|Developer(s)||Rainbow Arts (C64)
Factor 5 (Amiga, AST)
Probe Software (CPC, ZX)
Code Monkeys (MD, PCE, GB)
|Publisher(s)||Rainbow Arts (computer versions)
Accolade (console versions)
|Release date(s)||Commodore 64, Amiga
|Genre(s)||Sci-Fi run and gun|
Turrican is a 1990 video game programmed and designed by Manfred Trenz. It was first developed for the Commodore 64 by Rainbow Arts, but was ported to other systems later. In addition to concept design and character creation, Trenz personally programmed Turrican on the Commodore 64. A sequel, Turrican II, followed 1991 for the Commodore 64 and other platforms.
The lost colony of Alterra is a completely man-made lifeworld abandoned long ago in a nearby galaxy. Alterra is actually five colonies in one. Each self-contained habitat has been separately bio-engineered by a powerful ecosystem generation network known as a Multiple Organism Unit Link. MORGUL, for short. Early colonists used MORGUL to render Alterra inhabitable. But a cataclysmic quake severed all system interface functions, and MORGUL murderously rebelled. The few colonists lucky enough to escape told a grim tale of a higher intelligence gone berserk.
For generations, mankind sought a return to Alterra. Finally, genetic science created a saviour: Turrican, a mutant warrior, bio-engineered for the task of planetary reclamation. In the meantime, MORGUL has diligently twisted Alterran life forms to his brutal, destructive purposes. Thus, Turrican's challenges consist of eliminating hostile organisms from Alterra's five multi-level worlds and, finally, destroying the three faces of MORGUL.
The series started in 1989 on the Commodore 64 with a demo level of the full game which was released in 1990. Turrican became very popular due to its high technical achievements, demonstrating graphics which many did not believe to be possible on a C64.
Turrican was also released for the Atari ST, Amiga, CDTV, Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Boy, PC Engine, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. The console ports were handled by The Code Monkeys and published by Accolade.
"Subsong 2" from Turrican, arranged by Ramiro Vaca, is actually the song "Escape" from The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack. Chris Hülsbeck composed for the Amiga conversions of Turrican, Turrican II and Turrican 3, as well as Super Turrican (SNES), Mega Turrican and Super Turrican 2.
The Turrican series are well known for the quality of their soundtracks. The most notable is the Turrican 2 soundtrack for Amiga, composed by Chris Hülsbeck. Music from Turrican II was performed live by a full orchestra at the second Symphonic Game Music Concert in 2004. The event took place in Leipzig, Germany.
Turrican can be described as a cross between Metroid and Psycho-Nics Oscar. While the huge levels and the morph-ball function were inspired by Metroid, the overall graphics design and weapons were inspired by Psycho-Nics Oscar. Unlike many other action games of its time, Turrican did not force the player to complete a linear level. Instead, the player can explore each level and uncover secrets.
Turrican II: The Final Fight 
Turrican II: The Final Fight was released in 1991. The Amiga version, done by Factor 5, was finished before the C64 version, but Manfred Trenz cites the C64 version as the original design. The game was also released for the CDTV, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and PC (MS-DOS).
Mega Turrican/Turrican 3: Payment Day 
Mega Turrican was an original Factor 5 game initially designed for the Mega Drive/Genesis, and later followed by an Amiga port under the title of Turrican 3: Payment Day. PC (MS-DOS) and Amiga CD32 versions were also planned and developed, but it was never released and only some enemy sprite designs have surfaced. Turrican 3 for the C64 is a fan-game and was released on August 28, 2004 at the Demoparty Evoke by the group Smash Designs.
Super Turrican (NES) 
Released for the NES, this Turrican game was created by Manfred Trenz alone. It is based roughly on the levels of the first two Turrican games.
Super Turrican and Super Turrican 2 (Super NES) 
The Super Turrican games were developed for the Super NES by Factor 5. They were released in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
Never released 
Turrican 3D was intended to bring Turrican into the third dimension, but was never released because publisher THQ stopped development. The game was intended for PC (Windows) and Dreamcast. Screenshots and videos show how the world of Turrican would have looked. In an interview, Manfred Trenz, creator of Turrican, Turrican II, Super Turrican (NES) and co-developer of Turrican 3D, stated that many members of the project were far too profit-oriented, and the project failed as a result.
Thornado is another never-released Turrican spin-off. Handled by the US branch of Factor 5, they did not use the name Turrican because of legal issues. It was developed first for the Nintendo 64 and later for the GameCube. All that is available from this game is a piece of preliminary music composed by Chris Hülsbeck and some art assets that were reused in Star Wars: Rebel Strike, such as the Golden Gate-like looking bridge. The "Thornado Demo" track which was released as a teaser for the upcoming GameCube game, was in fact running on the older Nintendo 64 sound hardware using Factor 5's new proprietary MusyX software sound engine. The Thornado demo, although not available on Factor 5's website anymore, can still be found on Chris Hülsbeck's page at GarageBand.com.
Next-gen Turrican; in April 2007, a Gamasutra article revealed that Factor 5 was working on concepts for a new Next-gen Turrican game. Since the game was being planned once again by the US branch of Factor 5 and this went bankrupt not long after, this game was never released either.
Fan projects 
Hurrican is an independent freeware sequel released for Windows in 2007. In the past there were already several other more or less ambitious fanmade remakes of Turrican including T2002, T4 Funeral and even a Turrican table for Visual Pinball, but Hurrican is particularly notable for its 2nd place in the 2008 Indie Game Showcase contest. As the source code of Hurrican was released in 2012, source ports to other platforms are now possible.
- "Facts about Turrican". Turrican SETA. Archived from the original on 2003-08-18. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
- MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, page 79, May 1992
- Interview about games that inspired Turrican (German)
- "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993.
- Turrican 3 PC
- Infos über das Spiel>
- Screenshots and videos of Turrican 3D
- Gamasutra Story about Next-gen Turrican
- Mobygames entry of Hurrican
- Unofficial Turricans and Clones
- Winners of the Indie Game Showcase contest 2008 (archived)
- hurrican-source-code-released News message of the developer (January 30, 2012)