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Super Turrican 2 (SNES) artwork

Super Turrican 2 (SNES) review

"16-bit action to the max"

Super Turrican 2 (SNES) image

The 16-bit era was home to many great run 'n gun games: Gunstar Heroes, Contra: Hard Corps, several Metal Slug games. But the practically unknown Super Turrican 2 could very well be the best run 'n gun game ever made. Cranking the action up to 11 and beyond, the final entry in the Turrican series sent the name off with a farewell and 21,000 gun salute.

Anyone familiar with the series knows by now that the controls are going to rule, yet Super Turrican 2 somehow exceeds expectations. Gun powerups look cooler than ever, as do the screen-clearing bomb and invulnerable wheel mode for pinch situations. The manually-fired petrification beam returns to deal with enemies outside of your trajectory of fire, as well as new auto-homing missiles that fire as your main gun does. The grappling hook from Mega Turrican returns but fires instantly in the direction you indicate; more vitally, you can use fire the hook in midair, allowing you to perform multiple wall-jumps and swing around like space marine Tarzan!

Super Turrican 2 (SNES) imageSuper Turrican 2 (SNES) image

Super Turrican 2 has some new tricks up its sleeve in regards to both audio and visuals. Winning the former front, master composer Chris Huelsbeck returns with a soundtrack more akin to stirring orchestral score than the rock-synth of Turricans past, but those rockin' tracks are here, too, including one whose remastering by Chris is an all-time favorite of mine. The soundtrack fits the game perfectly, sometimes synchronizing with the action a la R-Type Delta. Sound effects hold more punch than ever, and there are even some neat feats like voice clips strewn about. Few other 16-bit games can claim to have made so much of their meager resources as Super Turrican 2 did.

As for visuals, no Super Nintendo game prior to Super Turrican 2 (excepting the Donkey Kong Country games) possessed such amazing visuals. We're talking Mode 7 to the max, pseudo-3D in multiple flavors, rotating sprites, and good-looking 3D CGI FMV cutscenes. On a cartridge. With no additional hardware. No other Super Nintendo game (and only a couple of Genesis games I can think of) is quite as technically impressive as Super Turrican 2, but it doesn't rely on magic tricks to impress. Terrific detail extends to the pixel work in sprites, backgrounds, effects; you'd be hard-pressed to find a better-looking action game on the console prior to this, with only a successor in R2: Rendering Ranger exceeding it.

Super Turrican 2 (SNES) imageSuper Turrican 2 (SNES) image

We got better gameplay than ever, we got a great soundtrack, we got truly magnificient audio-visual design -- what about the setpieces and level design? Well, now... Did you think Contra: Hard Corps got crazy? You've seen nothing until you've seen the madness of Super Turrican 2.

Driving a gun-buggy to land jumps on flying robots, grappling through the support beams of destroyed skyscrapers, outrunnning a massive cloud of corrosive gas as it eats away at the structures beneath you, torching bots with your flamethrower as you hang precariously onto the bottom hull of a flying gunship, using giant sandworms as platforms over the maw of a canyon. Fighting for your life inside the maw of the biggest sandworm since the Dune movie. All this and more is in the first of four sets of levels in the game. And things only get better from there, as the game constantly ups the ante of previous entries with a variety of creative bosses and levels. The pacing is excellent, as well, with exploration levels and (admittedly sometimes rough to control) vehicle sections to mellow things out at times; this and the cutscene transitions result in a Turrican that feels like a journey instead of a best-hits album, and the pacing helps prepare players for challenges ahead, resulting in a high-octane game that doesn't exhaust the player.

Super Turrican 2 (SNES) imageSuper Turrican 2 (SNES) image

Super Turrican 2... what a game! It surpassed every other sidescrolling action game of the time, it pushed the limits of the Super Nintendo, and it has some of the best setpieces of any game prior or since. It's all too sweet to last long enough; the game can be completed in about two action-packed hours, and the replayability of Hard Corps' multiple characters, arching paths, and co-op is sadly absent. But what's here is top-tier and accessible due to good design that find the ideal balance between challenge and fairness. It isn't every day one sees a run 'n gun game that eschews arcade extortion-by-quarters nonsense typical of the genre in order to be actually accessible... while still having an order of magnitude more incredible action than almost every other game out there, regardless of genre.

It isn't every day one sees a game as remarkable as Super Turrican 2, the king of the 16-bit run 'n gun.


Follow_Freeman's avatar
Community review by Follow_Freeman (March 24, 2018)

When he isn't in a life-or-death situation, Dr. Freeman enjoys playing a variety of video games. From olden shooters to platformers & action titles: Freeman may be a bit stuck with the games of the past, but he doesn't mind. Some things don't age much.

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