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Video Game / Turrican

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Welcome to Turrican!

"Hello and welcome to Turrican! Be my guest! Another day, another try, but remember:
— The intro on the Commodore 64

Turrican is a video game series that got started by Manfred Trenz. The original entry was first released on the Commodore 64, and then its successor, the Amiga.

It's The Future, and mankind has spread into space. Their sole protection from the scum of the universe is the United Planets Freedom Forces and its champion, (the second and third games name him as Bren McGuire,) equipped with the state of the art Turrican Powered Armour. The person wearing the mantle of Turrican varies, as do the villains. The series' two main antagonists are the three-faced computer MORGUL, and the evil cyborg/Galactus impersonator known as The Machine.

The series borrows elements of Super Mario Bros., Contra, Metroid and Psycho Nics Oscar. The games were developed by the now defunct company Rainbow Arts. The levels themselves were massive with lots of secrets to find, like hidden power-up blocks and extra lives. Also, bosses at times didn't necessarily appear at the end of levels. They would show up in the middle of levels, and even the beginning at times. It also has an awesome soundtrack.

  • Turrican (Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Mega Drive/Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Game Boy)
  • Turrican II: The Final Fight (Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Mega Drive/Genesis,* Game Boy,* PC)
  • Mega Turrican/Turrican 3: Payment Day (Mega Drive/Genesis, Amiga)
  • Super Turrican (NES**)
  • Super Turrican (SNES***)
  • Super Turrican 2 (SNES)

    (*) Released as Universal Soldier
    (**) Manfred Trenz game
    (***) Factor 5 game

Although the parent company abandoned the series well over a decade ago, the series' cult status has inspired numerous fan-made sequels, such as T2002, the exceptionally professional-looking Hurrican and the Game Gear game GGT.

Turrican Flashback, a collection of Turrican, Turrican 2, Mega Turrican and Super Turrican, was released in January 2021. Trailer.

See also Rendering Ranger: R2, a similar 90s video game from the same developers.

This game contains examples of the following:

  • And the Adventure Continues: The ending of Turrican 3.
  • Animesque: The intros of the Amiga versions of Turrican 2 as well as Turrican 3 are this.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Dying to a boss in the first game respawns you without a transition screen, though the usual death penalties still apply.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Machine since the second game.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The alien train sections in Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 and Super Turrican (SNES game).
    • The second phase of the final boss in Super Turrican 2 combines this with Outrun the Fireball.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A special Smart Bomb attack in the second game. While in Wheel Form, press the fire button and space button together and he'll fire rapidly with all of his weapons and destroy everything on screen with an explosion. It's not really useful, though, and once you've used it the only way to get it back is to lose a life.
  • Big Bad: While the main antagonist in the first game is the three-faced computer MORGUL, every subsequent game has The Machine take over the role of the central antagonist.
  • Bishounen Line: A series-spanning example with Big Bad The Machine. In his first two final boss appearances he's bigger than the screen, but in his final appearance in Super Turrican 2, he's the size of the protagonist yet somehow twice as hard to dodge and able to absorb considerably more damage than before. Possibly justified in that the former appearances are robots he's controlling.
  • Camera Screw: Most of the games tend to focus the camera behind the player. Especially prevalent in the NES Super Turrican. Averted in Super Turrican 2, where the camera focuses slightly in front of the player.
  • Chainsaw Good: Wheel mode in the first two games is very much this. The Final Boss of Super Turrican 2 also has chainsaws for hands.
  • Circling Birdies: Happens to Bren on stage 2-2 after standing on a collapsing lift platform.
  • Collision Damage: Every game has this, combined with an overabundance of Personal Space Invader mooks. The Metroidesque wheel mode lets you reverse the Collision Damage, however.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The final levels of Super Turrican 2 take place dangerously close to the sun. Then again, you just survived an Unrealistic Black Hole...
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Twice in Super Turrican 2.
    • After killing a giant sandworm from inside its mouth, Turrican is inexplicably overpowered by the same guards he'll be killing by the dozens later on.
    • Later, after killing a giant space spider, he's captured by mercenaries.
  • Damsel in Distress: Juko in Turrican 3 becomes one during one of The Machine's assaults.
  • Deadly Gas: Stage 1-3's main gimmick in Super Turrican 2, where it acts as a Vertically Advancing Wall of Doom. Contact with the gas will rapidly drain your energy.
  • Death Mountain: World 1 in Turrican and Super Turrican.
  • Denser and Wackier: The first game was mostly straightforward in its aesthetics, while the second game features some wackier enemies and moments of humor in mid-level cutscenes.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Turrican II was released as a Universal Soldier tie-in on the Mega Drive/Genesis and Game Boy. See Porting Disaster on the YMMV page for more.
  • Down the Drain: World 2 in Turrican, Turrican II and Mega Turrican/Turrican 3.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Downplayed in World 4 in the original. Due to a certain limitation in the preceding level you're not likely to have a fully leveled spread shot, which makes it more difficult to find the few invisible item blocks present. Played straight with 4-3 in the Amiga port, where the item blocks present in the other versions are completely missing.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Super Turrican 2. After years of fighting, Bren (or a descendant with the same name) finally kills The Machine and saves the galaxy from his tyranny.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: In Stage 1-1 of Mega Turrican/Turrican 3.
    • The fan game Hurrican has an entire level based around it.
  • Eternal Engine: Some of the later levels and worlds are like this.
  • Excuse Plot: Most of the series. Why does Morgul the god of nightmares have a robot army? We didn't ask and neither should you.
  • Expy: The Machine is an obvious Galactus spoof, from the purple armor to the jawline.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Somehow the Machine practically stops at Bren's prone body while he's Faking the Dead in the intro of the second game, but instead of shooting the "body" to make sure or doing anything of worth, he automatically assumes everyone aboard Avalon 1 was dead and leaves, not to mention not even bothering to detonate or destroy the ship either. That was his biggest mistake.
  • The Federation: The United Planets Freedom Forces, consisting entirely of Red Shirts and one Sole Survivor in a Turrican suit.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Super Turrican 2.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: One of the early level bosses from the first game is a giant mechanical fist flying around trying to crush the player. It shows up in some of the later games as well.
  • Giant Mook: Numerous bosses are simply oversized versions of regular enemies. Of note are the giant Walkers in the second and third game.
  • Golden Ending: In Turrican 3 by completing the game without cheating and in Super Turrican 2 by finishing the game on Hard difficulty level.
  • Goomba Stomp: The Walker robots from Turrican II onward let you one-hit kill them by jumping on them. The same robots appeared in the first game, but stomping did nothing until the sequel.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Plasma Rope in Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 and the Grapple Hand in Super Turrican 2.
  • Humongous Mecha: A common boss archetype throughout the series.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Rebound bullets introduced in Turrican II
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The last section before the final boss will always require a vertical ascent up a tower of some kind. Noticeably absent in Super Turrican 2.
  • Kaizo Trap: In Level 4-2 of the Commodore 64 version of Turrican II, Laser Larry's central part immediately charges onto the screen a few seconds after the top and bottom parts are defeated. If the player doesn't quickly move towards the back of the screen, they'll get hit.
  • Kill It with Fire: The flamethrower weapon in Super Turrican 2.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Bren McGuire in the opening of Mega Turrican/Turrican III, though it's a case of Off-Model.
  • Law of 100: Collecting 300 gems gave a continue; Turrican II reduced this to 100.
  • Laser Cutter: The intro to the first game shows a laser or heat ray cutting a rectangle from the black background. The piece falls out, and the developer's logo (Rainbow Arts) becomes visible. This is a reference to a special ability the in-game character has in most of the games. See it here.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Killing the final boss always causes their base to spectacularly explode. Except in Super Turrican 2, where the Final Boss is fought while outrunning such an explosion.
  • Marathon Level: The Womb Level, in every game it appears, will be up to twice as long as the previous World, and usually filled to the brim with detours and lengthy backtracking every time you miss a jump.
  • Mascot Mook: The Walkers are the first enemy you'll face in the first two games, and the only one to appear in every game in the series. Turrican II added several variations, including flying ones and a factory churning out gigantic versions that shout "Make my day!" when they appear onscreen.
  • Master Computer: MORGUL, the main antagonist of the first game, is a three-faced computer. MORGUL stands for Multiple Organism Unit Link.
  • The Maze: World 4 in Turrican is a massive three part maze with creepy ambient sound instead of Awesome Music featured everywhere else. Power-ups are much harder to find, and dozens of pixel-perfect (and sometimes entirely illogical) jumps are required to reach the exit. All of the womb levels in the sequels have similar length and difficulty, but later entries are more forgiving by having an flashing "Exit" arrow appear if you get lost.
  • Metroidvania: Not necessarily one, but definitely shows the Metroid influence Trenz has acknowledged. While player proceeds through each level in turn with no back tracking to previous levels, within a given level there's lots of different paths to take to the end and secrets to find like giant power up boxes and groups of extra lives, making each one a mini-Metroidvania. Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 and Super Turrican 2's levels are much more linear, though.
  • Mook Carryover: Big Bad The Machine from Turrican II onwards inherits a few of MORGUL's robotic minions from the first game, including the aforementioned Mascot Mook.
  • Morph Weapon: Electric arcs? Lasers bigger than the wielder? Multi-directional fire from a straight barrel? Smart bombs? Freeze ray? You want it, you got it.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The manual for the Amiga version of Turrican describes the main villain, MORGUL, as an ancient creature that spreads nightmares, and it makes it sound like the game is in a fantasy setting. However, the Genesis version's manual talks about space colonies and mutants and describes MORGUL as a computer. (This one is more in keeping with the actual game.) The former falls under Canon Discontinuity as the latter description is used for Flashback's description of the first game.
  • Nintendo Hard: Every one of this series' installments is either pretty close to this, or purely this, no matter whether this is an official game or a fan remake.
    • Until you start finding where all the extra lives are hidden!
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Every level in Super Turrican 2 except one, which is a common source of criticism - considering that the wide open levels with tons of secrets were one of the main strengths of the series.
  • Nostalgia Level: World 3, the junkyard of Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 has you fight broken-down versions of the first bosses from Turrican and Turrican II.
  • One-Hit Kill: 2-2's boss in Turrican II has a move where it tries to grab Bren. If it grabs him, it's a one-way trip to the death barrier.
  • One-Word Title: Also Protagonist Title.
  • Optional Boss: Turrican level 1-3 has a boss in the middle route, but it's easy to miss if the player simply follows the ground route. It does cover one possible means to reach bonuses at the top of the area. Turrican II has a sort of flying saucer on stage 1-2 which you have to go out of your way to fight. However, if you do, you are rewarded with 2 extra lives when you kill him. In addition, it's possible to miss the dragon boss on 4-1 entirely.
  • Outrun the Fireball: The Final Boss of Super Turrican 2 sees both you and The Machine (the latter in a walker mech) doing this while fighting.
  • Personal Space Invader: The face huggers in Turrican II and Mega Turrican/Turrican 3. Turning left and right rapidly cause them to drop off and die.
    • Or turning into a ball if you have any energy for it.
  • Platform Game: Oft considered to be the best game of the genre for the Amiga.
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: Bosses are wracked by a chain explosions upon destruction. This also happens to whoever's in the Turrican suit when they run out of energy, too.
  • Powered Armor: The Turrican assault suit.
  • Protagonist Title: Also One-Word Title.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Machine wears purple armor and is extremely dangerous, his machines and himself serving as the final bosses of most of the games.
  • Rearrange the Song: Super Turrican for the NES has some remixed tracks of the first two games, and Super Turrican for the SNES has mostly rearrangements of Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 music.
  • Recurring Boss: A couple of games have some bosses from previous games, such as the Monolith boss. The giant fist appears in every game.
  • Reformulated Game:
    • Turrican originally began development as a Commodore 64 game by Rainbow Arts. Factor 5, who were working on the Amiga version, originally planned their version as a straight port, but then they decided to make it an original game inspired by the C64 version.
    • Turrican 2 was developed the same way as well, only this time the Amiga version was the original and the C64 version was the adaptation.
    • Similarly Super Turrican was released for consoles in two versions. While the NES version handled by Rainbow Arts, the SNES version was done by Factor 5.
  • Respawn on the Spot: After closing and restoring the main display, the player is placed where he died (or in a safe location if he fell off map). Enemies are cleared during the screen transition.
  • Rolling Attack: Turrican's signature ability is his ability to transform into a spiky energy wheel that can destroy many things in its rolling path. This ability was also featured in the Universal Soldier video game, which was a dolled-up Turrican II.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Level 1-2 in Turrican II and Super Turrican (SNES game).
  • Sand Worm: You fight one from inside its mouth at the end of World 1 in Super Turrican 2.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: A successful playthrough of Turrican 1 consists of stocking up as many extra lives as possible before reaching World 4, then finishing the significantly more merciful final world with however many you have left. There's even 3 extra lives and enough laser power-ups to max out your weapon hidden in plain view to the right of World 5's starting point, as if the developers knew how badly beaten the player would be at that point.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: The intro for Turrican 3 states that "Eons have passed since mankind last heard of the evil Machine". Which would mean that Bren McGuire, purple haired protagonist from the previous game is now billions of years old. The writers should probably just have said "Ages have passed..."
  • Scoring Points: In every game except Super Turrican for the NES.
  • Series Finale: Super Turrican 2 effectively closes the book on the war against The Machine, with him getting caught in the explosion of his flagship thanks to the player making sure he can't escape.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title screen of Turrican is an edited cover of Manowar's album Kings of Metal. Given the music, it's a deliberate aesthetic choice.
    • Every Turrican game but Super Turrican 2 had one level taking place in an Alien hive, complete with face-huggers, Xenomorphs and even an Alien Queen as the endboss in Super Turrican.
    • Several of them to RType as well as Katakis, a clone of the aforementioned game that Manfred Trenz worked on:
      • When taking off for the Unexpected Shmup Level, a Force Device can be seen suspended from the ceiling of the hangar.
      • Some versions of Turrican 2 have a drone flying past your ship at the end of level 3-2 with a banner saying, "Katakis Lives!" if you shoot a particular item earlier in the level
      • Super Turrican (SNES version) also took place on a planet called Katakis.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: World 3 in Super Turrican (SNES game).
  • Smart Bomb
    • The Power Lines you collect, though Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 and Super Turrican 2 had standard smart bombs to use.
    • In Turrican, the grenade (but only if it hits a wall), and the mine (only against ground targets).
  • A Space Marine Is You: Bren from the second and third games starts as an ordinary UPFF soldier and, by sheer luck, survives to become the biggest thorn in The Machine's side.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Machine.
  • Spread Shot: The "Multiple" (and in some games, "Laser") is an Initial Burst, while "Bounce" is an Exploding Shot.
  • Techno Wreckage: If the last level isn't an Eternal Engine, expect it to be this.
  • Timed Mission: Super Turrican (NES game) is the only game with no time limit. The time limit is also turned off for the final boss of Super Turrican 2.
  • True Final Boss: In Mega Turrican/Turrican 3 and Super Turrican 2, by playing on at least the Normal difficulty level.
  • Under the Sea: Super Turrican 2 had a the third world take place on an ocean planet with some underwater portions.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: Super Turrican 2 had every odd level as this to utilize Mode 7 effects.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Worlds 3-1 and 3-3 in Turrican, and the Commodore 64 version of Turrican II's final stage, all have you grab a jetpack and start flying. In all three levels, you needed to find a hidden item to start the level, but this was changed in later ports. However, later versions of Turrican II changed it to a platform jumping stage. Turrican 2 also had stages where you get into a ship and experience a Gradius-like shoot'em up segment, which are absent in the Universal Soldier ports.
    • Super Turrican 2 also had one in the first stage of the last world, but it was overhead instead of side-scrolling and used raster effects similar to Axelay.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: Subverted. Three ships enter the black hole to stop The Machine in Super Turrican 2. Your ship survives out of luck and crash lands on a desert planet while the other two are destroyed.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The final confrontation with The Machine takes place onboard his flagship in low orbit over the sun of a solar system inside a black hole in Super Turrican 2.
  • Womb Level: Either the last world or the second-to-last world.