Last updated
Front Cover of Turrican Game Box, May 2014.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Rainbow Arts (C64)
Factor 5 (Amiga, AST)
Probe Software (CPC, ZX)
The Code Monkeys (MD, PCE, GB)
Publisher(s) Rainbow Arts (European computer versions)
Innerprise (North American C64 and Amiga versions)
Accolade (console versions)
Designer(s) Manfred Trenz
Composer(s) Chris Huelsbeck
Jochen Hippel (ST)
SeriesTurrican  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Platform(s) Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Mega Drive/Genesis, PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16, Game Boy
ReleaseCommodore 64, Amiga
Atari ST, CPC, Spectrum
Mega Drive/Genesis
  • NA: August 1991
Game Boy
  • NA: November 1991
  • EU: November 1991
Genre(s) run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player

Turrican is a 1990 video game programmed and designed by Manfred Trenz. It was developed for the Commodore 64 by Rainbow Arts, and 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: The Final Fight , followed in 1991 for the Commodore 64 and other platforms.

1990 has seen many sequels and prequels in video games and several new titles such as Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Dr. Mario, and Super Mario World.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Game programming, a subset of game development, is the software development of video games. Game programming requires substantial skill in software engineering and computer programming in a given language, as well as specialization in one or more of the following areas: simulation, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, physics, audio programming, and input. For massively multiplayer online games(MMOG), knowledge of additional areas such as network programming and database programming is requisite. Though often engaged in by professional game programmers, some may program games as a hobby.



The lost colony of Alterra is a completely man-made world 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.


Level 1 (Atari ST version) Turrican-2.png
Level 1 (Atari ST version)

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 developed mainly by Manfred Trenz and published by Rainbow Arts.

Rainbow Arts video game developer

Rainbow Arts Software GmbH was a German video game publisher based in Gütersloh. The company was founded in 1984 by Marc Ullrich and Thomas Meiertoberens and acquired by Rushware in 1986. In 1999, Funsoft Holding, which acquired Rushware and sister company Softgold in 1992, sold Rushware to THQ, which was incorporated into THQ Deutschland, THQ's German operations arm.

Turrican was also released for the Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and CDTV. Factor 5 handled the Amiga, Atari ST and CDTV versions, while the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum were developed by Probe Software. While all of these versions were published in Europe, the Commodore versions were the only computer versions to be published in North America, by Innerprise Software. The Spectrum version of the game went to number 2 in the UK sales charts, behind Shadow Warriors . [1]

Amiga family of personal computers sold by Commodore

The Amiga is a family of personal computers introduced by Commodore in 1985. The original model was part of a wave of 16- and 32-bit computers that featured 256 KB or more of RAM, mouse-based GUIs, and significantly improved graphics and audio over 8-bit systems. This wave included the Atari ST—released the same year—Apple's Macintosh, and later the Apple IIGS. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Amiga differed from its contemporaries through the inclusion of custom hardware to accelerate graphics and sound, including sprites and a blitter, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.

Atari ST series of personal computer models

The Atari ST is a line of home computers from Atari Corporation and the successor to the Atari 8-bit family. The initial ST model, the 520ST, saw limited release in April–June 1985 and was widely available in July. The Atari ST is the first personal computer to come with a bitmapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released in February 1985. The 1040ST, released in 1986, is the first personal computer to ship with a megabyte of RAM in the base configuration and also the first with a cost-per-kilobyte of less than US$1.

Amstrad CPC series of home computers produced by Amstrad

The Amstrad CPC is a series of 8-bit home computers produced by Amstrad between 1984 and 1990. It was designed to compete in the mid-1980s home computer market dominated by the Commodore 64 and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, where it successfully established itself primarily in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and the German-speaking parts of Europe.

In 1991, console ports for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, TurboGrafx-16 and Game Boy were handled by The Code Monkeys and published by Accolade in North America, with the Mega Drive and Game Boy versions being also released in Europe. A conversion of the game for the Atari Jaguar was under discussion by German studio Softgold, but work on the port was never stated beyond the discussional phase. [2]

Sega Genesis Fourth-generation home video game console and fourth developed by Sega

The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in regions outside North America, is a 16-bit home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis is Sega's third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released it as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, and later as the Genesis in North America in 1989. In 1990, it was distributed as the Mega Drive by Virgin Mastertronic in Europe, Ozisoft in Australasia, and Tec Toy in Brazil. In South Korea, it was distributed by Samsung as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy.

TurboGrafx-16 video game console

The TurboGrafx-16, known in Japan and France as the PC Engine, is a cartridge based home video game console manufactured and marketed by NEC Home Electronics, and designed by Hudson Soft. It was released in Japan on October 30, 1987 and in the United States on August 29, 1989. It also had a limited release in the United Kingdom and Spain in 1990, known as simply TurboGrafx and based on the American model, while the Japanese model was imported and distributed in France in 1989. It was the first console released in the 16-bit era, although it used an 8-bit CPU. Originally intended to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it ended up competing with the Sega Genesis, and later on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Game Boy 1989 portable video game console

The Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. The first handheld in the Game Boy family, it was first released in Japan on April 21, 1989, then North America, three months later, and lastly in Europe, nearly a year after. It was designed by the same team that developed the Game & Watch and several Nintendo Entertainment System games: Satoru Okada, Gunpei Yokoi, and Nintendo Research & Development 1.


The Turrican series is well known for the quality of its soundtracks. Chris Huelsbeck composed music for the Amiga conversions of Turrican, Turrican II and Turrican 3, as well as Mega Turrican for the Mega Drive and Super Turrican and Super Turrican 2 for the SNES. 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. The music from Turrican was released in the Turrican Soundtrack Anthology on November 24, 2013 as a 4-volume digital download. [3]

Chris Huelsbeck German video game music composer

Christopher Hülsbeck, known internationally as Chris Huelsbeck, is a German video game music composer.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the German federal state of Saxony. With a population of 587,857 inhabitants as of 2018, it is Germany's eighth most populous city as well as the second most populous city in the area of former East Germany after (East) Berlin. Together with Halle (Saale), the largest city of the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt, the city forms the polycentric conurbation of Leipzig-Halle. Between the two cities lies Leipzig/Halle International Airport.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

In addition, "Subsong 2" from Turrican, arranged by Ramiro Vaca, was copied from the song "Escape" of The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack . [4] The title screen for Turrican is based upon the Manowar album cover Kings of Metal. [4]

<i>Kings of Metal</i> 1988 studio album by Manowar

Kings of Metal is the sixth album by the American heavy metal band Manowar, released on November 18, 1988 by Atlantic Records. The album was the last to feature guitarist and founding member Ross "The Boss" Friedman, who later went on to rejoin punk band The Dictators. Drummer Scott Columbus left the band after this album as well, but rejoined for 1996's Louder Than Hell and remained with the band until 2008.


Review scores
Crash 94% [5]
Sinclair User 79% [6]
Your Sinclair 92% [7]
MicroHobby (ES)Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [8]
Zzap!64 97% [9]
MegaTech 73% [10]
Zzap!64Gold Medal
CrashCrash Smash

Turrican can be described as a cross between Metroid and Psycho-Nics Oscar . [11] 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.

The Spectrum version was voted number 36 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time. [12]


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), and also for the Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Boy and SNES [13] rebranded as Universal Soldier.

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), Acorn Archimedes and Amiga CD32 versions were also planned and developed, but it was never released and only some enemy sprite designs have surfaced. [14]

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 (SNES)

The Super Turrican games were developed for the SNES 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. [15] Screenshots and videos show how the world of Turrican would have looked. [16] 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. [17]

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. [18]

Next-gen Turrican; in April 2007, a Gamasutra article revealed that Factor 5 was working on concepts for a new Next-gen Turrican game. [19] The game didn't have a title yet and was simply known as Turrican or Project cyclone. [20] Since the game was being planned once again by the US branch of Factor 5 and they went bankrupt not long after, this game was never released either.

Fan projects

Hurrican is an independent freeware sequel released for Windows in 2007. [21] In the past there were already several other more or less extensive fan-made remakes of Turrican including T2002, T4 Funeral and even a Turrican table for Visual Pinball , [22] but Hurrican is particularly notable for its 2nd place in the 2008 Indie Game Showcase contest. [23] As the source code of Hurrican was released in 2012, source ports to other platforms are now possible. [24]

Related Research Articles

<i>International Karate +</i> 1987 video game

International Karate +, often abbreviated as IK+, is a karate fighting video game published in 1987 by System 3, originally for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. It has since been ported to a number of other platforms. The Commodore 64 version was released in the U.S. under the title Chop N' Drop.

<i>Rushn Attack</i> 1985 arcade game

Rush'n Attack, originally released in Japan and Europe as Green Beret, is a run and gun arcade game released by Konami in 1985. Rush'n Attack is remembered for its Cold War setting and its reliance on the player using a knife to dispatch enemies.

Factor 5 video game developer

Factor 5 GmbH is an independent software and video game developer. The company was co-founded by five former Rainbow Arts employees in 1987 in Cologne, Germany, which served as the inspiration behind the studio's name.

<i>California Games</i> sports video game

California Games is a 1987 Epyx sports video game originally released for the Apple II and Commodore 64 and ported to other home computers and video game consoles. Branching from their popular Summer Games and Winter Games series, this game consists of a collection of outdoor sports purportedly popular in California. The game was successful for Epyx and spawned a sequel.

<i>Turrican II: The Final Fight</i> 1991 video game

Turrican II: The Final Fight is the second game of the Turrican series. The game by Factor 5 was released in 1991 for the Commodore Amiga. This version was finished before the C64 version, but Manfred Trenz cites the C64 version as the original design. Turrican II was also released for the CDTV, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum, and later for DOS, and also for the Mega Drive/Genesis and Game Boy rebranded as Universal Soldier.

<i>Fast Food</i> (1989 video game) 1987 Codemasters video game for personal computers

Fast Food is the title of two slightly different arcade-style maze video games in the vein of Pac-Man featuring the video game character, Dizzy the anthropomorphic egg designed by the British-born Oliver Twins. The game was originally released in April 1989 and published by Codemasters. It was the third title to feature Dizzy.

<i>Summer Games II</i> 2008 video game

Summer Games II is a sports video game developed by Epyx and released by U.S. Gold based on sports featured in the Summer Olympic Games. It is a sequel to Summer Games released by Epyx the previous year. Summer Games II was originally written for the Commodore 64 and ported to the Apple II, Atari ST, MS-DOS, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC and Amiga.

<i>Target: Renegade</i> 1988 video game

Target: Renegade is a scrolling beat'em up computer game released on the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum systems in the late 1980s by Ocean Software on their "Imagine" label, as well as a Nintendo Entertainment System version published by Taito. The game is a sequel to Renegade and was followed by Renegade 3. When acquiring the license to convert the original arcade game Renegade to home computers, Ocean acquired the option to produce and release their own home-computer-only sequels to the game, and Target Renegade was the first of these sequels.

<i>Midnight Resistance</i> 1989 video game

Midnight Resistance is a side-scrolling action shooting game produced by Data East for the arcades in 1989. It was ported to the Sega Mega Drive in 1991 as Data East's first video game for the console. The game was also adapted by Ocean Software to various home computer platforms.

Kikstart 2 is a motorcycle trials racing videogame released for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. It enjoyed more success than its predecessor, Kikstart. The game allowed 2-player simultaneous or 1-player, vs-computer play. The game mechanics were copied into other games too, like the Game Boy game "Motocross Maniacs".

Europress was a British magazine and software publisher based in Adlington, near Macclesfield, Cheshire. Their magazine publishing business was previously known as Database Publications.

<i>Hunchback</i> (video game) video game

Hunchback is an arcade game developed by Century Electronics and published in 1983. The game is loosely based on the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the player controls Quasimodo. Set on top of a castle wall, the player must guide the Hunchback from left to right while avoiding obstacles on a series of non-scrolling screens. The goal of each screen is to ring the church bell at the far right.

Alligata Software Ltd. was a computer games developer and publisher based in Sheffield in the UK in the 1980s.

<i>Bruce Lee</i> (video game) video game

Bruce Lee is a video game designed by Ron J. Fortier, with graphics by Kelly Day and music by John A. Fitzpatrick. It was originally developed for the Atari 8-bit family and published in 1984 by Datasoft, along with ports for the Apple II and Commodore 64. Bruce Lee is a platform game hybrid, in which the player controls Bruce Lee. A second player controls either Yamo, or alternates with player one for control of Bruce Lee.

<i>Microprose Soccer</i> video game

Microprose Soccer is a soccer videogame published by MicroProse in 1988. The original Commodore 64 version was developed by Sensible Software, with conversions carried out to other formats. It is the fore-runner of the 16-bit classic Sensible Soccer. In the United States the game was released under a title Keith Van Eron's Pro Soccer.

Krisalis Software video game developer

Krisalis Software Limited was a video game developer and publisher founded by Tony Kavanagh, Peter Harrap, and Shaun Hollingworth in 1987 under the name Teque Software Development Limited as a subsidiary label until the official company name was changed to Krisalis Software Ltd. in 1991. Originally, the name was intended to be Chrysalis Software Ltd., but a dispute with record company Chrysalis Records resulted in a minor spelling change. The company was restructured in April 2001 with a new management team of Tony Kavanagh, Tim James and Simeon Pashley and reused the original name of Teque Software development.

<i>Grand Prix Simulator</i> 1988 video game

Grand Prix Simulator is a racing game developed by The Oliver Twins and published by Codemasters for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit family. The ZX Spectrum conversion was done by Serge Dosang. The Spectrum version was endorsed by Ayrton Senna's teammate Johnny Dumfries.

<i>Monty Pythons Flying Circus: The Computer Game</i> 1990 video game

Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Computer Game is a 1990 scrolling shoot 'em up computer game developed by Core Design. It was released by Virgin Games for various computer formats including the Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It is loosely based on material and characters from the 1970s British comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus, in particular the Gumby character.

Vivid Image

Vivid Image was a video game developer from the United Kingdom, founded in 1988 by Mevlut Dinc, Hugh Riley and John Twiddy, all former employees of System 3. Their debut game was Hammerfist for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, released in 1990. Hammerfist is also notable for being one of the few games that was developed for the failed and never released Konix Multisystem game console. Vivid Image also created the development system for the Commodore 64GS, another failed game console, and helped publishers with putting their games on the C64GS cartridges.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-16. Retrieved 2014-06-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. Baranski, Björn (November 3, 2015). "Interview: Earthworm Jim was planned for the Atari Jaguar". ejagfest.de. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2013-12-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. 1 2 "Facts about Turrican". Turrican SETA. Archived from the original on 2003-08-18. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  5. http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=Crash/Issue77/Pages/Crash7700041.jpg
  6. http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=SinclairUser/Issue102/Pages/SinclairUser10200074.jpg
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-28. Retrieved 2012-01-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. http://www.worldofspectrum.org/showmag.cgi?mag=MicroHobby/Issue201/Pages/MicroHobby20100034.jpg
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, page 79, May 1992
  11. "Interview about games that inspired Turrican (German)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  12. "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993.
  13. http://www.nemmelheim.de/turrican/official_turricans/show_turrican_details.php?game=UniversalSoldierSNES
  14. "Turrican 3 PC". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  15. Kennedy, Sam; Strohm, Axel (February 24, 2000). "Turrican Returns in 3D". CBS Interactive.
  16. Screenshots and videos of Turrican 3D Archived 2012-02-08 at the Wayback Machine
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-09-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. http://www.garageband.com/artist/huelsbeck
  19. "Gamasutra Story about Next-gen Turrican". Archived from the original on 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2007-05-04.
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-09-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. "Mobygames entry of Hurrican". Archived from the original on 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  22. "Unofficial Turricans and Clones". Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  23. Winners of the Indie Game Showcase contest 2008 (archived)
  24. Hurrican source-code released! news message of the developer (January 30, 2012)