ron, Feb-29 2008

Widespread VC Friday

Rumours are starting to float around about the possible addition of the C64 as another system to be rolled into the Virtual Console system, but not right now. This week, Europe's Wii Shop Channel gets games for the usual systems, as follows.

Super Turrican

This is the SNES version of the futuristic run-and-gun platformer that made Factor 5 what they were before they discovered the tow cable.
Turrican's levels use a lot of vertical space, and have players traversing tiny platforms and stumble upon secrets high above the ground level. Enemies appear in waves, similar to shmups, and the player character's firepower can be upgraded to impressive extents. The game also shamelessly borrows the morph-ball idea from Metroid.

Psychosis

Yet another horizontal shmup for the TurboGrafx. The visual style is unusually abstract and colorful, which is explained by a plot that sets a new absurdity record, even for a shmup. There's a simple upgrade system involving three weapon families that can be upgraded in steps, and defensive sattelites that absorb bullets for you. The stages are relatively empty for a shmup, and you'll often have just one or two enemies on screen at once, but dodging walls plays a bigger than usual role.


Psychosis is a neat concept that didn't turn out well. The game is poorly balanced, which is largely due to too few enemies causing too little chaos to keep it exciting. The weapon upgrade system offers just the bare minimum it needs to keep itself from not existing, and the graphics are way below the standards of the system. Stay far, far away. Gradius for the NES is an excellent replacement, because it has stages that mirror Psychosis' style of play very closely (e.g. the careful platform dodging in level 2), but also has wilder moments, offers more depth, more challenge and isn't too far behind in graphics either.
Super Turrican is a weird mix of seemingly every genre that had established itself in the early nineties, but it works so well that it just has to be forgiven. Its shmuppish weapon system and the maze-like, high platforming levels do make it unique in the end, the controls are great, and the variety is there, too. Totally recommended.

Summary: Super Turrican is super; a Psychosis is not desirable.

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