PLATFORM: PS4, SWITCH (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: 29TH JANUARY
Not to be confused with Strictly Limited Games' two-volume anthology sets from last year, Turrican Flashback is a separate non-limited release that includes the Amiga versions of the original Turrican (1990) and its sequel, Turrican II: The Final Fight (1991), as well as the Mega Drive / Genesis title, Mega Turrican (made in '93 but not released until '94, when it would also become known as Turrican 3 in some territories) and the Super Nintendo's Super Turrican from 1993.
Turrican's brand of side-scrolling run n' gun platforming was incredibly popular at the time. Being released on the Amiga afforded the first two games a little bit more power compared to the home consoles that were available. Impressive sound design, colourful graphics and a few inventive gameplay mechanics caught the public's attention, although – as is often the case with many computer games of the era – what was impressive in 1990 doesn't always hold up today... You'll encounter enemies that move so fast that you can't possibly react quickly enough to shoot them, hazards that leave no room for you to get out of the way without taking a hit, blind jumps into pits and traps, no multidirectional aiming – only left and right – which is especially awkward in the vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up stages, end of level exits that are often indistinguishable from any other gap in the scenery... The list goes on, but at least in this release you get an instant rewind button, as many save states as you want and a huge amount of options to help customise your experience, so getting to the end of each game isn't quite as brutal as it once was.
Mega and Super Turrican tighten things up a lot and feel much more playable than the original two, even if a few of the same issues do crop up now and again. The shift to home consoles seems to have resulted in a focus on a more mainstream audience, with even more explosions and shouty sound effects, easier to navigate levels and some really excellent music (although the audio side of things is consistently great throughout the entire series). Overall, a couple of the games included in Turrican Flashback might be a little shaky and it's a shame that some of the titles included in last year's anthologies have been left out, but this is still a great way to get hold of a couple of 90's classics (and to see the original games that spawned those later / greater sequels).