I know what you’re all thinking: why have another Turrican title on the Virtual Console when we’ve only recently been blessed with the delights of the sublime Super Turrican – especially when you consider these 16-bit titles look very much the same? However, while it’s true that Mega and Super Turrican do share some design elements, they’re far from identical.
Graphically, there’s little to pick between them; although the SNES instalment is slightly more colourful, the Genesis game gives a pretty good account of itself in this regard. One area it can’t compete in is special effects, as the Genesis lacks the fancy scaling and transparency abilities of Nintendo’s 16-bitter. Still, those clever chaps at Factor 5 do their best and the humble console is called upon to perform some pretty startling stuff.
Sonically, the gulf is a little more pronounced. The music in the Genesis game is positively tame compared to the screaming guitar tracks heard in Super Turrican and the sound effects are also pretty limp; this is to be expected when you consider the weaker sound chip contained in Sega’s console.
It would be unfair to review this game without making reference to the superbly goofy anime-style intro; to this day I still can’t decided if I really like it or find it repulsively terrible. You can decide for yourself on that score!
With the first impressions out of the way we can focus on the game proper. In terms of action, Mega Turrican has few rivals on Sega’s machine; with the exception of Gunstar Heroes, this is easily the most action-packed platform shooter available for the console, and the sheer amount of destruction occurring on-screen pushes the host hardware to breaking point.
Level design is also commendable, with plenty of variety to experience. As I said in my Super Turrican review, I still think Western developers lack the skills of their Japanese counterparts when it comes to 2D design, but the backgrounds and enemy design seen here are pretty impressive anyway. Taking a leaf out of the ‘Treasure’ videogame design book, Factor 5 has packed Mega Turrican with a whole range of intimidating boss battles and the pacing of these encounters (mid-bosses are the order of the day here) is excellent.
Turrican fans will be pleased to know the game doesn’t make any really sweeping changes to the format that got so much acclaim on the C64 and the Amiga; the biggest addition to the gameplay is the grappling hook, which works like the one seen in Capcom’s Bionic Commando. It allows the player to access hard-to-reach areas and really opens up the gameplay possibilities.
Given the close proximity of their release dates, it’s inevitable that Super and Mega Turrican are going to be compared to each other; the obvious question is, which one do you pick to download? There’s no easy answer to this; as previously stated the games look very much alike but there’s no denying that they are separate entities within the Turrican universe. Personally I prefer the SNES version to this as the music is far superior and the entire experience seems a lot more well-rounded, but in all honesty both are worthy of your attention.