I remember playing a whole lot of Turrican on my Dad’s Amiga in my younger years. Admittedly, I could never beat the damn game, but I always had fun exploring its surprisingly large levels, using its wild sci-fi weaponry, and ATTEMPTING to get through all of its platforming challenges. It was tough as nails, but in that satisfying ‘I will eventually beat this!’ kind of way.
I didn’t actually beat the game until I tackled it years later on an emulator, and believe me, it was satisfying. It was a shame that the series was one that seemed to be forgotten about though… until now. Thirty-one years on from the original release, publisher Inin Games have brought a collection of titles from the Turrican series back to give gamers a satisfyingly challenging old-school romp.
Turrican Flashback gives players four different titles in the Turrican series to play through: Turrican and Turrican II: The Final Fight (from the Amiga), Mega Turrican (from the Mega Drive) and Super Turrican (from the SNES).
You’ll feel right at home playing through the games if you have had any experience with the series before, with each port not offering any fancy bells and whistles but instead replicating the original releases pretty much perfectly. Completely new to the series? Well, you can expect run ‘n gun gameplay that feels similar to the Contra series, with a few Metroid vibes thrown in the mix for good measure. They’re pretty tough too, with it proving a tricky challenge to play each of the games through to completion – it offers a snappy reminder that old-school games can be challenging.
You can expect similar experiences between Turrican and Turrican II: The Final Fight, albeit with the typical sequel improvements in the latter with additional weapons and spruced up visuals. Gameplay-wise though, there’s an emphasis placed on exploring an array of expansive levels, with player discovery at the forefront as you uncover secrets and complete a selection of platforming challenges. As mentioned, they’re hard games with an abundance of foes streaming your way through each area, though your arsenal of sci-fi weaponry means you’re more than equipped for the job. Don’t get me wrong, you can expect to die a LOT, but it has that rewarding sense of progress to it when you start to figure out the attacking patterns of your enemies and how to best approach each situation.
Add the cool boss fights to the mix and some satisfying flying sections and you’ll quickly find that they’re a pair of exciting titles that are still a lot of fun to play today. Plus, they’re Amiga originals… that’s ALWAYS a plus in my eyes.
Mega Turrican and Super Turrican saw the series make its debut on consoles, bringing with them all of the action seen in the Amiga releases but with a few extra features here and there. One thing that MIGHT be seen as an improvement to some is the level design, which feels a bit more direct and linear to get through when compared to the original titles’ larger landscapes – it could be a little intimidating learning your way around with the game’s tough difficulty in the first two titles, but it’s a lot more straight forward here. Both console games look a lot prettier too, whilst Mega Turrican even goes all Bionic Commando on players and introduces a grappling hook to get around levels. They’re just smoother and more refined when compared to their Amiga counterparts.
All four games hold up well today and offer an experience that’s still a whole lot of fun to play, even if there are plenty of old-school hallmarks found in their design. Add to that some slick visuals and some top-notch sound design and it’s clear that Turrican Flashback offers a neat collection of titles for players to blast their way through. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning there’s an expanded ‘save and load’ feature that makes the game a whole lot easier to get through, whilst you can also rewind the game back if you want to save yourself from death. It’s cheap, but even I have to admit to resorting to using it during my time playing… these are tough games, alright!
Whilst Turrican Flashback is a worthwhile package, it is a shame that it doesn’t come with anything else outside of the games. Whilst other old-school collections have often brought with them additional features or extras, Turrican Flashback just offers the four games and that’s it. Sure, you have the aforementioned save states and rewinds, but it’s a bit disappointing there wasn’t a bit more on offer. Also, it’s a real shame that it’s not the FULL collection of Turrican titles, with Super Turrican II omitted – it feels like a bit of an oversight on the publisher’s behalf, especially since it was available in the physical edition of Turrican titles that they made available last year.
Turrican Flashback gives players the chance to re-visit some great run ‘n gun classics that are still a whole lot of fun to play today, even IF they can be tough as nails to get through. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t come with some fancy extras or even Super Turrican II – it can make the collection feel a little incomplete, especially since the game was included in the physical release.
Still, with the four games on offer that bring with them satisfyingly old-school sci-fi romps, it’s hard to complain too much. Whether you’re a fan of the series or a newbie looking for some retro-style run ‘n gun action, Turrican Flashback is definitely worth checking out.
Developer: Factor 5
Publisher: Inin Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4