This actually ties into something I was thinking about the other day.
I realized, that despite having games as complex as smugglers, shades of
doom, entombed, time of conflict and lone wolf installed on my pc, what is
the game I play most often? What is the game I frequently just think "hay,
I've got half an hour, ---- lets play something" and stick on?
Easy, ------ The freeware, graphical remake of Turrican, T2002 (with it's
various level packs that people have created of course).
this is not, by any stretch of the imagination a particularly complex game.
There is no in game story let alone cut scenes. you have three main
weapons, ---- which you can't even choose betwene you just pick up at
random, a multiple shot that covers a wide area, a laser that covers a small
area but is very powerful, and a bounce weapon that rebounds off walls.
You have a close range, 360 degree energy whip, and a limited number of
grenades that blow up everything on the screen.
That is it! 3 primary weapons, one secondary weapon, and a limited use
special power, ---- Mota already has more to offer.
Neither is the game complex. Run along, shoot huge swarms of baddies, and
try to find the exit of each level.
There are no doors, ---- not even destroyable ones as in the metroid games,
let alone keys, nor are there torches, ---- not even medkits to carry.
Yet, why is it I play turrican probably more than any other game. Partly
it's the very amazing soundtrack, ---- but we'll leave that aside for now,
mostly it's the exploration!
the levels are, ---- quite honestly, ridiculously huge! each is 30 or so
screens square, and unlike in prince of persia where each screen held only 3
of your characters' high vertically, Turrican you can jump roughly as high
as Mario can, so each screen can hold five times your high vertically, also
obviiously the screen scrolls, and scrolls in any direction.
More than that though, each level is a massive maze. There is no guarantee
that you start on the left and the exit was on the right side as in most
side scrollers, indeed sometimes it was on the left and in in some levels
you jumped up into the exit or fell down into it.
then, exploration is actually rewarded, sinse the more you explore, the more
likely you are to find hidden extra lives or power ups, which are often very
well hidden indeed.
The pc remake also instituted a feature which is common to modern games but
was litle known in the early 90's when Turrican was originally made, ----
that of saving! Sinse the game now saves each time you get to a new level,
level designers have been able to create Turrican levels that even make the
original game look small!
I'm not sure on the exact size, but where as exploring the original levels
of the Amigar games would take me around 20 minutes to half an hour per
stage, some of the newly made levels have taken me literally hours! to play
Add to this another fact about turrican which I've yet to see emulated in an
audio game, instead of a single jump distance, you jump relative to how long
you hold down the jump button. This means you can have ledges and complex
terane to jump through, which requires you to calculate distances, ----
indeed often such a simple task as jumping from one ledge to another can be
made a good deal more complex by this, especially sinse obviously your
targit ledgte can be above or below you.
Trap wise, the game included comparatively few, but with the physics of the
jumps taken into account they could make things rather difficult. False
walls, or walls and ledges you could blast through with your weapon, moving
platforms (horrizontal or vertical), turning cog wheels that will chuck you
off when you stand on them, and conveyer belts that push you along (often
into hazards like crushers or flames which will damage you).
But why am I mentioning all this (especially about a game which most people
on this list will not be able to play), because it's this! that I would love
to see in an audio side scroller.
Freedom of movement, exploration, a system of jumping physics which actually
requires you to get used to and practice with, and traps which similarly
need some work from the player to avoid.
There's a tendency I've noticed in audio side scrollers to essentially make
everything feel quite automatic. You get close to enemy, enemy attacks
unless you hit first, on harder difficulty enemy damages you more. you get
to edge of ledge, hit single jump button.
Compare this to the fluidity and sense of freedom in a game like Turrican,
Metroid, ---- or even something like original mega man, and the difference
I'm absolutely certain it's possible to have this sort of experience in
audio, ---- but nobody has done it in 2D yet, though I will admit that
Shades of doom and sarah have indeed managed it in 3D (one reason why I
became interested in audio games in the first place, sinse Shades seemed to
have so many of the charactoristics that I enjoy in computer games
Beware the Grue!
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