Ever wondered what happens when a Western developer takes inspiration from the Japanese and decides to create a ‘run and gun’ game with flashy graphics, amazing special effects and killer gameplay? Well wonder no more, because Super Turrican is one such game.
Originally released on the C64, the first Turrican game was a masterpiece of skilful programming and brilliant gameplay. 16-bit conversions soon followed, culminating in the impressive Megadrive/Genesis Mega Turrican and the superlative Super Turrican 1 & 2 for Nintendo’s SNES, the first of which is obviously the subject of this review. These games were developed by Factor 5, which is the same Factor 5 that coded the ‘Rogue Squadron’ Star Wars titles for the N64/GameCube.
To sum up Super Turrican in simple terms, it plays like the bastard child of Konami’s Contra and Nintendo’s Metroid. Usually, when a company tries to pay tribute/rip off the ideas found in other great games, the result is fairly messy and unfocused; other imitators of classic titles fail to get the end product to gel effectively, but Factor 5 was unquestionably successful.
Graphically, it’s a real delight to behold, with appealing futuristic design and a smattering of Mode 7 effects to remind you just what the SNES is capable of. You could argue that although the developers obviously harbour an admiration of Japanese game design, Super Turrican is still not quite as polished as Contra III, but this comment could be purely down to personal taste. As far as aesthetics go, the game is a winner no matter how you look at it.
Sonically, things are slightly less assured, but again personal preference may creep into the equation here – if you’re a fan of cheesy electro-rock then you should be fairly happy with what greets your ears as Super Turrican boots up.
The gameplay is what really shines though, and as was mentioned before, the giddy mixture of classic titles makes for a particularly arresting gaming experience. One moment you’re blasting chunks out of enemies with your wide range of weaponry. Then, to top things off, you discover the ability to morph into a destructive ball – Samus-fashion – and take on the malevolent hordes with super-powerful explosives. It’s a joyfully chaotic combination of ideas, yet it works brilliantly and is lots of fun to boot.
For a game that pays homage to the tough-as-old-boots classic Contra, a steep difficultly level should be expected. Super Turrican gives a tremendous degree of challenge, but doesn’t feel quite as unforgiving as Konami’s sadistic epic – you can decide for yourself if that’s a good or bad thing. In conclusion, Super Turrican is an awesome release and should be downloaded by blaster fans everywhere.