re constantly in motion, either rolling left or right. At best the gyro mode is good for getting out of tight spots or buying you a few precious seconds of invulnerability when the chips are down.
Graphics and audio
As we’ve said before, Turrican’s graphics are a marvel. This is a game that seriously pushes the Amiga’s hardware to the limit. There’s a staggering amount of detail throughout, both in the landscape and the various enemies that block your path, with countless visual flourishes that set a new bar for Amiga game graphics. The Turrican sprite itself is beautifully animated; if you look closely, a shadow falls on the player’s gun as you run adding a wonderful sense of depth. In fact the animation all round is a joy to behold. The still images in this review don’t do it justice; this is a game you need to see moving. The control of Turrican is pitch perfect too, with the player easily traversing the game’s many perilous ledges and platforms. Almost nowhere is out of reach which lends a huge sense of depth and immersion to each level.
Audio-wise, the game is no less than stunning. The Amiga’s sound chip is put through its paces, generating glorious, full-stereo effects for the game’s weapons and explosions,
And of course, no review of Turrican can be complete without mentioning the music of Chris Huelsbeck. It’s fair to say that Huelsbeck’s compositions for the game represent something of a watershed moment for Amiga games music. This was no collection of bleeps and identikit drum patterns gamers were listening to; Turrican features carefully and beautifully crafted melodies, with actual chord changes and multiple instruments used in each track. Small wonder that in recent years, the music from the Turrican soundtrack and its sequels have featured in the Symphonic Games Music Concerts, a testament to the enduring legacy of one of the all-time great computer game soundtracks.
Turrican represented a major leap forward for Amiga games, in particular how developers approached the platform when porting existing titles. While there are numerous examples of previous releases which would showcase the machine’s technical power, few of them match Turrican’s level of graphical/audio achievements and its immense playability. Above all else, Turrican is just so much fun to play, an element sadly lacking from many Amiga shooters both before and after. It’s this perfect combination of technical excellence and playability that floored reviewers and punters alike in 1990 and which set the bar very high for all subsequent shoot-‘em-ups on the Amiga. Impressive though Turrican was however, it would eventually be out-classed in almost every department by its own sequel, Turrican 2, which would appear in 1991. Check back soon for our review of a game which, in our humble opinion, represents the pinnacle of Amiga gaming.
In 1990, German developers Rainbow Arts turned the Amiga gaming world on its head with the release of Turrican, a sprawling run-and-gun shoot-‘em-up which not only pushed the Amiga’s hardware to the limit but proved that beautiful looking games could actually be playable too.
Critics heaped superlatives on Turrican which received numerous honors at various award shows.
The bar had been set pretty high and it would take Rainbow Arts themselves, along with developers Factor 5, to not only match but out-do the original Turrican with its sequel Turrican 2 – The Final Fight, released in 1991.
Turrican 2’s comic-book opening sequence sets the scene as the Avalon 1 spaceship charts a previously unexplored region of the galaxy. With state-of-the-art defences and weapons systems, the Avalon is considered by its crew to be impervious to any harm. Suddenly, the ship’s defence systems activate and an enormous battlecruiser materializes off the Avalon’s port side.
After a brief exchange of fire the Avalon’s defence systems are rendered inert by the attackers and the ship is boarded by hordes of alien invaders. The human explorers fight bravely but are hopelessly outnumbered; eventually the alien attackers are triumphant. A deathly hush descends on the ship as the aliens’ commander, a sinister overlord known simply as ‘The Machine’, boards the stricken vessel to view the spoils of victory. Satisfied that there are no survivors, The
Machine and his army leave the ravaged
Lone survivor Bren McGuire then
attack emerges from the wreckage to survey the
devastation. Making his way to the
weapons division of the ship, McGuire dons the newest iteration of the Turrican suit, and raising one fist to the sky, vows his revenge on The Machine.
The gameplay of Turrican 2 is very similar to that of its predecessor. The player controls Bren McGuire, running from left to right and traversing the game’s many platforms and ledges while battling a huge assortment of bad guys. The opening level sees the player in the desert on the outskirts of The Machine’s stronghold, armed with only a single shot weapon. As in the original Turrican, weapon upgrades are available throughout each level, sometimes floating around as icons which can be collected on contact, sometimes hidden in invisible power blocks which appear when hit with the player’s fire and which continue to spew out various weapons upgrades and other treasures when shot repeatedly.
The game imposes a time limit on each level but it’s pretty generous, meaning the player is free to explore without constantly watching the clock. And a good thing too because Turrican 2’s levels are HUUUGE. We really mean that. It’s quite easy to get lost in some of the later levels in particular, leading to a frantic search for the exit as the precious seconds tick down.
As in the original game, the levels across Turrican 2 are divided into distinct worlds, each with its own look and music. The level designs are ingenious. Although the game is a traditional multidirectional sideways scroller, you never feel hemmed in. In fact, it’s possible to complete many of the levels without ever even seeing a substantial portion of each level. This makes Turrican 2 a joy to replay, as you explore previously unseen sections of the labyrinthine worlds.
As an added bonus, Turrican takes to the skies for three of the later levels, acquiring a fighter craft from the enemy and turning its weapons against them. Not many other arcade games of the time throw a whole other game style into the mix halfway through proceedings.
Various improvements and additions have been made to the Turrican suit since the first game.
Turrican 2 features three main weapons, as opposed to the player’s arsenal of just two in the first game.
The player can still upgrade the original single shot weapon to multiple, a three-way weapon which is indispensable in the game’s many crowded tunnels and dungeons. Lasers also make a return from the first game, but they’ve received a serious overhaul.
Unlike the original’s long slender beam of light, Turrican 2’s full-strength laser weapon is a sight to behold, an enormous wave of fire and plasma slicing through enemies with a glorious whoosh. Multiple is easier for long range combat, not to mention dispatching enemies at a distance from above or below, but lasers are essential when confronting the larger enemies and guardians that populate the world of Turrican 2.
A new addition to Turrican’s weaponry is the bounce projectile, which splits and bounces around the screen, damaging or destroying any enemies it meets. It’s not particularly useful out in the open or against guardians, but proves very effective at clearing out cramped passageways.
Turrican’s lightning bolt weapon makes a welcome return from the first game but the designers have given it a visual tweak. Instead of a straight line which extends from the player’s gun, the bolt now arcs and curves as the player rotates their weapon 360 degrees; it’s a stunning visual effect. As before, the length of the bolt weapon can be extended by collecting power-up icons, making it a truly devastating weapon at long range.
The original game’s power lines feature again – pressing the space bar emits two vertical plasma beams that originate from the player’s position and sweep across the screen, taking out any bad guys in their paths. The player starts out with three of these but more can be collected along the way.
To complete Turrican’s awesome arsenal, the suit features a mega weapon which can be triggered by pressing down on the joystick while holding the fire button and pressing the space bar. It’s a bit fiddly to activate but once unleashed, all hell breaks loose as every weapon available in the game activates in a four-second orgy of sound and fury. Use it wisely though, as you’re only given one per life. The original game’s gyroscope mode is still present, activated by holding down the joystick and pressing the spacebar, though the three-use limit from Turrican has been removed, meaning the player is free to enter gyro mode whenever the going gets tough.
Graphics and audio
What can we possibly say about Turrican 2’s graphics and sound that hasn’t been said before? It is, quite simply, one of the finest looking arcade games to ever grace the Amiga, making full use of the machine’s color palette and powerful graphics chips.
The shading and detail in the landscape, structures and enemy sprites are stunning.
But if it looks good standing still, wait till you see it move. Super smooth parallax scrolling throughout the game makes you feel like you’re playing on an arcade machine, not a home computer. Each sprite is expertly animated and moves with a fluidity and smoothness that really elevates the game above most of its peers.
The animation for the player sprite in particular, is a sight to behold; you’ll even see a shadow fall on the barrel of the player’s gun as Turrican runs across the screen. Countless other visual flourishes abound, including bridges which bend with the player’s weight as you run across them, underground waterfalls, and the aforementioned 360-degree laser weapon.
The audio receives equal care and attention, with the Amiga’s sound chip working overtime to produce the many explosions and weapon sounds. Sampled voices are even included on one of the later levels, as hordes of giant robots stampede down a factory assembly line, urging the player to “make my day”.
The music in Turrican 2 requires a special mention. For my money, it’s the best game soundtrack in the Amiga’s illustrious history, and one of the finest soundtracks in the history of video game music. Composer Chris Huelsbeck, through the use of some ingenious technical trickery, manages to output seven channels of audio instead of the Amiga’s usual four. The result is pure audio heaven. From the 7-minute main theme which plays over the game’s intro, to the final ending sequence, each of the game’s tracks is a stunning, instrument-rich composition, with the in-game music perfectly matched with each game level. These tracks are not just background noise; they’re proper melodic compositions, with glorious chord changes and harmonies. It’s impossible to pick a favorite track, but standouts include The Wall, Concerto for Lasers and Enemies, Desert Rocks and The Hero, the latter which plays over the scoreboard screen. That’s right, Turrican 2’s music for entering your name on the frigging scoreboard is better than many other Amiga titles’ in-game music. Such is the reverence for Turrican 2’s soundtrack that in 2016, 25 years after the game’s release, composer Chris Huelsbeck created a limited Collector’s Edition Box Set, featuring new live orchestra recordings of music from the game.
Rainbow Arts/Factor 5 really outdid themselves with Turrican 2 pulling out all the stops both technically and creatively. While the original Turrican remains a classic, it always felt like something of a dry run for the sequel. Turrican 2 takes everything the original did, and does it better, while adding its own unique style. Furthermore, it proved that the Amiga was more than capable of holding its own in the face of stiff competition from the next generation consoles. After the introduction of the powerful Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo, many felt that the Amiga’s thunder as a premier games system had been stolen; Turrican 2 put such fears to rest, matching and out-performing most of the console titles of the era.
Marrying technical excellence with artistic prowess on a level rarely seen before or after on the Amiga, the game is a faultless arcade blaster which should take pride of place in any serious Amiga gamer’s collection. Two years later the final game in the trilogy would appear.
Turrican 3 (Amiga)
Mega Turrican (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Mega Turrican Director’s Cut (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Super Turrican 2 (SNES)
Super Turrican Score Attack (SNES)
Both Anthologies also include a variety of newly added content:
A map feature allowing you to scan the whole map
The ability to turn different map layers on and off
Various enhancements on the original map like real-time and overlay maps
Different soundtracks to choose from: emulated, original remastered by Chris Huelsbeck himself or Turrican Soundtrack Anthology music
The option to choose either Amiga, Console or modern controls
Jukebox for each game + Bonus Jukebox
A gallery with never-seen-before concept art
Manual scans for all games
Improved rewind support
Selectable covers for each game
Turrican’s final outing on the Amiga in Turrican 3 (making Turrican 2’s sub-title, The Final Fight, less than accurate) is something of a mixed bag. Judged on its own merits it’s a perfectly serviceable and entertaining shoot-‘em-up, once again showcasing the Amiga’s strengths as the premier games platform of its time. But coming after the near flawless Turrican 2 and the ground-breaking original Turrican, the swansong of the trilogy always had a lot to live up to, something it doesn’t quite manage. As the game’s comic-book style opening sequence informs us, eons have passed since the defeat of the evil overlord known as The Machine, Turrican 2’s main antagonist. However, The Machine is back, terrorizing the galaxy once more and enslaving countless people across numerous planets. The USS Freedom Forces deploys Bren McGuire in the mechanized Turrican suit once again to take on the forces of The Machine and rid the galaxy once and for all of this evil overlord. With the plot established, it’s time for the blasting to begin and first impressions, graphically at least, are not good.
Graphics The clean, polished visuals of the first two games have been replaced with a darker, muddier look. It’s a bold move; rather than serving up the same visual style a third time, the designers have opted for a complete re-design of the world of Turrican. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work and looks like
a step backward visually. The color scheme on many of the levels just doesn’t have the same sheen to it. The main Turrican sprite has been given an overhaul too; the suit appears bulkier with more formidable looking armor, but its silky-smooth animation as seen in the first two games is no longer present. There’s a slight but noticeable stiffness in Turrican as he moves across the screen. A drab dark navy strip at the bottom of the screen hosts information such as lives, score and energy. Overall the visuals fail to impress, remarkable given that Turrican 3 was developed for the more graphically advanced AGA-based Amigas. Scrolling is super-smooth and multi-layered, but by 1993 multiple levels of slick parallax scrolling were a ten-a-penny. Shooters needed something a little different to stand out. Sound and music are of a typically high quality we’ve come to expect from Factor 5 with the music (by Chris Huelsbeck) worthy of special mention. While the soundtrack may not quite equal the dizzying highs of Turrican 2, most of the tracks present are still superb and further cement Huelsbeck’s well-deserved reputation as one of the most talented composers the games industry has ever seen.
Turrican must make his way through a succession of levels, fighting off The Machine’s hordes and collecting valuable power-ups along the way. All the weapons from Turrican and Turrican 2 make a reappearance. You start the game with a single forward firing gun which can be upgraded to a threeway multiple firing weapon. Bounce, as seen in Turrican 2, features again though its firing pattern has been altered. Instead of a single projectile colliding with scenery and bouncing off into multiple smaller projectiles at different angles, Turrican 3’s bounce weapon fires forward, as well as vertically up and down. It’s not particularly useful however unless there are bad guys directly above or below you. The stunning laser weapon from Turrican 2 has, disappointingly, also been tinkered with. While not that impressive in the original Turrican, the full-strength laser weapon in Turrican 2 was a joy to behold, a red and white-hot wall of spear-shaped plasma, cutting through everything in its path. Turrican 3’s laser is, visually at least, at lot less impressive resembling something like small green clouds, with no real depth or sense of power. Turrican can also collect homing rockets from the power-up crates which appear around each level. These rockets will zero in on any bad guys nearby. The one-use superweapon from Turrican 2, which was activated by holding down the joystick and pressing the space bar, is absent which is a pity as unleashing every weapon at your disposal was always a jaw-dropping sight, not to mention useful against some of the larger enemies.
The power lines from the first two games are present again although this time they emanate from the player in a series of concentric circles, widening out until they disappear off screen. The lifesaving gyro mode from the earlier games is also back. Pressing down and holding the fire button for a second will activate gyro mode (this is admittedly a little more convenient than Turrican 2’s downand-spacebar method, which was always a bit tricky to accomplish, especially when under pressure). This time around, there’s a limit imposed on the amount of time you can spend in gyroscope mode. On entering gyro mode, a bar underneath your energy level begins to decrease. Once the bar runs out, you’re immediately changed back to standard suit mode. As an extra challenge, the game makes you wait a short while before you can enter gyro mode again. The biggest change to Turrican’s arsenal of weapons however is the omission of the deadly 360- degree laser weapon. It’s been replaced with… a rope. That’s right, instead of the ability to swirl laser death around your head at incoming enemies, you can now throw a rope at them and run in the opposite direction. I’m being a bit unfair here of course. The rope isn’t intended as a weapon but as a way of reaching inaccessible parts of the screen. You’ll often see bonuses such as energy upgrades or even extra lives floating temptingly in hard-to-reach areas, so you’ll need the rope to reach them. Using the rope is simple enough, though it takes a bit of practice. Holding down the fire button will shoot the rope in whatever direction the gun is aiming (you can shoot it ahead or diagonally). If you’re aiming at something which can be latched on to, the rope will connect to it and the player can ascend to a previously unreachable part of the screen by pushing up on the joystick. They can also lower themselves back down.
To release the rope, hold the fire button again. The rope will flash several times and an upward tap on the joystick will disengage the device. You can also use it to swing across chasms though you’ll need to coordinate disengaging it quite carefully if you’re going to avoid plummeting to your doom. Be warned, while Turrican is using the rope, he’s completely vulnerable. You can’t fire any of your gun weapons though you can still activate power lines, so don’t hang around (aha!) too long while using it. Some parts of the landscape are inaccessible without using the rope. And battling at least one of the end-of-level guardians requires you to constantly swing across the monster’s lair from side to side in an effort to target the monster’s vulnerable spots. This is quite a nice touch as it lends an extra tactical element to combatting a guardian, a welcome change from sitting in one spot, mindlessly pumping a boss full of lead. To be fair to the designers, they’ve clearly tried to inject some new blood into the Turrican series with this radical change. But the 360-degree laser was such a visually impressive and indispensable tool that its omission makes this feel like any other shoot-em-up, not a Turrican game. While the rope introduces a new element to the gameplay, it’s at the cost of one of the most integral and wellloved features of the first two games. There are some entertaining set-pieces throughout, including a frantic sequence jumping across the hoods of cars suspended in mid-air (don’t ask). But overall the gameplay feels a bit tired.
Turrican 3 isn’t a bad game. It’s polished, professional and certainly fun in parts. But its predecessors set an extremely high bar which it can’t reach. Tampering with the mechanics of the game raises an interesting dilemma; change too little and people will complain that it’s just more of the same (a criticism some reviewers aimed at Turrican 2). But change too much and you risk diluting the essence of what made the series so great in the first place. Turrican 3 falls into the latter trap. While entertaining in its own right, it misses out on classic status and remains an interesting but flawed conclusion to arguably the greatest shoot-‘em-up series ever released for the Amiga.
We have covered the 3 Amiga Classics from these 2 Collections and if you love Turrican this is the definative collection go buy it now.