Turrican Anthology I &II. Review. Welcome to TURRICAN ...HA HA HA HA!

  In the early 90's the rise of 16-bit gaming started to take shape and a little known studio names Factor 5  (Yes! that factor 5 from r...


In the early 90's the rise of 16-bit gaming started to take shape and a little known studio names Factor 5 (Yes! that factor 5 from rogue squadron) released Turrican. A platform shooter that would spawn a number of sequels and various release versions for consoles and computers such as the Amiga. The series was considered by many as nothing short of ground-breaking, mixing non-stop action in large levels with tons of exploration. A true highlight was the soundtrack which was unrivaled at the time created by German composer Chris Huelsbeck.

In their effort of revamping and breathing new life in many classic retro games, ININ has tackled this legendary series and brought it back for PlayStation and Switch in not one, but two volumes.

Each volume brings a series of enhancement to the graphics and sound and includes cheats, rewinds, classic gameplay, CRT shaders and more. 
The games included with volume I are: 
  • Turrican (Amiga)
  • Turrican 2 (Amiga)
  • Super Turrican (Super Nintendo Entertainment System™)
  • Super Turrican Director's Cut (Super Nintendo Entertainment System™)
  • Mega Turrican Score Attack (Genesis/Mega Drive)

And the games in volume II are: 
  • Turrican 3 (Amiga)
  • Mega Turrican (Genesis/Mega Drive)
  • Mega Turrican Director's Cut (Genesis/Mega Drive)
  • Super Turrican 2 (Super Nintendo Entertainment System™)
  • Super Turrican 1 Score Attack (Super Nintendo Entertainment System™)

The story of Turrican does not follow the same path among the different releases. On computer versions You fight Morgul, the cause of all fears and nightmares of mankind. On consoles you start the story on the lost colony of Alterra powered by a bio engineered ecosystem known as M.O.R.G.U.L. 
Whichever storyline you want to stick too, in the end all that matters is that you are a bad ass warrior in a mechanical suit that turns you into a living weapon. 

Turrican is a run 'n gun style platformer. Each world contains two or three distinct areas, each of them being wide open areas or large mazes with various secret areas hiding stashes of items and especially extra lives encouraging exploration. The exploration is somewhat limited due to a timer that keeps the pressure on for you to ensure you hurry up. In terms of weaponry, the player is equipped with a forward firing gun and a lightning whip which is activated by holding the fire button, allowing the player to fire in all directions at the cost of being unable to move while the weapon is active. The player also carries limited use special weapons which can be activated by pressing its corresponding button on the computer versions or cycled through in the console versions. By crouching and pressing the special weapon button the player character will transform into a buzzsaw, moving forward continuously while causing damage to any enemy it touches; this maneuver can only be used three times for each life and cannot be replenished.  Instead of being killed on impact you are equipped with a shield that slowly depletes when being hit, allowing you to survive a series of attacks. 

Each anthology comes with multiple releases of the games (see above) and a bunch of options to adjust the game to your liking. The graphics are not fully remade but have been polished and upscaled to work well on your systems without slowdown and with a consistent framerate. It allows for modern gaming control schemes, or you can switch between controls of one of the other retro consoles the game was released on. You will find a standard mode that allows cheats, save states and Rewind and then there is a challenge mode which is the way the game was indented to be played when it came out decades ago. 

From there you can adjust the look of the game with various shaders including giving it a curved CRT look to bring back the look and feel of the game to how you played it back in the day or make it full screen with sharpened visuals. Choices like these are nice and allow you to find a balance that work for them personally. Each game also comes with a scanned in version of the original manual for extra nostalgia as well. I would have loved some extras with original artwork in there as well, but perhaps such a thing was not available. 

Each Anthology also comes with a Director's cut and a Score attack map which is a larger map and as the name indicates is a score challenge you can take on to see who the better player is. Ultimately, they feel a bit like filler to the full original games even if they are well executed.

Perhaps the best part of Turrican is the absolutely amazing soundtrack through the series. There are a few lesser songs but most of them are absolute bangers that were on a whole other level when the games were released and still hold up very well to this day. An amazing blend of electronics, synthpop and screaming guitars has you tapping your feet and bopping your head throughout. It also seems to have the benefit to really get into the zone as you tackle the countless enemies and traps heading your way.  The music created back then is good enough to play "out of the box" but ININ did not leave it at that, and you can actually switch your songs to play the OG or play the CD ROM version and even a fully remastered studio version and the switch is totally worth it. Additionally, if you want to just enjoy the official soundtrack (OST) you can hop into the jukebox mode and listen to your hearts content.

Final thoughts
The Turrican Anthology I& 2 brings a ton of content for the retro gamer and especially for Turrican fans. You get access to a bunch of releases and special editions suck as directors cut and you can setup the game in any way you feel comfortable with. From as is to adding the CRT scanlines, curvature and more. The soundtrack is still taking names and chest thumping as it always has been, and the gameplay is a palm sweat inducing challenge that is not afraid to punch you in the mouth and dare you to ask for more. If only cheats did not have to be unlocked, but the easier mode included is a welcome addition if you need a little reprieve.
My biggest problem with the game is the price and that it is split in two anthologies. It makes the entry price to enjoy all the versions too high at $70 is you want to own both. If you cannot get both now, then which one to choose is a matter of preference and which game has the best memories for you. Hopefully we see a combo deal in the near future. Regardless the high cost it you are a Turrican fan release is still something to consider.

Game: Turrican Anthology I & Turrican Anthology II
Publisher: ININ
Developer: Factor 5
Release Date: July 29, 2022
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation
Review Platform PlayStation 4/5
ESRB: E 10+  for Fantasy Violence 
34.99 EUR/USD

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks 


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