Turrican II: The Final Fight is a platformer/shooter as typically seen on consoles, but designed for home computers from the ground up.
Its plot is - naturally - very simple: an evil mega-robot called The Machine attacks the United Planets Ship Avalon 1, slaughtering all who resist. All - except Bren McGuire, who manages to escape and slips into the experimental Turrican bionic armor. As Turrican, he strives to show The Machine who's the boss.
Unlike other games of its type, this game contains three levels of horizontal shooter action in the spirit of R-Type or the developers' own Katakis. Six large worlds are to be explored, where you are basically free to go everywhere you want, since there is no automatic scrolling and the levels are packed with hidden extra lives and weapons. All those levels are very different: the first one in the rock desert is pretty colorful with parallaxing rainbow background and happy music, while the following worlds get darker and darker.
Turrican can get some different weapons for his arm cannon: The bounce weapon which rebounds from surfaces into smaller bouncing balls when powered up; The laser, which can shoots beams as large as Turrican himself when maxed out; the multiple shot beam, which can shoot up to five beams covering approximately a 90 degree angle. The Turrican suit weaponry is not limited to the arm cannon however: He also can fire a continuous beam, activated by holding the fire button. This beam can be rotated around Turrican, so it is possible to blast things below him in this way; Additionally, he can fire power lines by pressing the space bar, resulting in two energy bars as high as the screen going from the Turrican suit to the left and right of the screen, severely damaging enemies in the process; If the space bar is pressed when the hero is crouching, the Turrican will morph into a shuriken shape. In this state, it will roll to the left or the right, damaging enemies while being invincible and small bombs can be dropped by pressing the fire button; Finally, the most powerful attack, which can only be used one time per life, can be delivered by pressing the fire button and the space bar at the same time. The Turrican suit will morph into a shuriken shape and fly around the screen for several seconds, while firing shots of the different weapons in multiple directions.
Turrican II: The Final Fight is one of the greatest platform-based shoot 'em up's I've ever played. It was first developed for Amiga computers in 1991, but it took four years before they finally decided to port it to DOS. And trust me, they did it for a good reason! The Turrican series was a milestone for the Atari, Commodore 64, and Amiga platforms, among others. It made up an important piece of gaming history and many games have taken inspiration from this installment.
It's also incredible how in some cases, music can define the success of a game. And this was definitely the case for Turrican II, as Chris Huelsbeck did an absolutely wonderful job in this area. Every level gave you a special sensation and filled you with a mix of emotions that words simply could not describe!
There are enormous levels to explore, which are packed full of insidious enemies like evil machines and mutants who are led by the half-human, half-robot emperor known only as The Machine. And I haven't even mentioned the Bosses yet! - Huge, lethal, infernal contraptions that make you feel small and weak.
Thankfully, our hero, Bren McGuire (yes, he is purple-haired =D), is not your average guy. He is the captain and last survivor of the massacre on the spaceship Avalon 1, a special and revolutionary battlecruiser. Alone in the battered spaceship, wounded and desperate, he moves to the armory and decides to wear a high-tech prototype suit, called the Turrican. (I guess Crysis's dudes must have used the same armory!) Now, he is out for revenge and will do all he can to save the universe from the evil legions of The Machine.
The Turrican suit is equipped with some very cool gadgets, with one of them being the arm cannon. You'll find many power-ups and upgrades that will increase its firepower, and which can also change the main cannon's weapon to the multi-beam, the laser, or the bouncing fire-ball.
The arm cannon can also fire a continuous beam that can be rotated around Turrican. It is a strong weapon that is essential for special situations, but is a bit slow to activate if you're suddenly ambushed by multiple enemies.
Additionally, the suit has the ability to transform itself into a whirling gyroscope anytime it is needed. In this mode you are completely invincible, and weak enemies will die on contact. You can also place timed mines on the ground to attack or defend yourself. Just jump to return in normal mode.
If needed, you can also unleash two kinds of devastating attacks that will destroy everything on screen. The first consists of white laser barriers that can be activated by pressing the space bar. The second, is a huge attack of laser beams and explosions which can be activated by pressing the fire button and the space bar at the same time, but this can only be done once per each of your lives.
You'll find many surprises in this game. Factor 5, who also developed the first Turrican, has inserted special levels that follow the style of two other old games called Katakis and R-Type. There is also a nice feature that lets you listen to and enjoy Chris Huelsbeck's soundtracks: the music menu. It can be accessed from the title screen by pressing the space bar. If you ever become strong enough to reach the higher levels, you'll recognize that one of them is clearly inspired by the Alien saga, facehuggers included!
Like many of the platform games released in the early '90s, Turrican II is extremely difficult. There are no saves, no checkpoints, and it's really easy to die. There is even a time limit that, if reached, will decrease your number of lives. My suggestion is to explore all the levels frantically in order to find secrets, collect lives (1UP!), and crystals (which can earn you continues if you're out of lives). If you really want to reach the end and save the world, then take a deep breath, prepare food and caffeine, and remember: "SHOOT OR DIE!"
I loved every minute of it. It was the best game I had for my Amiga at the time, and to this day remains one of my favorites. I can't give anything else other than a 5 for this game.
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