Rainbow Arts‘ classic C64 shoot ’em up, Turrican, was converted to the Amstrad by Probe Software, and it demonstrates how to do this kind of side-scrolling run-and-gun shooter on the CPC. Compared to something like Gryzor, Turrican is streets ahead in terms of presentation and playability.
The Turrican shoots his way from left to right, collecting power-ups to enhance his weapons, collecting gems, and avoiding traps that sap his energy or pitfalls into the abyss (and instant death). Holding down the fire button shoots a constant beam of electricity that is useful for taking out larger enemies and destructible blocks. Pressing Return fires a dual wave left and right that will destroy anything on-screen instantaneously, although this has limited use.
At the end of some levels there’s a boss battle in order to progress. The first one being the iconic clenched fist robot that tries to flatten Turrican if he’s caught underneath it. The constant beam weapon comes in handy during these fights.
One thing I realised while playing Turrican was that the Amstrad is not particularly well suited to scrolling graphics. The scrolling backgrounds in Turrican look great, but they don’t move that smoothly. The play area is small too, meaning that you have to put yourself in harm’s way to push the screen forward, which isn’t ideal. It also makes the first boss fight rather tricky as there’s little screen real estate to escape into.
After recently playing the SNES and Megadrive versions of Turrican, this Amstrad conversion seems lacklustre in comparison, but it’s not a bad game overall. Amstrad Turrican was first published by Rainbow Arts in 1990 and it’s worth a look if you like run-and-gun games on the CPC or are a Turrican completest.
More: Turrican on Wikipedia