Turrican 3 logo Gamer Gold

Join Renegade for a bout of platform fun. Death, aliens, destruction and big guns. You know it makes sense!

Some games you know about six months before they're released and the hype machine kicks your door down, invades your head and messes about with your mind. Other games just pop up from nowhere, release without any fuss or hype. Turrican 3 is, thankfully, in the latter category. I'm supposed to know everything about Amiga games, but there was no-one more surprised than me when I saw it at the ECTS.

Turricans 1 and 2 , after all this time, still make the top of my favourite games list. Each was a classic, containing some of the best platform/shoot-'em-up action I've ever played. The Gameplay was basic, but incredibly addictive and highly playable. Your mission was to get through the many levels while blasting away everything in your path.
Some of the weapons you could get were just outrageous. For real gun-loving psychopaths, Turrican was the perfect product.

Renegade have now got the rights to publish Turrican 3 and nobody is more pleased than me. You might think that the third game in the series would now have amazing sound and astounding graphics. Well, yes it has got both those features but they were pretty damn hot in the first two Turrican adventures.

Turrican 3 carries on where the other games left off and still manages to retain that high standard of gameplay coupled with fancy graphics and sound. There are few differences between 13 and its predecessors. Gone is the ever so useful, err extended laser thingy that you could swing around your body (yes, you just try and explain it in words) to be replaced by a rope.

This new handy rope helps you reach higher platforms with the minimum of fuss and also lets you swing across large chasms. If you're really clever you can swing up to the roof to avoid particularly nasty baddies and then shoot at them from above.

The weapons and power-ups are still included and so is the function to turn into a spinny, spikey chainsaw-type thing (again, you try and explain it). The spinny thing - for those who didn't play the previous incarnations of Turrican - lets you romp around the screen without fear of getting destroyed, but unfortunately only lasts for a limited amount of time.

The story, it has to be said, is a bit of a literary masterpiece. An evil machine from the far reaches of the galaxy has reared its ugly head and assembled many dark forces together. The dark forces rampaged throughout the universe causing massive destruction and enslaving anyone who was unfortunate enough to get in their way. This next bit is the best bit. The slaves screamed as they were captured, and in particular one woman, who must own the world record for the loudest scream. This scream carried from one side of the universe to the other were the hero of the game happened to be standing.

"Why not sounded like a damsel in distress and if I don't rescue her I have this funny feeling that the world will be taken over by the evil machine and its dark forces!" exclaimed our hero, Bren McGuire. Bren quickly strapped on his assault suit and loaded his weapons. Now a lean, mean fighting machine with a uncanny sense of direction, Ben flew off in his spaceship to where the trouble lay. This, of course, is where you come in. You take control of Bren and his assault suit and guide him through 15 levels of hot platform action and there you have it.

Turrican 3 is a very uncomplicated platformer and is one where you can blast alien beasties to bits as soon as you load it up. The graphics are similar to to those seen in the previous Turricans, but perhaps are slightly more detailed and contain better enemies.

The sound is not the most fantastic you've ever heard, but as per usual you can always reach for the volume switch if you don't like what you hear.

The best thing about Renegade's platform/shoot-'em-up is the fact that it is so playable. It's one of the very few games that has captivated the whole office and when a game does that you know it's got to be good.

For gamers wanting a bloody good platform romparound with the opportunity to blast away to your heart's content then you need look no further than Turrican 3.



Turrican 3 logo

There is something comforting about playing Turrican 3. It is a bit like bumping into a casual acquaintance you have not seen for years, going for a beer, reminiscing about old times and discovering that despite the superficial changes, you are pretty much the same people deep down. If that acquaintance was Bren McGuire, the hero of Turrican 3, the conversation would probably go like this:

"So Bren, what you up to?"
"Same old thingm mate - ridding the universe of an alien scourge"
"That sounds interesting."
"It has got its moments. Does not get any easier, though - 15 levels this time. The first few are OK once you have got the general idea, but it gets a bit hairy towards the end. I have got some impressive fire power, though> it is not so much the action as the tactics that cause problems. One wrong turn and you have had it, especially because you are up against the clock."
"Another beer, Bren?"
"Got to fly; promised the missus I would pick up a pizza."

Turrican 3 falls into the 'action packed platform romp' genre, and as such involves lots of shooting, blasting, jumping on to lifts, swinging across gaping chasms and collecting things, in much the same way as the popular Turrican (88%, AF13) and Turrican 2 (80%, AF20).

The beasties that look like cockroaches on stilts are easy to handle, but the large green cannon-firing beasties and the crabs take a bit of blasting before they curl up and die. But Bren is no fool and he is well tooled up with plasma bolts, homing missiles, deflector shots, smart bombs and an energy wheel, which involves him turning into a rolling energy mass and wasting everything that comes near.

This awesome firepower comes courtesy of the Turrican assault Suit which Bren slips in before starting his adventure through 15 worlds littered with hazards, chasms, bonuses and watery bits.

On top of this, you have also got the plasma rope - handy for exploring the bits that Bren cannot leap to and swinging across things. It is a touch tricky to control at first, but with practice you will be swinging around with abandon.

But lots of shooting and swinging do not necessarily a great game make. Turrican 3 is fun. It is tricky and frustrating enough to keep you glued to your Amiga for a fair while, but there is nothing outrageously original about it. Bren is a solid, reliable character, and so is the game. It is good, it is just not that good.



Turri lebt!

Turrican 3 logo Amiga Joker Hit

Dies ist nicht nur die Fortsetzung einer erfolgreichen Serie, dies ist die Wiederauferstehung einer Legende! Und der Joker hat den Exklusiv-Test dazu - dem Anlaß entsprechend auf vollen drei Seiten, inklusive Hintergrundinfos und eines Kurzinterviews mit den Programmierern.

Selten wurde ein Spiel so herbeigesehnt wie die dritte Plattform-Schlacht des schwerbewaffneten Heldenrobots, selten hat man sich mit der Veröffentlichung so viel Zeit gelassen, und selten konnte das fertige Produkt dann so überraschen: Obwohl Turrican III mit doppelt soviel Musik des Soundgurus Chris Hülsbeck aufwarten kann wie sein Vorgänger und obwohl sich in den nunmehr 15 statt 13 Levels viel mehr Gegner tummeln, begnügt sich das Game mit einer Diskette und 512 KB Speicher.

Freilich wird der Einsatz von einem Megabyte mit kürzeren Ladezeiten belohnt, doch die sind ohnehin so knapp bemessen, daß die fehlende Möglichkeit einer HD-Installation kaum unangenehm ausfällt. Ruckeln ist für das Spiel selbst am 500er ein selten gebrauchtes Fremdwort, am A1200 geht die Action-Post nahezu vollkommen flackerfrei ab!

Wenig Neues hingegen, was die Vorgeschichte betrifft: Der altbekannte Oberschurke Maschine ist nach wie vor am Leben, diesmal hat er ein hübsches Mädel gekidnappt. Wer über soviel Einfallslosigkeit verstimmt ist, der lasse sich vom stimmungsvollen Intro um- bzw. Einstimmen - wirklich sehenswert, was da an japanophiler "Akira"-Look über den Screen flimmert.

15 Levels und einen besiegten Maschine später darf Turri dann im Abspann mit der Geretteten den Sonnenunergang bestaunen. Doch was ist nun dazwischen in den fünf Welten zu je drei Abschnitten los?

Zunächst wird im Optionsmenü zwischen Stick- und Joypadsteuerung gewählt und der Schwierigkeitsgrad bestimmt, außerdem darf man sich die verschiedenen Musikstücke reinziehen und seine Entscheidungen abspeichern. Ist das erledigt, findet sich der Held in Maschines Labor wieder, wo allerlei Aliens herumschwirren und schreckliche Mutationen aus großen Reagenzgläsern hüpfen, sobald man diese zerballert.

Über ein System von Fahrstühlen gelangt man schließlich zu weiteren Monstrositäten und dann zum ersten Endgegner, dessen gifttriefende Mäuler auch einem Mann aus Stahl zu schaffen machen. Wie gut, daß statt des gewohnten Rundumschusses nun ein Seil vorrätig ist, an dem man sich hin- und herschwingen kann, um dem Ekelpaket irgendwann den Gnadenschuß zu verpassen.

Weiter geht es in einem gruseligen Aquarium voller bösartigen Krabben und hinderlicher Wasserfälle. Spätestens wenn der Wasserpegel bedrohlich ansteigt und Elektro-Fische und riesige Seeschlangen angreifen, können nur noch gut getimte Sprünge das Heldenleben retten. Ist dann alles voll des feuchten Elements, sind Schwimmübungen bei multidirektionalem Scrolling (anstatt des bisher horizontalen) angesagt - es müssen Diamanten, Zusatzenergie und Extraleben ergattert werden, was Quallen oder Tintenfische verbiesert zu verhindern trachten.

Sobald auch die bildschirmfüllende Krake en paar Arme kürzer gemacht wurde, wird Turrican in die Wolken katapultiert. Über Gleiter hüpfend, landet er auf einem Schrottplatz, wo der Erzschurke die inzwischen leicht ramponierten Schlußmonster der ersten beide Spiele aufbewahrt...

Hier legt man sich also zwischen gefährlichen Abrißbirnen nochmals mit der berühmten Stahlfaust aus Turrican I und dem Roboter aus Teil zwei an, kämpft gegen einen feuerspeienden Bagger und begibt sich sodann in den Untergrund.

Es folgen eine rasante Zugfahrt und der Fight gegen eine Alienkönigin, ehe man über ein Gewirr von Fließbändern endlich zum ultimativen Showdown mit Maschine gelangt. Wer auch das noch überlebt, darf den besagten Sonnenuntergang in charmanter Belgeitung erleben. Daß das überhaupt möglich ist, ermöglicht die bewährte Steuerung der Vorgänger. Turri kann sich also wieder in ein gemeingefährliches Rad verwandeln, allerdings nur noch für begrenzte Zeit, weshalb hier eine eigenen Energieanzeige vorhanden ist.

Auch die via Space-Taste zu aktivierenden Smartbombs sind erneut zu haben, geändert hat sich dabei nur die optische Präsentation ihrere Wirkung. Ähnliches gilt für den Rest der Bewaffnung: Die diversen Laser-, Stre- und Kriechschüsse sind nach wie vor ausbaufähig, auch zusätzliche Zielsuchraketen wurden nicht vergessen. Neuerdings genügt jedoch ein Druck auf den Feuerknopf, um gleich drei Schüsse auf einmal auszulösen.

Kurzum, Turrican III läßt hinsichtlich Gamedesign und Präsentation nichts von alldem vermissen, was die Serie berühmt gemacht hat. Die Jungs von Factor 5 haben großartige Arbeit geleistet, vom feinen Parallaxscrolling über die erstaunlich ideenreichen Szenarien bis hin zu den 32 Musikstücken und 82 Soundeffekten liefert das Programm Action in Perfektion.

Zu bemängeln wäre allenfalls, daß die Handhabung etwas Eingewöhnung erfordert und der einfachste Schwierigkeitsgrad die Sache wirklich arg simpel macht, während auf der schwierigsten Stufe selbst Profis verzweifeln können.

Aber wen interessiert es? Turri ist wieder da, genial wie eh und je - ein Action-Hammer, um den uns die PC-Freaks beneiden werden! (C. Borgmeier)


KURZINTERVIEW MIT FACTOR 5
Turrican 3: Jullian Eggebrecht

Wir unterhielten uns mit Julian Eggebrecht, dem Sprachrohr der mittlerweile 12köpfigen Programmiertruppe.
?: Vor einem Jahr habt ihr uns noch erzählt, daß keine Amigaversion von Turrican III kommen würde - woher der Sinneswandel?
JE: Damals ware wir som mit den lukrativeren Konsolenversionen ausgelastet, daß eine Umsetzung einfach nicht möglich schien. Doch dann bot sich der ehemalige Kaiko-Mann Peter Thierolf an, das Projekt zu realisieren. Seine Fassung sollte bereits im April erscheinen, doch mußten wir sie noch mal kräftig überarbeiten.
?: Bringen die Konsolen tatsächlich so viel mehr Kohle?
JE: Im allgemeinen schon, doch momentan gibt es für den Amiag so wenig Qualitätssoft, daß wir uns gute Chancen ausrechnen - nicht umsonst hat Renegade den internationalen Vertrieb übernommen.
?: Die Fans haben ja förmlich um eine Fortsetzung gebettelt, wird es ein Turrican IV für den Amiga geben?
JE: Falls sich der dritte Teil gut verkauft - warum nicht?
?: Was geht derzeit sonst so bei euch ab?
JE: Nachdem Kaiko praktisch komplett in Factor 5 aufgegangen ist, haben wir genügend Leute, um aufwendige Projekte auf die Beine zu stellen. Im Moment stricken wir z.B. für eine US-Firma an einem Spiel für das Super Nintendo, wo populäre Filmcharaktere in einer Mischung aus Turrican und Castlevania auftreten. Für dieselbe Konsole ist auch Super Turrican II in der Mache.
?: In der Hoffnung auf weitere aufwendige Amiga-Projekte bedanken wir uns für das Gespräch.

DIE VORGÄNGER

Turrican I: Insgesamt ein Dutzend Level, druch zwei davon düst der Held mit einem Raketenrucksack. Eines der ersten Amigaspiele mit sauberem Parallaxscrolling (50 hertz); derzeit ist es bei Kixx für 29,- DM zu haben.

Turrican II: 13 Levels, drei davon warden bei Horizontalscrolling mit einem Raumer durchflogen. Hier gab es bereits mehrere Endgegner und eine Schwimm-Sequenz; nachzuprüfen dank der Budget-Profis von Top Shots für 19,- DM.

DIE KONVERTIERUNGEN

Mit Kommentaren von Julian Eggebrecht.

Turrican I: C64, Amiga, Atari ST ("Die ST-Version erreichte immerhin dreistellige Verkaufszahlen..."), eine Umsetzung für Amstrad CPC und Spectrum von Probe Software ("Gottlob sind die Rechner nicht so verbreitet - also haben nicht allzu viele Leute diese Versionen gesehen!") sowie Konsolenfassungen für Game Boy, PC Engine und Mega Drive von Accolade ("Am Game Boy und auf der Engine ging es ja noch so, aber vor dem Mega Drive kamen uns die Tranen").

Turrican II: C64, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC und Spectrum ("Stammen von einem untalentierten Team, das vom Anco-Geschäftsführer vermittelt wurde"); zudem brachte Accolade unter dem Namen "Universal Soldier" Versionen für Game Boy, Mega Drive und das Super Nintendo heraus ("Ein Segen, daß der Name geändert wurde - unser Ruf wäre beim Teufel gewesen!").

Super Turrican: Eine Mischung der ersten beide Teile für das Super Nintendo von Factor 5. ("Von Manfred Trenz gibt es noch eine ziemlich schlimme Version für das NES - zum Vergessen.").

Mega Turrican: Dieses Mega Drive-Game von Factor 5 ist mit vorliegender Amigaversion nahezu identisch.

TURRICAN-HISTORIE
Turrican 3: Team Factor 5

Erfunden hat den Blechkameraden im Jahre 1990 Manfred Trenz; er programmierte auch die beiden ersten Teil für den C64. Die Umsetzungen auf Amiga und Atari ST besorgten jeweils die Mannen von Factor 5, weshalb der berühmte Hülsbeck-Soundtrack auch den 16-Bit Versionen vorbehalten blieb. Der dritte Teil entstand dann ohne Manfreds Mitarbeit, doch sein Genie lebt im Namen weiter: Auf die Idee brachte ihn schlicht das Telefonbuch und dort ein Düsseldorfer Restaurant namens "Turricano"...



Turrican 3 logo

First there was Turrican. Then there was another one of it. Then there was another one of that one. Which this is.

Yolks! Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? It's going on for a year now since I was plucked from the ranks of the unemployed to sit here in the corner of the office and tap out several thousand words every month. Such is the non-stop party atmosphere of AMIGA POWER that it really doesn't seem like I'm going to work at all, it feels more like I'm hanging out with all my most favourite pals.

With so much fun and frolics, I've only recently got round to taking a week off, and while I was chilling out in the splendour of the Lake District, I read several of those summer special things, and it set me thinking. Wouldn't it be great to read a summer special of reviews? (No. -Ed) Wouldn't it be a wacky idea to make it a blend of short stories, (No. -Ed) puzzles, (No. -Ed) and fun-to-play games? (No. -Ed) And then I thought, hey I write for a magazine. (That could very easily be changed. - Ed) I could do it! Sure, I would appear in the middle of winter, but that would be even better as it would remind all readers about fun-filled summer holidays. Hoorah!

BREN TO THE RESCUE!
Bren McGuire was a hero, although he didn't yet know it. Sure he had an enormously manly jaw and purple hair, sure he owned a fearsome mechanical exo-skeleton capable of enhancing his strength, but at heart he was just a simple farm boy. That is, until the day that he got the special message from the foxy Manga babe.

She lived on a distant world and had blue hair (Bren always went for blue-haired types) but he couldn't resist this call to arms. The universe was being threatened by the Machine, which had destroyed dozens of planets and captured hundreds of innocent people. (So the destruction of another planet could potentially mean the death of maybe 10, or possibly even 13 innocents). He pulled up the zipper of his exo-skeleton and headed to face the evil of the Machine.

WILL YOU LIKE TURRICAN 3?
1. What would be your ideal employment?
A. Accountant
B. Chartered Surveyor.
C. Saviour of the Universe, jumping from platform to platform shooting all manner of robotic baddies across 15 different levels, defending yourself with guns that fire in all kinds of directions, plus homing missiles.

2. Which of the following phrases best describe your favourite type of game?
A. Thoughtful, methodical, intelligent.
B. Puzzling, mind bending.
C. Mindless adrenaline-pumping, fire-button-hammering arcade action.

3. If you were going to save a girl from a mad, planet-destroying mechanoid, how would you do it?
A. Phone the Intergalactic Police and let them deal with it.
B. Circle the planet dropping 90 kiloton nukes, and hope you miss the girly.
C. Land and then set off on foot, taking out every single one of the Machine's tiny minions individually.

If you were to make any changes to the popular arcade game Turrican 2, what would they be?
A. Include more strategy, finesse and varying gameplay options.
B. Add some more cute things, and maybe a fluffy bunny as the main character.
C. Give the battle suit a harpoon gun that fires a rope. You would then be able to hang from platforms and swing, allowing you to get to hard-toŚreach areas, containing extra lives and power-ups. Which you didn't need before, because there weren't any hard-to-reachwithout-swinging-on-a-rope bits anyway.

Answers:
Mostly As and Bs: You will not like Turrican 3. Mostly Cs: You will like Turrican 3.


(9)'s virtually the same as (11,12)

REVIEWING BY NUMBERS
Next up we've got the 'review-by-numbers' section, where you use your skill and judgement to fill in the spaces. It's a bit like painting by numbers and many of the same rules apply, so make sure you put some newspaper down over the carpet before you start, and don't forget to rinse all the brushes out ith warm water when you've finished. Hang on, here we go!

According to the blurb you get when you've finished (1), the adventure has only just begun, in which case, oh dear. This version has very little new to offer, so the prospect of numerous sequels fills me with a felling very similar to the one you get when you eat too much junk food at motorway service stations. You know the kind of feeling, you're glad you ate (9), but you still feel a bit ill and wouldn't really want to do (9) again.

The main down-side of (1) is that (9)'s virtually the same as (11,12), only with the inclusion of the (6) swing. This isn't such a terribly Bad Thing, as all the (11) games play well, but (9)'s a bit sad that we're having the same old thing recycled and pumped back at us time after time. The lack of imagination in having similar baddies, similar levels and the same old (6) run, shoot, run (7) is, quite frankly, terrifying.

On the good side, many of the levels are very (5). The underwater one hangs together the best, with the aquatic nasties fitting in well with the surroundings, and the animation of Ben being quite convincing. There's a frantic run across steel girders suspended from flying cars that looks gorgeously like that Flash Gordon movie with Peter Duncan in it (purple clouds, 1930s-looking sci-fi craft, the works) and some screens featuring loads of (2) layers that are truly wonderful.

I realise that some people love shoot-'em-ups, and that they'll be reading this and thinking "Yeah, he just doesn't like arcade game", but there are some games that are as basic and mindless as this, but still a lot more enjoyable. Walker, for instance, or R-Type (12) or Llamatron, these all rely on your ability to press fire rather than to think, but they play well. (1) just seems to have much of the (3) sucked out of (9).

1. Turrican 3
2. parallax
3. enjoyment
4. you're
5. pretty
6. ropey
7. gameplay
8. fired
9. it
10. Snip!
11. Turrican
12. 2.

So there you have it, and wasn't that fun? I can see all manner of possibilities opening up (Down at the Job Centre, perhaps? - Ed) so don't be at all surprised next time I do a review in the style of a Picasso painting, or as a scratch 'n' sniff card, where a complex series of odours are used to explain my feeling on the game, or maybe (10, 4, 8. - Ed)



Turrican 3 logo CU Amiga Screen Star

One of the most addictive shoot em ups ever to grace the Amiga has been wheeled out of retirement for a third outing. Dave Stone managed to get a day pass from the Home for Retired Games Players to check it out...

It might have been only three-and-a-half years since the first Turrican game appeared on the Amiga, but it sure as hell feels like a lot longer. At the time of its release, it was hailed as one of the Amiga's top shoot em ups - even if it was a fairly derivative blast.

The idea was to guide an armour-suited soldier around a series of platformed levels, taking out as many alien nasties as possible. To do this, you were armed with an unfeasibly large gun which could be transformed into a variety of weapons depending on which of the game's many power ups you opted to pick up on your travels. The arcade-quality feel to the game, coupled with some gob-smacking graphics, explosive sound effects and excellently designed levels, made for a frantic and incredibly addictive blast.

The following year, Turrican 2 hit our screens. Adhering to the same formula as the first game, the action was even more fast 'n' furious than its predecessor, with more varied enemy sprites, better attack waves, gigantic end-of-level guardians, and even bigger levels to blast your way through. Then, with the advent of console mania, the team behind the games, Factor 5, turned their attention to pastures new and the long-awaited third game in the series was quietly shelved.

Now, after realising the error of their ways, the German-based developers have unveiled the third Turrican outing. Even better, although they have kept the basic gameplay traits of the first two blasts, the team have radically revamped the new game and given it fresh vitality by significantly tweaking the level design, upping the number of alien nasties to slaughter, and making things even more frantic than before.

On booting up, the first thing you are treated to is an animated intro, which fills you in on what has happened since the end of Turrican 2. The evil bio-mechanical monstrosity known only as The Machine has embarked, once more, on a course of galactic domination, ruthlessly destroying entire solar systems in the pursuit of power. Unfortunately, as the United Planets' most decorated war hero, it is up to you to save the day and give the alien ruffian a jolly good seeing to. After 'volunteering' for such a deadly mission (i.e. everyone else took a step backwards when you were not paying attention), it is off to the intergalactic equivalent of a 'phone booth to don the famous Turrican armoured exo-skeleton and kick some alien ass.

FIVE ALIVE
The action is set across five increasingly difficult levels, each made up of three separate zones. Infesting each one is a battalion of The Machine's robotic minions, plus some bizarre biologically-engineered life forms, each one capable of soaking up a number of shots before they keel over and die. Most are eight way scrolling affairs, set over huge expanses, although some involve single screen encounters with some of the game's large adversaries. Luckily, your assault suit comes equipped with enough fire power to level a small city single-handedly, but you must make sure you constantly replenish your supplies as the game progresses.

Once you have located one of the game's many ammo dumps, you can take your pick from multi-shot guns, lasers, homing missiles, rebound shots and a useful body shield. Along with these goodies come extra lives and a heart-shaped icon which boosts your suit's energy levels to maximum power.

As well as all this firepower at your disposal, you also have access to three smart bombs per level - these spew out a concentric circle of bombs that clear the screen of all but the largest enemies.

Each level adopts a particular item. The first involves exploring the corridors of an alien hatchery, killing the baby face-huggers, and collecting as many point-scoring gems as possible. If this level looks familiar, that is because much of it is based on Sega's Mega Turrican game from last year.

The best bit here is when you have blasted through the first zone and then have to contend with a swarm of alien nasties which dive down from above. There is nowhere to run, so you have got to polish off each enemy sprite as it flies in. Miss one and they block your path, so it is possible to get in very quickly and become a sitting duck. Once you have destroyed the end-of-level guardian, which looks suspiciously like a wobbly marshmallow, it is on to level two. Here the mood and music changes to reflect the dark and damp environment. We are deep into one of The Machine's research stations now, and much of the stage actually takes place beneath the waterline. This is not much of a problem for our hero, however, as his assault suit comes with a built-in oxygen supply.

Unfortunately, the place is absolutely crawling with all manner of mutated beasties, ranging from huge crab-like creatures to deadly manta rays. There is also a series of electrical storms hitting the area which come down like sheet lightening, zapping your suit's energy reserves. Lose too much energy and you eventually explode, causing you to lose one of your five lives.

The third level uses a graphical style akin to the Terminator coin-op in that most of the colours are silvers and greys, giving the battle-scarred alien landscape a bleak and foreboding look. Set against a backdrop of a ruined city, birds of prey hover in the air waiting to swoop down and tear you to bits with their talons. There are even sky-borne assault craft which sweep the area with their searchlights, and which then unleash a volley of shots once they have located their targets.

More than any other level, this one is absolutely packed with huge enemy sprites, and they are also the most difficult to overcome, so expect to lose plenty of lives in this section.

The fourth level is a typical Giger-inspired Alien pastiche (how original), with body huggers that attach themselves to your face mask and suck the energy out of you. The only way to defeat these is by using up your precious smart bombs, or blasting them before they can leap up at you. There is also a tricky wagon train section in which you have to leap from section to section.

This does not sound too difficult until you realise that the screen is constantly scrolling, so if you take your time you will be pushed along, and pressured into making an untimely leap to your death. Of course, while you are trying to do all this, a whole host of alien uglies are after your skin, too. The end of level guardian in this section is a huge Alien Mother who is out to revenge the deaths of her siblings, so watch out.

By the fifth level, the pace has been cranked up another notch or two. Your super soldier is now deep into The Machine's futuristic lair, and the bad guys come thick and fast. Huge Walker-like sentries fill almost the entire screen and you will need maximum fire power to overcome this lot. After wading through screen after screen of complete and utter mayhem, it is then on to a final encounter with The Machine, a huge bio-mechanical monstrosity that fires laser bolts from its eyes and bristles with all sorts of deadly armaments.

HIGH WIRE ACT
Apart from the new weapons under your control, one of the best innovations is the use of a grappling hook to reach previously inaccessible areas. This is fire from a separate gun and once it has become attached to a solid object, it is simply a matter of swinging from side to side to build up enough momentum to reach a much higher platform by climbing up the wire and then leaping to safety. It is an effective new tool in Turrican's armoury, but because it is triggered by holding down the joystick fire button, it can be triggered inadvertently.

Each stage is set against the clock. You might think that you have ample time to finish a level, but you would be surprised at how quickly the clock counts down. Leave everything too late and you will witness your man crumpling to the ground as his body armour explodes. Luckily, there are lots of extra life tokens littered about each level - too many in fact, as I found I was rarely in danger of having to quit the game and start again. There are also a number of level restart points and three sets of continues, so they have really given you every chance of completing it. Admittedly, things get a little hectic when you choose the 'maniac' difficulty level, but on normal play it is possible to complete the game in under an hour if you are any good.

That is not a major criticism, though. The harder difficulty levels increase the resilience of the aliens as well as their intelligence, so you get more of a game for your money. Overall, Turrican 3 is a quality blast with inventive levels, a good arsenal of weapons at your disposal, and some excellent graphical touches. The first two games suffered from rather mechanical Lego-like level design whereas this new offering provides five distinct levels, all of which are highly imaginative in their layout and the challenges they set.

There are not many Amiga shoot em ups this good on the market.


WHO DO FACTOR FIVE THINK THEY ARE?

You might not recognise the Factor 5 name, but you will almost certainly have played one of their games. Formed in 1987 by five computer enthusiasts, the tem set out to write arcade-quality games for the Amiga. Their first release was Denaris, a straight forward shoot em up in the style of the then popular R-Type coin-op. Due to the enormous success of Denaris/Katakis, the Irem corporation commissioned the team to write the official conversion of R-Type on the Amiga, which came out in 1988.

From there, Factor 5 went on to design Turrican (1990) and Turrican 2 (1991), both of which received massive critical acclaim by the computer press. Turrican 2 was premiered at the Cologne computer show and the game caused a full-scale riot! Only 900 demo disks were made available to the public and in the resultant clamour for copies, two people were actually hospitalised.

After that little episode the team turned their attention to the Super NES and Mega Drive, starting work on Super Turrican and Mega Turrican. Perhaps F5's greatest achievement was the Amiga conversion of PC Kid from the PC Engine. Renamed BC Kid for the Amiga market, the game was released by UbiSoft last year and was rewarded with a sought-after CU Amiga Superstar.

Now that they have got Turrican 3 under their belts, the team are turning their attention back to the SNES for Super Turrican 2 and an as yet undisclosed new game project in association with a top movie company (That company would be Lucas Arts).

TAKE CONTROL
Here is a whistle-stop-guide to what is going on in Turrican 3.
Turrican 3
  1. You start the game with five lives, but there are many extra life tokens scattered about each level.
  2. Watch out for these fire vents. Get caught in their blast and your armoured suit will start to melt.
  3. Two of the many robotic guards that inhabit this particular level. Bounce on their bounces to make them scuttle away.
  4. Laser fire. With this little baby you can blast practically anything away!
  5. Collect all these lovely gems for bonus-giving points.
  6. If you want to compete against a friend for a high score, then this is where you have to look.
  7. Better not forget that everything is against the clock in this game! So step on it!
  8. Each soldier comes with three smart bombs. Save these beauties for the bigger adversaries.
  9. Energy bar. Each hit you take reduces the amount of energy that powers your suit. Lose it all and your soldier dies.
  10. Hold your joystick down and you will be transformed into a spinning gyro capable of whizzing about, laying mines and getting into previously inaccessible places.