Anyone who got to experience the difficulty of classic video games will tell you that kids these days have it extremely easy. We didn’t have Luigi to come out after a few attempts to run the level for us, we didn’t have YouTube guides to help us complete games and we definitely didn’t have incredibly forgiving save points. At best, you had an older brother who could pass the levels you were stuck on. A good example of these incredibly difficult games is the Turrican series.
Turrican games were released in the early 90s across multiple platforms. Thankfully, however, you don’t need to purchase old hardware to check this series out for yourself! ININ has ported the four games (Turrican, Turrican II, Super Turrican and Mega Turrican) to the Nintendo Switch, and I was given an early chance to play it!
The menus are simple, offering full rundowns of the stories for each of the games. The games lore starts with a sentient AI turning on the people it once dedicated itself to protect. The rest are about another enemy known only as “The Machine” wreaking havoc on different parts of the galaxy. For the most part, it’s up to a hero wearing the legendary armour and weapon, Turrican, to stop these threats from doing any more damage!
The games are graphically fantastic, there’s no other way to put it. They look absolutely top for the time of their release, with the full charm of the SNES era coming out in full force. The colours are fitting to the bleak theme without everything appearing too dark. To make matters better, the options for each game gives the player the chance to select from a bunch of different colour schemes, serving as an accessibility setting for those affected by colour blindness.
Another good accessibility option is the easy button mapping settings. You can set any button to do whatever you would like it to do in game, allowing you to customize everything to your liking. Not to mention the addition of a rewind feature to make the games easier for those who are terrible at these games (like me!) and need a little bit less of a challenge.
Once you get into any of the games, you can meddle with some in game settings or start playing. All four of the games are run-and-gun platformers, meaning you have your character run across a two dimensional map and shoot enemies while also jumping across ledges and trying to find your way through the map. What makes these games different is that unlike most run-and-gun shooters of the time have you move in all four directions at various points of the level to reach the end. The level designs can be moderately confusing at times, but as long as you keep exploring you’ll never feel lost for very long.
You have access to multiple different abilities and weapons across all the four games, ranging from a roll attack where you turn into a ball with razor sharp spikes and take out all enemies in your way to weapons that create a huge amount of carnage and could potentially clear the screen multiple times over. These are all super satisfying in their own way, and in the same way all the sprites and backgrounds are beautiful, the explosive moves are as well.
Using all these weapons, you can keep the levels feeling reasonably fresh. The problems tend to lie within the amount of enemies or even merely the placements. There are points where the rewind feature feels more than necessary, because unless you know what is coming it is very possible to get ganked by an enemy or group of enemies that cause you to lose a ton of energy extremely quick. Needless to say, the games are extremely hard.
That said, the early entries in the series are the ones you are going to get the most difficulty out of, as there are tons more enemies from the very start, and they can make it extremely difficult to traverse the level. It can be a little jarring to go through the games in order, since the difficulty will feel like it is in reverse.
If there’s one thing I can’t find fault with, it’s the soundtrack. These games have some of the most enjoyable and nostalgic classic soundtracks you’ll hear anywhere. The music never gets annoying. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it does the complete opposite. Don’t be surprised if you want to play through the games multiple times just to enjoy the fantastic soundtracks they have.
Overall the job of porting these games feels seamless, and I only had one time where the game seized up in my hours of playing it. I still don’t know what caused it exactly, but I had forgotten about the freeze until I went back over my recorded game footage, so it really wasn’t off putting at all.
So all in all, ININ has done a fantastic job bringing some classics to the Switch, even improving them somewhat with accessibility features. The only downsides to these games are ones that existed long before they were ported, being difficulty and simply existing awkwardly between a lot of classics in the genre and more modern entries that have all but perfected it.
Should you buy it? Are you a fan of the series looking for some nostalgia? You can’t really lose here. If you are looking for a challenge, you’ll probably find it here. But otherwise, the price tag might seem a little high to take a gamble on, though if you do play through all four games, you’ll likely feel like you got your money’s worth.
Some nice accessibility settings
Nice graphics, especially for 90s games
Well ported, few if any real glitches
Jarring difficulty between games
Not the most innovative games for the genre
Slightly high price point