Turrican

aka: Hurrican
Moby ID: 5656
Amiga Specs
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Description official descriptions

Three-headed demon Morgul has been influencing people's dreams to create nightmares, but more recently these nightmares have become real. Only Turrican can save them in this fast paced side scrolling shoot-em up. It features 5 worlds and 13 levels of challenging gameplay.

Gameplay is conceptually simple: just jump, shoot and explore. However, this game puts a lot of emphasis on finding and using the 10 different weapons Turrican can collect.

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Credits (Amiga version)

9 People

A Game By
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Idea & Gamedesign
Graphics
Music & Soundeffects
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Additional Graphics
Produced by
Managing Director
Cover Artwork

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 51 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 120 ratings with 2 reviews)

Turrican-can

The Good
Huge, expansive levels even on the ZX Spectrum, and lots and lots of action and colourful graphics which actually get better as the game goes on.

The Bad
The gameplay was essentially a matter of running from left to right whilst firing constantly in all directions - which is true of many games, but moreso in this case. The screen only provides a small 'window' into the game world, and you often find yourself leaping towards the right edge of the screen with no clear idea of where you will land. The 16-bit and Commodore C64 versions apparently had a very good soundtrack, which was not present in the Spectrum version.

The Bottom Line
This was part of a New Wave of Platform Games, combining the fast action of console titles with the weapons and upgrades of shoot-em-ups such as Nemesis/Gradius and R-Type. It was notable for its enormous levels and its impressive sense of scale, and the game is fondly remembered nowadays. It would really benefit from having a much larger screen resolution, and the enemies are often unavoidable, but it's good fun; a bit like the later Commander Keen games, but with weapons. The graphics and general architecture had a metallic, and later bio-mechanical look to them that was very influential (and widely copied), and the idea of having a gun that you can rotate around you like a wand was very clever although it might have been first used in "Midnight Resistance". Indeed, Turrican managed to provide a contemporary arcade game experience on a home computer, and was a particularly impressive feat on the aging Sinclair Spectrum (it was a boring multiload, although I think the 128kb version reduced this to a degree).

ZX Spectrum · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2005

Revolutionary platformer game on 8-bit computers?

The Good
Rainbow Arts had a reputation of making obvious ripoffs from popular games (like the Great Giana Sisters from Super Mario Brothers and Katakis from R-Type), Turrican is also not a very original concept (inspired by... Metroid? Megaman? Contra?), but what it does, it EXCELS at it!

Let's see... technical wise, we have 8-way scrolling, on backgrounds that are not just black and have occasional parallax scrolling. The sprites are big and detailed and the bosses are HUGE! Many things can happen on the screen at once. The levels are also gigantic and there are many of them (this means long loading sessions between levels although). The Commodore 64 version is the original, it has very smooth scrolling and crisp animations. The Speccy and CPC ports are a little bit simplified, have more chunky scrolling and less frames in their animations, but they are as good as the systems could handle them. The ZX Spectrum version has fortunately very minimal "color bleeding", and the Amstrad CPC conversion has redrawn graphics to accommodate it's capabilities, not just copied directly from the Spectrum.

We not only have impressive programming feats here, but also very good playability. The gameplay is simple to get into. Our goal is to find the exit of the level, and blast away the foes or defeat boss creatures that get in our way. We have a primary gun weapon that blasts forward, a secondary rapid fire weapon that can be turned around in 360 degrees (very handy and it's always there), a finite amount of "smart bombs", we can lay mines, and we can also turn into an indestructible rolling wheel. We have power ups: +1 lives, multiple kind of projectiles, weapon upgrades, health restorers, temporary invincibility, etc. These are often hidden in hard to find places, so there is much to explore. Occasionally they are hidden in Mario-style boxes. In the C64 version, we can stomp on some enemies, also like in Mario. We can collect gems, 100 gem gives a continue in case we loose all our lives.

The game is difficult, but NOT IMPOSSIBLE! The difficulty comes from intentional design, like enemy placement or level layout, and not because of bugs or technical limitations. I enjoy playing this game without the usual frustration that most of the games on these systems cause. There are auto scrolling shootemup levels to break the formula here and there. And the game has an outro animation too!

The Bad
The 16-bit ports have excellent background musics by Chris Huelsbeck, the Commodore 64 has a title soundtrack and melodic sound effects, but the Speccy and CPC versions have only a handful of dull noises (because of their limitations I guess).

From tape the loading times are very long (limitations again).

The game forgets the enemies that go off-screen. (RAM limitation?) Also, enemies are often seen to get stuck in walls.

The time limit is strict. Was it really important to put that in after all?

There are no Atari 800 or MSX-1 ports, although those systems are in dire need for a game like this! :)

On the Speccy and CPC this game is better than it's sequel! :D

The Bottom Line
Okay, perhaps not all that revolutionary, but can't think of an arcade-platformer-shootemup game of this magnitude on the Commodore 64 and low end Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum models. This is really next generation gameplay brought to obsolete (even back then) hardware, with the maximum care they could take.

Oh, and "Bustin' makes me feel so good!"

Amstrad CPC · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2013

Discussion

Subject By Date
no one but me cares about cover art Pseudo_Intellectual (66323) Oct 20, 2011

Trivia

Conversions

Turrican was originally created by Manfred Trenz for Commodore 64 and later it was ported to different systems. The creator was involved only in making the conversions of the title for Amiga (that basically happened in the same time as C64 creation of the game) and NES. For the latter he wasn't particularly satisfied. Due to short development time it had to be deprived of some gameplay elements and didn't feature the same degree of difficulty. Trenz was not involved in development of the conversion of the game on any other system.

Cover

The cover art for the Game Boy, Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 was painted by Julie Bell and is entitled Turrican.

Development

As being very attached to the smallest details, Trenz painstakingly drew each level by hand on the sheets of paper in his notebook. He started by preparing a grid where each square corresponded to a real screen in the game. Then he developed his own tools that helped him creating graphics, levels using 8x8 blocks as well as objects for taking care Turrican's enemies. The biggest development issue was the scrolling and it happened on both: C64 and Amiga. At first C64 was struggling with scrolling the graphic that consisted of tiles, and on Amiga because it had to be redrawn into bitmaps.

Inspiration

Turrican borrowed ideas from many different games and movies. However the main concept of heavily armoured hero that was jumping around and shooting was taken from Manfred Trenz's favourite arcade game - Psycho-Nics-Oscar. Some graphic elements from this game were also applied in Turrican. In the interview in Retro Gamer 21, Trenz also mentioned Metroid as the source of the concept for some power-ups.

Player character

The player character was originally much thinner, but feedback from a British associate ("too girly") convinced the developers to make a last minute change. The original character can be seen on the Amiga back cover.

References

The title screen of Turrican was obviously inspired by the cover of the Manowar album Kings of Metal.

Remake

In June 2007, a freeware Windows remake with the title Hurrican was released.

Title

The name Turrican comes from the Italian name "Turricano", which the developers found in a phone book of Düsseldorf (Germany).

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 01/1991 – Best Action Game in 1990
  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (issue #00) - #88 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
  • Commodore Format
    • July 1991 (Issue 10) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1991 - Best Sound in 1990 (Amiga version)
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #100 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
  • ST Format
    • Issue 01/1991 – #5 Best Shoot-'em-Up Game in 1990 (Atari ST)

Information also contributed by irelandgamer94 and Sciere.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by quizzley7.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. Genesis added by POMAH. Amiga added by Famine3h. TurboGrafx-16 added by RKL. ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST added by Martin Smith. BlackBerry added by MAT. CDTV added by ケヴィン.

Additional contributors: Timo W., Mobygamesisreanimated, Yearman, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added January 28, 2002. Last modified April 11, 2024.