Turrican Flashback

Year: 2021
Platform: PlayStation 4
Genre: Action
Review Date: 4/24/21
Rating: ****

If you have any love for "Turrican," then this is the ideal experience. Otherwise, newcomers and younger players may wonder what all the fuss is about for a franchise that died out thirty years ago. For whatever reasons, "Turrican Flashback" is a subset of "Turrican Anthology" that features the best entries in the series, namely "Turrican" (1990), "Turrican II: The Final Fight" (1991), "Mega Turrican" (1993), and "Super Turrican" (1993). The ports are nearly perfect as far as I can tell, and the gameplay is flawless. Playing these games today is just as fun as it was thirty years ago, and maybe even more because modern controllers are so much better. Playing with the combination of a 1-button Amiga joystick and keyboard on a 13" monitor was less than ideal back in the day. All of the classic cheats are available and the package features a convenient save feature for those of us who can't spend hours at a time playing through an entire game. There's also a handy rewind feature which can help you correct fatal missteps, although the only times I used it were when I got stuck in the environment. (I remember this happening in the original games and I had to wait for a time-out death in order to continue)

While the games are fun to play, they are probably best remembered for their astounding music by Chris Hülsbeck. The music still sounds great, and is possibly even remastered, although it remains hampered by the limited audio channels that were available on the original hardware. The games can be brutally challenging even with cheats enabled, and "Super Turrican" is especially tough due to all of its instant death scenarios. The original "Turrican" remains the most ambitious game in the series, and even though it's a bit rough around the edges, it offers the widest variety of environments and weapons (which most of the time you'll forget that you even have). "Turrican II" both expands and refines the original concept with stunning graphics, amazing sound, and the spectacular multi-directional flamethrower weapon. Despite its flaws, it remains my favorite game in the series and my all-time favorite Amiga game. "Mega Turrican" simplifies the gameplay considerably, but is a fun adventure that takes great advantage of the Genesis hardware. Similarly, "Super Turrican" shows off what the SNES is capable of and is essentially a hybrid of the first two games. Unfortunately, the biggest disappointment is that it replaces the flamethrower with a freeze ray, which is nearly useless. Overall, the collection is a great set of classic games for Amiga fans, old-school gamers, and nostalgia buffs. It's also really cheap and only takes up 50MB, so there's no reason to not have it in your library.