Last year saw the release of Turrican - a strange hybrid platform game and progressive shoot-em-up. The plot told of a heroic character who had to travel deep into alien territory to release his world from the oppression of the evil Morgul - the so-called 'three-headed incarnation of evil'.
After a titanic struggle, Turrican's mission was successful. Morgul was defeated and the planet was saved. But Turrican's troubles were far from over.
For many years, a far off race on the planet Landorin have been locked in a deadly battle with a tyrannical force known as the Machine. The rebels managed to destroy their central complex, which was based on an artificial moon orbiting their planet. However, the Machine's robot forces were still left on the planet, gradually taking over the world - even as deep down in the surface as the secret shelters that the Landorins had built to protect themselves underground.
Just before the last remaining Landorins left the planet, they sent out a Mayday message - a message that was picked up by none other than Turrican.
You take control of Turrican as he lands on the outer surface of Landorin. Since his last mission he has been streamlining his abilities and improving his armour. He is still armed with the multi-purpose laser cannon, but a host of 'alternations' have been made:
SURROUND WEAPON - This replaces the 'Lightning Beam' that was present in the original. It fires a stream of laser bolts that can be twirled around him.
PULSE LASER - Fires a large spurt of flame from the rifle. Its size depends on the power level of Turrican's weapon.
MULTIPLE - Can now fire scatter-shots of up to four beams.
BOUNCE - This fires a bolt of electricity which breaks up and bounces around the caverns when hitting an indestructible obstacle (walls, etc).
All the weapons can be charged up or improved by picking up the pods that are left in hidden locations by the Landorins for just the kind of hero that Turrican is (see POD-POWER box).
Deeper and down
To begin with, Turrican must move around the planet's surface destroying any enemies he may come across. Later, secret entrances into further caverns must be found, so that Turrican can make his way deeper into the planet and stamp out the enemy threat, as well as having to find and steal a spaceship to navigate the speed tunnel - a deadly corridor that is packed full with deadly machine guns.
As Turrican works his way deeper and deeper into the planet, the machine guards get tougher and meander, throwing all manner of defences at you to try and stop your advance into their newly-claimed territory.
However, even if you do get stuck in small places with a seriously nasty guard, there is always the 'Death-Blossom' type of weapon which unleashes a few seconds of laser death at any enemies that are in the area.
The original Turrican was an enjoyable blast, receiving a pretty healthy 88% in Amiga Format, and the sequel boasts even more of the same. Bigger levels, more powerful armoury and improved effects are just a few improvements the sequel has over the original.
The animation of Turrican himself and his weapons are much smoother, and the robots are far more varied and interesting. Another point is that there is a lot more scenery for you to explore. Whereas the original had you trying to travel to the right of the level as quickly as possible, Turrican II has you searching all manner of blind alleys trying to find the exit!
Despite these impressive changes, the basic game design is very similar toTurrican. The characters may look different and there may be extra weaponry and levels, but the gameplay itself has not been hugely modified or improved. This will come as good news to those who are avid Turrican fans and want to play more of the same kind of stuff, but your average gameplayer may find the sequel game slightly disappointing.
This is a real shame, since the framework of the game is very solid and enjoyable, but simply making a few cosmetic changes and throwing in a couple of extra features just is not QUITE good enough these days. Still it is a fair enough blaster which should appeal best to all those who do not own a copy of the original.