Reviewed By Nicholas “SmugeeBear” McDonald
“Turrican a history…”
Turrican was originally released for the Commodore 64 back in 1990 by Manfred Trenz. Ports to the Amiga and a whole bunch of micro computers and consoles followed, including an unlicensed port on the Sega Mega Drive. The sequel Turrican 2: The Final Fight followed in 1991 along with ports to various systems. The Mega Drive version ended up being turned into a film licence tie in game for Universal Soldier. This was unlicensed for the console and had a variety of changes to sprites and levels.
A sequel was in development by Factor 5, titled Mega Turrican, with an Amiga version, titles Turrican 3: Payment Day, also in development at the same time. The Amiga port released first due to distributor issues for the Sega version that was finally picked up by Data East and Sony Imagesoft for distribution in their respective regions.
“Locked and Re-loaded?”
Turrican then silent over the years until Strictly Limited Games bought the rights to handle several re-releases from the series. They started with a Turrican Anthology set and collector edition and re-released several console ports. One of these is Mega Turrican for the Sega Mega Drive in a new directors cut which was released in 2021.
The new versions were allegedly different from the original releases, which by this time had started to command higher prices on the collectors market. So, the new version seemed like a good venture as it included the original version of the game, a new Directors Cut version and a Score attack version of the game.
“Downhill from here?”
The game comes presented in a plastic case reminiscent of the classic Mega Drive cases and it had new cover artwork for Mega Turrican. It looks similar to the design of the older grid style Mega Drive covers and includes Strictly Limited logo in a similar design near the top of the case. The art work at the front is too busy with lots of action unfolding with various robot enemies and The Turrican itself looks different from the one on the original cover. He looks like he belongs in Speedball 2 or other dystopian sports game just because of that pose.
The back of the case has several screenshots and blurb hyping up the features of the game. But it only gets worse from here as the manual in the original was like a miniature tome for the story with controls in several languages. This measly offering from Strictly Limited is one colour page that has been folded over which gives you the button controls and a quick guide on what the collectibles are. To be honest Strictly Limited Games are priding themselves on providing lost games at a premium price but this is just pathetic.
The cartridge is a typical European Mega Drive/North American Genesis style cartridge but this has a notch in the side so it can play on Asian consoles. The sticker is the same new artwork that is on the cover sleeve and the flimsy manual. It gets even worse as the back of it is the typical reproduction fare that we’ve seen on countless knock off reproduction carts. But what really catches your eyes are the two in your face Phillips screws on the cartridge which are blatantly in your face… At least the board of cartridge itself has a bevelled edge.
“Turrican like its 1994…”
Well its Mega Turrican from 1994. its a good platforming side scrolling shooter where you have to
use a variety of skills weapons and power ups to traverse levels fighting enemies and bosses. You
can use a plasma rope to help you swing to places but that’s still as fiddly to use as it ever was. The graphics are great, good controls with great music to listen to and some interesting level design.
When is comes to the new stuff, many seemed split on what the actual differences are about the new directors cut version. But its literally just a sprite of Mario and Sonic frozen in a test tube of level 1, maybe there’s other differences but if this is the only one it feels like a bit of a cop out to be honest.
The score attack is just rejigged levels that you have to score points within a time limit. I don’t know what was wrong with my copy of the game but it would always randomly freeze and hang and times it would stop on the intro screen or the menu screen. I also noticed some graphical glitching. I have tried it on several consoles and it still acts similar but it just further adds to this being a poor product overall.
“It just keeps on getting better…”
So would I recommend Mega Turrican? Well, if you can get the original game either on a collection or any other way go for it. Would I recommend the Strictly Limited Games release of the Directors cut? Simply, No I wouldn’t. The reasons are the is feels like a cheap production that is not good value for money. Also, with the issues I had with my copy of the game it has really put me off Mega Turrican and Strictly Limited Games in general.
Honestly I was looking forward to the release of Mad Stalker: Full Metal Forth, but went for the Japanese version in the end. Also I did send the game back to them for a refund and replacement. So, while the game went on a magical mystery tour of Europe for several months it finally came back as return to sender. Now that’s a punchline right there for this saga.