As we move further down the line of retro releases for modern audiences, it becomes increasingly important that these releases do more than just throw a game your way. The publishers and developers have to have a way to get you to buy these collections of games beyond mere nostalgia infusion. Because if that was the case, there are certainly cheaper ways to get your groove on across a variety of formats. Thankfully, Ratalaika games and Inin have learned from the recent spate of remasters and collections, and possibly their own shorter release, Turrican Flashback from last year, and produced a thoroughly fantastic set of Anthologies for you to chew down on.
Featuring ten games split between two collections, that’s five games apiece just so you know, the Turrican Anthology Volumes I and II are the definitive way of experiencing these classic Rainbow Arts and Factor 5 developed 2D action platformers.
Do You Even Turrican Bro!
If you’re not familiar with the Turrican games, the series started out with a design template in mind that favoured large stages based more around verticality than standard linearity. There was a sense of pseudo open world design at play, letting you reach the games bosses through a path of your choosing. As the series progressed though, the games became more linear and smaller but no less playable. In fact, for my money, they culminated with what is the best of the Turrican games: Turrican 3 and its faster version, Mega Turrican.
While the scope of the games may have lessened, the games phenomenal soundtracks remained steadfast while the beautiful 2D art and all of the tiny details the developers put into it, only got better. From leaves blowing in the wind, to the enemy animations to the gorgeous explosions when something kicked the bucket, Turrican is proof that good 2D art and sprite work will always be timeless. And for this collection, these games look gorgeous and run perfectly.
So let’s look at what you’re getting in this collection:
Turrican Anthology Volume I:
Super Turrican Director’s cut
Mega Turrican Score Attack
Turrican Anthology Volume II:
Mega Turrican Director’s Cut
Super Turrican 2
Super Turrican Score Attack
This right here, is all the Turrican you will ever need! A quick note, during this period, many games were getting the Super and Mega treatment. What usually differentiated the games tended to be an increased gameplay speed and a bump up in difficulty. One thing to make note of is that Turrican II and Turrican 2 are completely different games. The former is the original Rainbow Arts developed sequel while the latter is a new entry created entirely by Factor 5. It’s the most traditional playing side-scroller in this package featuring traditional level design, progression and vehicle stages. Factor 5’s version of the game sports its own enemy and design style and is, in my opinion, the weakest game here, visually and playably. It’s not terrible, but I really feel that it doesn’t quite gel with what the rest of the series has done.
A Collection For The Ages?
So you’ve come for the games, but you also want to know what more there is. What makes this collection any different that you should consider spending you’re hard earned cash on it?
Thankfully, this is more than just a collection of roms scraped together. The developers have added plenty quality of life features to the games along with extras that make the collection a must have for everyone, especially connoisseurs.
Let’s look at the most obvious first, the quality of life improvements. Games now have Standard and Challenge modes, Accomplishments, Save and Load states and Cheats. Controls are fully customisable, though the default layout worked just fine for me, and there’s a handy rewind feature for those moments you know could have gone better. All the games also come with a speed option for 50Hz or 60Hz. Bear in mind that the games were designed to run at 50Hz though.
One of my favourite features is been able to view the game world as a side scrolling map with the handy click of the right analogue stick. The game pauses and you can zoom the camera around the play area, taking notes of enemy locations or, in my case, been enthralled with the level layout and just how awesome it would look as a print with a quick screenshot. You can reveal all of the map or keep it hidden or even reset the world fog if you please.
Side Order of CRT
On the visual side, there’s the now standard filters and visual effects such as the customisable CRT Filter and the ability to swop between the colour spectrums, changing the game from RGB to B&W, amongst others. The collection supports different display modes such as 4:3 and the games original aspect ratio. You can also setup wallpapers to display behind the games when they’re running.
The final bit of content is of real interest to collectors and those interested in game production and art. This, I feel, is where retro collections really need to stand out and Turrican has the goods.
There’s a Gallery mode along with two jukeboxes for you to listen to the games phenomenal soundtracks. You can also choose between CD quality music and the original emulated soundtrack. But the real icing on the cake for me – along with the ability to see the map layout – is the inclusion of digital versions of the games original manuals and the original box art for each game by region, which is fantastic.
Even after thirty years, the Turrican games still stand up fantastically well today. With gorgeous 2D art and sprite work, expansive levels and a challenging difficulty, coupled with fantastic extras makes the Turrican Anthology Volumes I and II the perfect way to play these games now. If you haven’t tried this series out before, then you should pick this up. And if you’ve played these games before, Hell pick it up anyway. You won’t regret it.
Story8/10 Very Good
- Fantastic sprite work
- Addictive gameplay
- Been able to see the map layout
- Great soundtrack
- Choosing between this or the Flashback collection