About the Game:
Bren Mc Guire must once again suit up in his Turrican Armor to save the universe and his girl from the evil space aliens from space!
Mega Turrican is a run and gun platformer on the Genesis that looks to have some very promising visuals and gameplay. I honestly used to think that the SNES had Sega’s console beat when it came to these kinds of games, what with Contra 3, Gradius 3, Super R-Type and, well, Super Turrican… Games like this one (and the dozens of others I’ve found) have pretty much changed my mind on that assessment, and I’m hoping to have a good time with this entry!
Right out of the gate Mega Turrican proves fun to play and tight to handle. Controls feel solid and handling is perfect. It’s worth taking the time to change the button mapping though, as A to jump and B to shoot feels really awkward, at least to me. Without a manual, it took me some time to figure out how to really handle the grappling hook, or that I could even roll up into a Samus Ball! Complete with bombs!
Plenty of power-up’s are strewn throughout each level offering the standard extra lives, shields and health refills, but also allowing you to switch between three different weapons, each with three different power levels. The spread shot fires in a wide arc and is my favorite weapon if only for versatility’s sake. The laser fires a narrow but powerful energy ball, and the, um, blue one fires a weak forward projectile, but also launches two vertical beams which travel along the floor and ceiling.
Each weapon excels in different circumstances, and part of learning each stage is learning when you’ll want to change between these weapons so as to have the easiest time moving forward. Additionally, a screen-clearing bomb can be fired using the X, Y or Z buttons. You only get three of these, though they refill with every death.
The pacing of Mega Turrican was somewhat jarring, as it demands the player to alternate their mindset between cautious observation and platforming, and full on schmup mode. Anyone who’s spent any meaningful amount of time with a good shoot ’em up knows what I’m talking about: that point where everything slows down, and your hands and eyes are actually moving faster than your brain can process. You’re running completely on reflex. Mega Turrican is the first game where I’m required to slip in and out of that mindset, as powering ahead in this game will only lose you a life.
Every stage has two to three sections, connected by a screen transition and often involving a mini-boss. At the end of each stage is a boss encounter, and they’re all pretty fun.
All in all, Mega Turrican boasts some very solid gameplay. Any mistakes you make are completely on you and memorizing levels is very rewarding. For the most part the difficulty is tough but fair, though it jacks up pretty steeply in the last couple levels, which can be frustrating.
Graphics, Music and Sound:
The gameplay graphics are great with detailed sprites and animation, but I’d be lying if I said everything was perfect. In the game’s intro we’re treated to… this…
Look, I just came off playing Beyond Oasis so seeing art on this level is almost offensive. If you’re going to be this lazy about cutscenes I think things would have been better if the story was just told using in-game sprites.
That said, the sheer ridiculousness of the game’s story almost makes up for the terribly artwork. It turns the camp up to eleven and I couldn’t make it through the intro with a straight face!
Other than that, the UI is clear and digitized voice effects do a good job of notifying you of items you pick up. Again, the in-game graphics are great, and the screen never gets too crazy that you lose track of your character. Every stage has a distinct visual style, from the robotics facility you start out in, to the junkyard that starts you off jumping between construction vehicles in the sky!
The music and sound effect are really good, but not particularly memorable. This is mostly because you’ll be devoting so much of your attention to staying alive that you’ll stop noticing the music eventually. That said, as I’m writing this I can hear the game’s track running through my head, which does speak to the quality at least a little.
Fun & Relevance:
While not particularly meaningful to the Genesis’ life cycle overall, this is really a fantastic game that seems to be getting harder to find. I can easily say I like it more than Contra and Super C, and it even scratches that schmup itch I get from time to time. All in all this was a great game, and I’m sure I’ll come back to it at some point looking to beat it!