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 Turrican 3 - The Review    
Turrican 3 - The ReviewThe release of Turrican 3 on the C64 gained a lot of attention. Some people love it, while others don't like it. But how good is it actually? For sure it's a game worth checking out.

After Reviewers? Diaries, you can find more in our illustrated Turrican 3 review, brought to you by the two Turrican experts: Wotnau & _V_.
Wotnau & _V_

[1] : 02. Oct 2004 10:18   
First of all, I would like to thank Wotnau and _V_ for all their effort they put in this review. Cheers also to CreaMD for supporting while I was html’ing this, and doing the screenshot comments.
Since 30th September I also belong to the brave heroes who defeated Morgul II! He’s really a tough one! Well, I might have been able to complete the game earlier, but I also suffered from the fatal bug in Level 5-1 twice before. Next to the fact that 100 diamonds do not always result in an additional continue, this is the one from which I hope someone will fix.
Still, thanks to all beeing involved for creating a fine game!

[2] : 02. Oct 2004 12:28   
Very nice review, guys :). You are the true turrican experts, I bow to your ph33rsome turrican skillz. (and I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who found world four and *that bug* on world 5 painful. :-p)

[3] : 04. Oct 2004 09:22   
at the weekend I was playing Turrican I, I really appreciate the hard work AEG put into T3, but I have to say that a lot of gfx is probably ripped from T1&T2, and the previous versions are more playable, and more correct in terms of bullet/enemy collision detection, less flickers/bugs, etc..

[4] : 04. Oct 2004 12:57   
Although I have to admit that AEG was heavily inspired by T1 and T2, I don’t think he ripped the graphics. ?n World 1, the sprites look similar, but are slightly different, and so are the background charsets. After World 1, these differences become larger still.

Technically, well, we kept the emphasis off that except for those things which *really* hamper the gameplay. You are right about the things you mention but in the end, this is freeware and game-wise, said things are not paramount to the gaming experience (the fatal bug in world 5 is).

In the end, I guess there is a difference about polishing a large and complex game when you get paid for it, and when you don’t get paid for it.

[5] : 04. Oct 2004 14:52   
Ok, we either dont get paid for demos, how loud would you laugh if you come and tell me this or that part in my demo sux, and then I tell you "its ok that way, or was I paid for it ?"

[6] : 04. Oct 2004 16:39   
Well, in my opinion, a game has to be differentiated from a demo, because a game depends highly on user input, a demo much less so. When you create a game like Turrican 3, you have to (normally) spend an eternity testing all possible inputs from the user, then find a solution when problems arise. "What happens when I jump from that point to that point", "What happens if I use this weapon when crouching in this place", etc. etc. Stuff like this requires quite some beta-testing on top of debugging, and when you’re on a budget of 0, I can understand if you decide to skim on this process. Reviewers used to make a difference between full-price and budget games in the past, and I don’t see why that has to change. If this were a full-price game, you can be sure that I would analyse every little detail, and bash it down if it deserves to be bashed down. As it stands now, I can be forgiving and focus on gameplay elements and the overall feeling of Turrican 3. [rant]And even then, mistakes are made. If you read any Resident Evil Outbreak review for example, you’ll see that there are complaints about how the polygons of the player characters overlap. Terrible, terrible, they all scream, not realising that this was done deliberately so that you can’t get trapped by other players when going on-line. It’s not that Capcom wanted to do this, but they had to since beta-testing showed what would happen otherwise.[/rant] With demos, you don’t have to ’beta-test’ on the user input (a few parts excepted, but there the user input is usually limited to choosing some values... not much can go wrong there), so one has more time for debugging, which results in nice, stable demos. And that’s of course a good thing.

[7] : 04. Oct 2004 19:27   
Bah, testing linear level-based action game shouldn’t be that hard. Try action/adventure with global world state and lots of boolean conditions, in addition to testing correct action of player/enemies :)

[8] : 04. Oct 2004 22:00   
If it isn’t that hard, then why not a Turrican IV from Cadaver? With heavy Metroid influences? ;)

But yes, the genres you compared have a difference in complexity which will show a difference in testing length. Now let’s compare that genre to something of the scope of Sims 2 ;).

Btw, never underestimate testing - I’ve seen grown men who worked as application and game testers cry over what they had to do. Or at least complain the stars from the sky ;). At points like that, I was happy to just be a writer, not a tester.

[9] : 04. Oct 2004 22:12   
Mhh, this is getting painful, each time I open my mouth I’d have to code your Metroid-Turrican :)

[10] : 04. Oct 2004 22:18   
In seriousness, (might have said before) I’ve done shit similar enough to know I don’t want to do it over again, but with tech constraints that force to skimp on algorithm correctness :)

[11] : 05. Oct 2004 11:41   
For the record, it’s not really *my* Metroid-Turrican. The idea comes from WEC, who (understandably) is its major proponent. I seconded (or thirded) the idea and am still game to design a world for it. But this is all huge future-speak, of course.

[12] : 05. Oct 2004 11:57   
AliH: I’ve read your review in GameOverView #9, btw, and it was quite cool as well. It was good to see the similarities between our take on the game and yours.

AmiDog: I’ll respond to your request here, even though you stated it in the reviewers’ diaries section: Umm, maybe I’ll do a longplay, but I’ll have to find the time for it. The question then will be: should I do a FAQ and send it off to GameFAQs, or is there a c64 related site which would host such a walkthrough (perhaps accompanied by some nice piccies etc)?

[13] : 05. Oct 2004 17:54   
Just by the highway: congratulations to MacGyver to completing AEG’s Turrican III! 5-1 and the final battle against Morgul II are almost worth fighting through World 4. ;) (I’ll have difficulties trying to forget the fit of laughter that’s stricken me when I first read the "I’m _loving_ this!" in _V_’s diary.) Welcome among the heroes, MacGyver!

[14] : 05. Oct 2004 17:54   
I wonder why there wasn’t such a hype around MW4? I have to admit I liked this a lot more... ;-)

[15] : 05. Oct 2004 18:20   
I guess it’s nostalgia. Not many people have had the chance to play the MW series, whereas Turrican was a pretty huge hit in its heyday. To me, Turrican took up a significant chunk of my youth (although not as much as Wotnau), so it’s kinda cool to ’return to the roots’ after all these years...

And if someone would dare create a cool Turrican/Metroid hybrid, I’d be allllll over it (ok ok ok, I’ll stop now Lasse, promise ;).

[16] : 05. Oct 2004 19:08   
Steppe. Word! ;-)

[17] : 05. Oct 2004 19:11   
Ahem, sorry to all Turrican lovers, I just didn’t grow into it. At times when I was playing games for hours, I had only tape deck so all my favourites are between single-file games. As far as Cadaver’s MW4 is concerned (an yeah I’m offtopic in this discussion) I wish somebody did such review tribute to that game as Wotnau and Vip did to T3.

[18] : 05. Oct 2004 19:30   
Mmhh, not much drama/variety in reviewing MW4 I’m afraid. It does the Deusex ripoff in fairly consistent but graphically unappealing way, while presenting enemies that all act the same (Hmm, serious postmortem evaluation or lame attempt at self-humor? You decide :))

[19] : 05. Oct 2004 20:44   
I mean, T3 is much greater source of controversy & drama, therefore good to write about. Excellent graphics & music, bad Hollywood intro, hype, bugs, quitting + 100 disks of source being offered, 7-year development, challenging the Master himself. MW would have hard time matching that :)

[20] : 05. Oct 2004 21:03   
Seems like you are tryin to be sarcastic, ironic and even (excuse moi) pathetic at the same time ;-))

[21] : 05. Oct 2004 21:29   
Nah, stop it, Lasse. There’s really no need to let your latest gem shine in a bad light. And I wasn’t really trying to arouse a controverse discussion or comparison between the two games. They have a quite different approach anyway.

[22] : 05. Oct 2004 21:49   
Actually I would like more controvert discussion. But yeah I know what MW4 does well and that it does things C64 games usually don’t and I’m still helluva proud about it (and I even have to admit I felt some kind of sadistic & evil satisfaction when T3 flickered and bugged) And btw. that "featurelist" of T3 wasn’t all positive now wasn’t it?

[23] : 05. Oct 2004 21:51   
Or it could be false modesty... I liked MW4, too, but after having played so many games on highend platforms and consoles, games like resident Evil, Silent Hill (and all their sequels), Planescape: Torment, Grand Theft: Auto, ... it’s hard to find the same rush in our little box.

One could argue that for a c64 game to really stand out in comparison to such titles, all you need to find is a great, revolutionary concept which can fit into memory. Unfortunately, what then happens is that your great idea is ported over to the big platforms in thousands of infinitesimal variations and clones, usually with much better graphics and music for a much stronger effect. Of course, by then, the game is no longer ’hot’. And that kinda sucks.

[24] : 05. Oct 2004 21:55   
I like the bad Hollywood intro, btw. Brought me right back into that funky ’All your base are belong to us’ mode =). The graphics from AEG were pretty decent, although I would have preferred a grittier, cyberpunk feeling to it. I guess the budget was a bit small to hire Masamune Shirow to do the graphics ;).

[25] : 05. Oct 2004 21:57   
Yeah. IMO C64 has greatest potential in getting the player *really* pumped via simple action gameplay (one important ingredient of getting pumped is the fear of failure, ie. gameover) If we still talk about MW4, it purposefully discarded that for saveanywhere and trying to imitate PC games, therefore it even in theory can’t get players very pumped. Btw. I yesterday I got *very* pumped playing T3 up to 5-1 but then it did the death lockup bug..

[26] : 05. Oct 2004 22:14   
*patpatpats* (we know the pain, brother)

...And then, all your adrenalin is channeled into pure rage because technically, you aren’t supposed to be dead. Technically, you aren’t supposed to plow through the entire game again to get to the spot you died. Better luck next time - all I can say is: if you’re unsure about an elevator jump in 5-1 because your health is low, don’t do the jump. Waiting 3 minutes for the timer to expire is better than playing another 30 minutes to get to 5-1 again. Of course, that does allow you to practise the earlier levels again.

You can see my evolution because of it in the screenshots... in the first World 4 pics, I’ve got like 5-6 lives, but later on it’s 14-15 because of the added experience and other assorted tricks. I can now comfortably battle Morgul II with 24-25 lives, which is quite nice. Of course, no lives lost is even nicer, but that will take considerably longer to accomplish...

[27] : 05. Oct 2004 22:28   
Aeuhm, anyone wanna mock on the biggest Turrican nerd there’s ever been? This is the first time I could agree to that there might be something about those demoparties (even though I’ve been co-organizing for five+ years already). It was just TODAY that I noticed the existence of the Smash Designs demo Return of the Darkness and downloaded it and saw it. So far about Hollywood intros, except that AEG should have had his English checked by a native speaker. :) + I like how Turrican’s (no Bren McGuire is no real name for no Turrican, and no Turrican is no name of no battlesuit) hair changes from German blonde to grey. >:D Anyway, gotta admit that I got sort of absorbed into the story, too. That bloody old fire inside... ah well...

[28] : 05. Oct 2004 23:24   
*imitates Nelson Muntz (Simpsons) and points at Wotnau*

Ha-ha! ;)

I gues you know understand why I absolutely had to include some images from RotD, if only for the cool FLI. By the way, I did mention RotD extensively in my first diary entry, and hoped it would spur you into watching it, too. Oh well, better late than never =).

[29] : 06. Oct 2004 14:50   
Ah, finished the bastard. Got to Morgul II with 16 lives and finished with 7 :)

[30] : 06. Oct 2004 15:53   
Cadaver: Welcome to the club, O’Mighty Hero!
Wotnau the No-Bren-at-all Turrican

[31] : 06. Oct 2004 18:01   
Wotnau, Bren mc Guire = our hero in Turrican suit. That’s how the story goes. You’ll have to get used to it =).

[32] : 06. Oct 2004 18:20   
Btw. do they put him in cryostasis between missions or something? :) I remember in the official T3 there’s something like "Eons have passed since we last heard of the machine.."

[33] : 06. Oct 2004 18:59   
As you know, time is relative ;). ’Aeons’ could mean ’years’ in this context. And otherwise, who knows what mr. mc Guire likes to do in his spare time. I mean, if you have like 10000 credits on the bank in 2053 at an intrest rate of 2%, it would be quite beneficial to put yourself in cryogenic sleep for ’aeons’ and then wake up a multi-billionaire. Maybe mc Guire bought that island he was sipping a cocktail on using that strategy? Of course, then also the general must have been in cryogenic sleep and all the others too, so I guess my theory doesn’t hold up too well. Still, it’s funny/weird enough to consider and write down here ;)

[34] : 07. Oct 2004 20:00   
They all had money in the same bank, which miraculously stayed in business - and kept the same beneficiary interest rate - for eons. I think my savings account has about 0.5% interest and decreasing, so it would make little sense for me to go into cryostasis for that reason.

Anyway, I’m one of those "never played Turrican" people and only knew it from magazine reviews. IIRC, DMz gave the Amiga version of T2 rather good scores, but badly marked down the C64 when it was around. The magazine still exists today, but only works with PC and all the staff from the old days is replaced, so it would not make sense to ask them to review T3 to justify things, or how to say it.

Anders Carlsson

[35] : 07. Oct 2004 20:52   
I can understand the scoring difference between Amiga and c64 T2: the Amiga version was, hands down, the prettiest to look at and the coolest to hear. Once you get used to that, the c64 simply looks spartan by comparison. It was the same for me - I was used to the H?lsbeck track, the glorious graphics, the pretty colours, the huge enemies. c64 felt watered down.

Something reviewers don’t have time for, however, is to really get to grips with a game and experience it to the same depth as the developers. If the DMZ reviewers had the time to do that, they would have noticed that the c64 version plays a lot faster and smoother and inevitably is more dynamic and fun as a game. It didn’t have the bells and whistles of the Amiga, but people like us have the capability to look past them and evaluate a game for what it is. Oh well =).


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