Turrican II features a quite stereotype story of a man who is the last survivor of the battleship Avalon I. The Avalon was attacked by mutants under the command of "The Machine," a half man/half machine cyborg. His army kills off the Avalon crew leaving only Brem McGuire alive. He seeks revenge and fortunately for him there are still some Turrican battle suits left in the ship.
Turrican runs through five big world filled with lots of small and big enemies. At the beginning of the game he is only equipped with a small laser gun which can be enhanced. He has also a smart bomb which kills each enemy on the screen and an energy shield which can resist a few collisions. If you knee down and press space Turrican will transform into a spinning wheel for a short time. The spinning wheel form does not only allow you to drop mines, it also makes you invincible. If you hold the fire button while in your normal form Turrican will activate his power weapon. This weapon fires a permanent light beam which you can swivel around Turrican.
There are different kinds of extras which make Turrican's life a bit easier. He can gain additional lives, smart bombs and energy. There are also yellow-red diamonds - if you collect 100 of these you'll be awarded with an extra life.
There are three different kinds of weapons: the first one is a laser beam which is good for stronger enemies. The shots of the second weapon bounce of walls. The third one is your standard weapon which can be enhanced to hit all enemies in front of you. You can only carry one of the tree weapon systems with you and each of them can be enhanced three times.
Except shooting, the game consists of jump 'n' run sequences. You can compare the game with Konami's Contra/ Probotector or Super Mario Bros. There are a lot of secret rooms and hidden extras and while you can go straight through the first level you'll surely miss a lot. For example, go to the left at the beginning of the first level and swivel around with your power weapon.
At the end of each level a giant boss appears. Each of them has a different tactic and different weak points. If you don't have a enhanced weapon you'll have to rely on Turrican's power weapon and his spinning form.
The graphics of Turrican II are brilliant. The title screen of the game features graphics in the border. Turrican, the boss enemies and the levels are well drawn and animated. The minor enemies don't look very special. The game can display a lot of sprites at the same time without slow-downs. The vertical and horizontal scrolling is also great although sometimes a bit slow.
The sound of the Atari ST version is made by Jochen Hippel and is an excellent conversion of the original music composed by Chris Halsbeck. The sound effects are nothing special: just the usual sound of laser fire and explosions.
I like Turrican II a lot. It's a good demonstration of what a ST is capable of and a great game as well. The game difficulty is high but there are a lot of things to discover. The programmers were obviously much inspired by Japanese video games.