Review: Super Turrican 2 (SNES)

As the last survivor of the United Freedom Forces, it is your duty to destroy the Machine’s forces that have devastated the galaxy.

The Turrican series began life on the Commodore 64 computer and would soon see quite a few releases on the various personal computers of the time period. The series made its first appearance on a console with the Sega Mega Drive release of Mega Turrican and would later see two releases on the Super NES console in the forms of Super Turrican and Super Turrican 2. Super Turrican 2 took the series in a more action-oriented direction, but many fans felt like the game became more of a showcase of the Super Nintendo's Mode-7 special effects and lost some of the lengthy level designs that had become such a staple of the series. That being said, there's no denying that Super Turrican 2 is one of the best run-n-gun titles of the 16-bit era and a testament to its original creator's grand vision for the series.

While most action titles lack an in-depth storyline, Super Turrican 2 features a very nice intro along with an ongoing cutscene story telling feature as you progress through the game. The story in the game follows the relief efforts of the USS-Avalon as it sends in rescue fighters to help out a small star system caught up in an endlessly spiraling black hole and being attacked by an evil being known as "the machine."

Your fighter wears a special Turrican Assault Suit that provides him with all the firepower he'll need on his mission with everything from a weapon with variable types of cannon fire to a grappling hook he can use to latch onto ledges. The game features quite a few different styles of levels. The standard portion of the game is basically a run-n-gun effort that resembles a cross between Contra and Metroid. In these levels it's all business as you run through the various terrain shooting everything that gets in your way. There will also be times when you can board a vehicle and these take on a slightly different control method. You'll still have to jump over obstacles and shoot your way through the level, but controlling the speed of the vehicle becomes a huge part of the process as well. Suffice it to say, there's never a letdown in the intensity or diversity of what each level holds for you.

The control in Super Turrican is extremely smooth and responsive. The game also gives you enough variations in game play to keep things interesting without overwhelming you with a myriad of button configurations to remember. Learning the use the grappling hook is probably the most challenging aspect of the game play, but once you get it down, you'll find yourself swinging through danger in each level with ease. As with most games of this type, you'll face off with a boss at the end of each level, which will further test your skills and use of your various weaponry.

The visuals in Super Turrican 2 are among the best ever seen in the series. Since this is a Super Nintendo release, there's no shortage of flashy Mode-7 special effects. There is one flying level where you'll find your ship spiraling inside of a rotating energy field that looks quite amazing, especially given that this game is running on 16-bit hardware. The detail in each level is extremely well done, and the vibrant color usage further adds to the visual flare of the game. It's also nice that each area has its own unique look and visual style so you'll never find the game repetitive from a graphics standpoint. It's easily one of the better-looking Super Nintendo action titles.

While the musical effort in Super Turrican is solid, it sometimes feels like it blends into the background too much during the really intense portions of the levels. The ambient feel is great for the spookier parts of the game, but when the action heats up, the music doesn't seem to heat up with it. There's honestly not a bad musical track in the entire game, but there will be those times when you wish for a more hard-rocking musical score to carry the game's intensity along a bit better. The sound effects are outstanding and there are enough explosions to keep even the most ardent action gamer happy.

Conclusion

The sheer variety in the various levels alone makes Super Turrican worth any action gaming fan's time. If your a fan of the run-n-gun titles, this one should be at the top of your Virtual Console wish list. For those who like a little more variety in the game play, you'll easily find enough game play variations to keep you interested in the game long enough to complete it. Super Turrican 2 is still one of the best action titles to come out of the 16-bit era and has stood the test of time quite well. Maybe someday we'll actually see another release from this amazing series.