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Photograph of a young Amiga player from England in the early 1990s playing Factor 5s Turrican .

Turrican is the name of a series of popular run-and-gun computer and video games . In these, the player controls a character through several science fiction worlds scrolling in all directions in order to survive against various opponents and bosses with futuristic firearms and laser weapons. The player can also transform into a crushing vortex (3 times per life possible). Hidden bonuses like extra lives and weapons, secret passages and huge levels are a feature of all Turrican games.

Since the second part of the series, the player-controlled hero of the game has been called Bren McGuire. The name Turrican refers to the suit that Bren wears. Allegedly it is derived from the Italian name Turricano , which Manfred Trenz found in a Düsseldorf telephone directory. Against this is the fact that the first demo version of Turrican (C64) was released under the name Hurrican . In the title lettering of the finished game, the H has been redesigned to a T. The unusual shape of the T in the cover picture, which still shows remnants of the original letter, suggests that the name change came very late, probably a few weeks before the release.



Logo from the sale boxes
Studio Rainbow Arts (C64)
Factor 5 (Amiga, AST)
Probe Software (CPC, ZX)
Code Monkeys (MD, PCE, GB)
Publisher Rainbow Arts (computer versions)
Accolade (console versions)
Senior Developer Manfred Trenz
composer Chris Huelsbeck
Commodore 64, Amiga 1990 1990 Atari ST, CPC, Spectrum 1990 Mega Drive 1991 1991 PC Engine August 1991 Game Boy November 1991 November 1991
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United StatesUnited StatesEuropeEurope

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platform Commodore 64 , Amiga , Atari ST , Amstrad CPC , ZX Spectrum , Mega Drive / Genesis , PC-Engine / TurboGrafx-16 , Game Boy
genre Run and gun
Subject Science fiction
Game mode Single player
control Joystick , game controller
medium Floppy disk , cartridge

The game series began in 1990 with Turrican on the C64 . Porting to CPC , Amiga , Atari ST , CDTV , Mega Drive , Game Boy , PC Engine and Sinclair ZX Spectrum followed .


The aim of the game is to go through a world called Alterra and find and destroy the final boss Morgul . Alterra is described as a living environment created by humans through bioengineering in a nearby galaxy, where an intelligent artificial ecosystem was created ( Morgul = Multiple Organism Unit Link) to make the planets habitable. However, this system got out of control, it was damaged by an earthquake and its functions have become independent. The player slips into the role of the hero (Turrican) and is sent to Alterra to regain the colony for humanity.


The C64 version consists of 13 levels, which are summarized in five worlds. These cover a total of over 1300 screens.


Turrican was largely developed by Manfred Trenz and distributed by Rainbow Arts . In this first part, the reference to the name in the game as well as in the instructions remains unexplained. Later parts of the series refer the name Turrican to the hero of the game or his armor. The Amiga implementation appeared a little later than the C64 version . The title picture of the game is inspired by the cover of the album Kings of Metal by the metal band Manowar , which was released two years earlier.

The following people are responsible for the C64 version:

  • Game idea, programming and graphics: Manfred Trenz
  • Producer: Marc A. Ullrich
  • Music: Ramiro Vaca, Stefan Hartwig, Michael Hendriks, Chris Hülsbeck
  • Sound FX: Adam Bulka
  • Sound routines: Chris Hülsbeck, Adam Bulka, Oliver Blasnik
  • Digi-Routines: Jeroen Tel
  • Graphics: Andreas Escher


The first part caused a sensation among gamers as well as in specialist magazines with its technical perfection and graphics, which many had considered impossible on the C64. The porting to the Amiga was not the usual rather loveless 1: 1 implementation, but graphically and musically a revolution. All coprocessors (the Amiga had three) were exhausted. The new graphical possibilities and the much larger color space with its dynamic adjustment options were fully exploited for the first time during a game conversion. The great variety of the game, the high intelligence of the opponents at the time, the many well thought out and upgradeable weapons as well as the very precise and well thought out controls set new standards. The game was the measure of all things for a long time and at least on the Amiga this perfect balance was only surpassed by Turrican II .

Turrican 2: The Final Fight

Turrican 2: The Final Fight
Logo from the sale boxes
Studio Rainbow Arts (C64)
Factor 5 (Amiga, AST)
Enigma Variations (CPC, ZX)
Sun-Project (PC)
Code Monkeys (MD, GB)
Publisher Rainbow Arts
Accolade (Universal Soldier)
Senior Developer Manfred Trenz , Andreas Escher, Holger Schmidt, Julian Eggebrecht
Commodore 64, Amiga 1991 1991 Atari ST, CPC, Spectrum 1991 PC 1995 Universal Soldier MD / Genesis, Game Boy 1992 1992
EuropeEuropeUnited StatesUnited States



United StatesUnited StatesEuropeEurope
platform Commodore 64 , Amiga , CDTV , Atari ST , Amstrad CPC , ZX Spectrum , PC
Universal Soldier
Mega Drive / Genesis , Game Boy
genre Run and gun
Subject Science fiction
Game mode Single player
control Joystick , game controller
medium Floppy disk , cartridge
Logo from the title screen of Turrican II, showing the redesigned H for T

Turrican 2 was first released in 1991 for Amiga and C64. It has been ported to CDTV , Atari ST, DOS , Amstrad CPC, and Sinclair ZX Spectrum .


In 3025 the flagship of the United Planets Freedom Force (UPFF), the "Avalon 1", is on the edge of the known universe in the galaxy Aldebaraan 42. The ship is tasked with venturing into unknown regions, although rumors have it that already other ships were sent out on the same mission and never heard from again. The crew is confident, however, because the ship is equipped with the latest technology and its crew is made up of the best that humanity has to offer. Shortly before the Avalon 1 can start the voyage, however, she is incapacitated by an unknown battleship that suddenly appears out of nowhere and is boarded by mutants. The occupation fights bitterly, but cannot withstand the never-ending onslaught of the hordes. Only one crew member survived the attack: Bren McGuire. After the aggressors and their leader "The Machine" have withdrawn again, Bren McGuire goes to the equipment room, in which the Turrican combat suits are. These are equipped with the most advanced technology available to mankind. Bren McGuire steps into one of these suits and goes into battle to take revenge on The Machine and restore peace and freedom to the galaxy.


The Amiga version was completed a little earlier than the C64 version. According to the designer Manfred Trenz, however, the C64 version is the "actual original version of the game, everything that came or still comes are conversions, and not the other way around" . The so-called 7-Voice-Routine for the Amiga 500 and Atari-ST -version was developed especially for this part, which was programmed by Chris Hülsbeck and Jochen Hippel together. For this reason, the soundtrack and the effects were able to gain audible sound breadth. From this part of the series, the hero of the game is called Bren McGuire, at least in the intro of the game. The instructions call it Turrican .

  • Design: Manfred Trenz, Andreas Escher, Holger Schmidt, Julian Eggebrecht
  • Programming: Holger Schmidt, Thomas Engel (Atari ST) and Manfred Trenz (C64)
  • Graphics: Andreas Escher , Manfred Trenz and Sven Meier (Atari ST)
  • Cover: Celâl Kandemiroğlu
  • Music: Chris Hülsbeck (Amiga), Jochen Hippel (Atari ST), Markus Siebold and Stefan Hartwig (C64)

A conversion for Mega Drive, SNES and Game Boy was almost completed, but then came onto the market for Mega Drive and Game Boy, slightly modified as Universal Soldier - named after the film of the same name by Roland Emmerich .

The PC version of Turrican 2 came onto the market much later with more colors (VGA = 256 from 262144) (Amiga = 32 from 4096), a higher resolution (VGA = 640x400) and partly redrawn graphics. The game got a little softer contours and the final boss from the first level got a mohawk haircut instead of feathers. However, nothing changed in terms of the flow of the game itself.


Turrican 2 was considered a successful PC conversion in game tests. Some also liked the coarse pixel style of the Amiga version better, but this was more technical than a feature.

Turrican 3: Payment Day

Turrican 3 appeared in 1993. The development was started on the Sega Mega Drive , because an Amiga version was considered uneconomical. In the end, the game was implemented for the Amiga and was available over a year before the Mega-Drive version. The two versions differ only playfully in a few details and with regard to their technical features.

  • Distribution: Rainbow Arts / Factor 5 / Softgold (Germany) / Renegade (rest of the world)
  • Design: Frank Matzke, Thomas Engel, Julian Eggebrecht, Willi Bäcker and Lutz Osterkorn
  • Programming: Peter Thierolf and Thomas Engel
  • Graphics: Frank Matzke and Ramiro Vaca
  • Cover: Celal Kandemiroglu
  • Music: Chris Hülsbeck

Turrican 3 was released for Amiga and Mega Drive, under the name Mega Turrican . On March 21, 2008, a version of Mega Turrican was released for Nintendo's Wii and can be downloaded from the Virtual Console .

On the cover of the box, the third part is written with a Roman three, in the game itself with an Arabic. By mistake, the subtitle of the game was named on the disc imprint of the game's predecessor - The Final Fight .

Great turrican

The Super Turrican parts were independent developments for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The first part was graphically and playfully very similar to Turrican 3 . In Super Turrican , Bren McGuire of the United Planet Freedom Force slips into the Turrican battle suit again, this time to free the peaceful planet Katakis from the clutches of the dark machine. Super Turrican was released in 1993 on a 4 Mbit module and has also been available as a paid download for Nintendo's Wii via the Virtual Console since February 29, 2008 .

In addition to the SNES game, there is also an independent Super Turrican for the NES, which was developed practically single-handedly by the Turrican inventor Manfred Trenz. It is roughly based on the levels of the first two Turrican parts.

Super Turrican 2

The second Super-Turrican part contains numerous Mode 7 effects. The graphics are more varied than the previous one, the levels are very linear compared to the other parts of the series and there are only a few alternative routes to destination.

Turrican 3D

Turrican 3D was supposed to be a third-person shooter developed for PC and published by THQ , but it was never completed. There are only a few screenshots and videos that show what the Turrican 3D world and the main character would have looked like.

In an interview, Manfred Trenz, who helped develop Turrican 3D , announced that many members of the development team were too keen on “big money” and that the project had failed for this reason.


Live concert of the Turrican soundtrack with classical instruments. Lower left screen with Turrican and the game protagonist in the middle of the picture.

The music of the Turrican series is considered to be one of the best works by the musician Chris Hülsbeck . Excerpts from the soundtrack of all three regular parts were also published on CD in a revised form in 1993. A medley of revised titles from parts 1 and 2 can already be found on Hülsbeck's first CD Shades from 1991 (this title is also included as a remastered version on the Turrican soundtrack from 1993). In 2004 a Turrican 2 medley was performed at the second game music concert in Leipzig, in 2006 a medley (piano arrangement) with music from Turrican 3 was performed at the fourth game music concert, and in 2007 an orchestral version of music from Turrican 2. Further variations on themes from Turrican 2 and 3 were heard at the Symphonic Shades tribute concert to Chris Hülsbeck, which was performed in Cologne in 2008 by the WDR Radio Orchestra and the FILMharmonisches Chor from Prague. In 2012, Hülsbeck successfully started a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter.com to finance a multi-CD collection. The Turrican Soundtrack Anthology was released on four CDs in 2013.



On the Nintendo 64 , Factor 5 started the development of another three-dimensional Turrican successor. The game was given the title Thornado , because you could not agree with the then rights holders of the brand name Turrican. The release of Thornado has been postponed again and again, later it should appear on the Nintendo GameCube and now, according to the latest information about it, it is on hold. Almost no details about the game are known. In issue 12/97 of the now discontinued video game magazine Mega Fun , three screenshots of the Nintendo 64 version can be seen.

Turrican Rebirth

In an interview in Retro Gamer Magazin issue 02/2013, Julian Eggebrecht mentions plans for the successor with the project name Turrican Rebirth .

Unofficial successors / clones


At the end of 2002 T2002 was released as a remix of Turrican 2 on the PC. This implementation, created by hobby programmers, contains new levels and is freeware . A level editor was added later and a version for the Game Boy Advance is in the works. A Turrican offshoot is now also available for Java cell phones. There is also a 32kB demo / mini game that was developed as part of the demo scene , Turrican32k.

Turrican 3 (C64)

Turrican 3 for the C64 was on 28 August 2004 at the demo party Evoke from the group Smash Designs published and has technically nothing to do with the Amiga and Mega Drive versions. However, the music is in excerpts a conversion (medley) of the game music of the original Amiga Turrican 3 version or Super Turrican on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and not a complete in-house development.

T4 funeral

Another Turrican clone is the game T4 Funeral for Windows, which is based on the T2002 engine. It's a completely redesigned Turrican game with new graphics, music, and levels. The game is available as a 58 MB download.


A group of hobby programmers called Poke53280 published another unofficial Turrican successor in 2007 after five years of development under the name Hurrican , the original working title of Turrican. This version is the first in the series to include a 2-player mode, and Hurrican also won second place in the indie game showcase competition in 2008 . Originally published as freeware , the source code of Hurrican was released in 2012 and has since received a central repository on Sourceforge . The user community is working on porting to other platforms and has z. B. MacOS and Pandora builds created. There are also ports for AmigaOS 4.1, MorphOS and AROS .

Web links

Commons : Turrican  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Running and jumping parade: Turrican . PowerPlay. June 1990. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  2. ^ Carsten Borgmeier: Turrican II . Amiga joker . March 1991. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  3. Quotation of current software market edition 7/1991, p. 68
  4. gBase - New Turrican game in the making? ( Memento of the original from March 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved May 27, 2014 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.gbase.ch
  5. Download page for T4 Funeral
  6. ^ Mosh: How We Survived the Five Year Hurrican. ( English ) www.planetfreeplay.com. July 29, 2007. Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. Retrieved on April 30, 2012.
  7. Website of the programmers of Poke53280 ( Memento from September 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (archived)
  8. Winners of the Indie Game Showcase contest 2008 ( Memento of April 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (archived, English)
  9. Hurrican source-code released ( Memento from March 23, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Blog of one of the developers, January 30, 2012 (English, archived )
  10. Hurrican on sourceforge .com (English)
  11. Hurrican Release on http://repo.openpandora.org/ (English)
  12. Hurrican Release in the OS4 Depot
  13. Hurrican Release at MorphOS Files
  14. Hurrican Release at The AROS Archives