[c64 Review] Turrican 1 & 2


Bass Invader
Nov 1, 2003
Brighton UK
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Turrican (1990)
Turrican 2: The Final Fight (1991)

Rainbow Arts

First on my list of 8bit gems is the amazing games from Manfred Trenz. These are landmarks of their day and just go to prove how far you could push the hardware limitations of the Commodore with multidirectional and parralax scrolling, many sprites on screen and some enormous bosses.


I must say now, Turrican 1&2 were programmed for various systems including Amiga, Atari ST, PC Engine, and the other 8bit systems, BUT none of these *feel* the same as the Commodore version. Most who played it will agree that it is the only one worth playing despite other versions with better colour pallettes and cpu power.

Before you start, you really need to map some vital keys to your fire buttons. I find the best combination is;

Button A - Joystick up
Button B - Joystick fire
Button L - F7
Button R - Space

This will give you jumping with button B and Grenades & Powerlines with L & R.



The game needs no story, just remember "shoot or die"


Turrican is a turbocharged plaform game with all mod cons, one standard issue player recieves a gun, several power lines (button R), a directable lightning weapon (hold B and use left/right to aim), and the ability to transform into "gyroscope" mode (Down & R) which is an indestructible rolling wheel to take out some of the weaker foes with or get through narrow passages. T1 also provides you with grenades (L) which act as a smart bomb upon impact and some timed mines (Down & B ), where T2 gives you one super weapon per life (B & R). On top of all this there are powerups to change your standard gun, and other special weapons mods. Phew!


If there were ever imaginatively designed levels, then it is right here. The games give you complete freedom over where you want to go, and they sprawl across a huge play area, riddled with secret locations and bonuses.


Each world contains two or three levels of the same style envoirnment, and some worlds have shoot-em-up subsections, Turrican 2 has two unbelievably fast shooters - think Katakis in a smaller ship but better! The shootemup levels have some great music to accompany the mayhem and it really makes the game feel like it's taking you somewhere new. The map on the back of the original game box (Turrican 1) actually shows the full path you take through the game worlds.


Click here fore larger image


There seem to be no end to the different types on enemies, from the easily destroyed walker droids to the tough-as-nails superbaddies. All are lovingly detailed and have their own characteristics, you will learn how best to vanquish each foe as you the onslaught commences. The bosses are HUGE, and they each have their own weak points and attack patterns in a classic bigboss style. My favourites are, the angry ship that bangs into the wall in frustration when it can't reach you, the big fish and the metal eye thank blinks between attacks.



Once you have played the game a few times, you will tend to visit some of the hidden locations which store a cache of extra lives - there are various places to find these but most will have some kind of trick to getting to them. One thing that you must learn early is that all powerups and destructible items will only appear once, if they go off the screen too far then they will dissappear and you will never get them. It pays to visit as many of these places you discover to collect lives for the later levels.


You have a time limit for each level, if this runs out, lose a life. If you run out of lives, you may use a continue to restart the World. Collect the diamonds throughout the game and you will gain more continues.


Unfortunately, both games aren't straighforward to load, Turrican 2 will work by using the 1541 emulation, this is very slow but once the game has loaded you should be able to turn this off so the levels load quicker. Turrican 1 is a bit more complicated and will not accept input on the title screen. The only way I have found to get this game working is by using an action replay rom dump and creating a savestate on a D64 file using the PC. If anyone needs help doing this - send me a PM on this board. It is well worth it to play Turrican (in case you haven't got the gist already!)


If you get good at this game, it can last an hour or more before the game ends (so make sure you have fresh batteries), and I'm talking about action all the way through - it's a DAMN big game. There is always something new to find, so replay value is great, the only thing that might stop you coming back is the sheer involvement that the game requires!



I can't say there's much wrong with these games, I wanted to review them both together because they are effectively the same with different features, each is differently designed but mainly the thing that stands out in Turrican 2 is the bigger, more intricate bosses, the amazing shoot-em-up levels, and a little more polish overall. These are so worth your GP32 time, trust me.


Manfred Trenz created a few other games you should check out, namely;

Katakis (aka Denaris)
Hard 'n Heavy
Enforcer: Fullmetal Megablaster


Images are courtesy of Lemon64 & Turrican SETA - My favourite site for everything on Turrican

Feel free to comment on this review
ah good to know there is other c64 gp32 maniacs out there
any chance of a rating out of 100 for the games?
think i'll post some reviews to :)
nice reviews btw very helpful
Turrian is an excellent game, but gotta sat the Amiga version was best (pity we can't play it on the GP :( ) As far as versions that are playable on the GP go I normally play the Atari ST versions (god bless cast away :D ) Gotta say though on whatever version Turrican 1 & 2 rank in my top 5 all time fav games. :D
Two weeks ago I played through Turrican 2 on Castaway.
Also VERY playable and a MUST for all shoot-em-jump-Freaks :)
I used to play Turrican 2 all the time on my Amiga but then it broke. I can remember always loving the music. Is the Atari ST or C64 versions as good as the Amiga and do they all have the same music?