Ever since Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced, I’ve been inspired to draw and design character movesets for iconic figures from video game history. Last time, I did Tatanga, final boss of Super Mario Land. This time, it’s going to be a somewhat more obscure character: Turrican, from the game of the same name by German game designer Manfred Trenz.
While Turrican might be somewhat familiar to SNES/Super Famicom owners, the real meat and significance of Turrican is that it’s one of the most famous games for the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga. As Smash Bros. slowly expands from a celebration of Nintendo to a celebration of gaming, I’ve entertained the notion of computer gaming getting its due with characters like Turrican and Thrall from the Warcraft franchise.
The Turrican games are sprawling platformers/shooters in the same vein as Metroid, and even the Turrican character himself bears a lot of resemblance to Samus Aran—ranged weaponry, armor, and even a rolling form. Ideally, a moveset would emphasize their differences rather than their similarities. To that extent, there are a few unique qualities about Turrican. Unlike Samus, who has a gun arm, Turrican holds his gun with at least one hand at all times. This means a lot of his normals are knees, elbows, etc. Also, his ranged weaponry serves different functions. He can’t charge his Laser or his Snaking Beam to be high-powered KO moves, though the Laser can eventually KO at very high percents, and it goes through obstacles.
Snaking Beam is somewhat akin to Bowser or Charizard’s flame attacks, except that its range is much, much greater and it can be swung to cover nearly 360 degrees around Turrican’s body. However, the drawback is that it eventually stops flinching if held for too long, so it can’t keep opponents out forever, and it has a long recovery time. But it’s great for tacking on damage in edgeguarding situations and makes running away nearly impossible.
Turrican’s Wheel attack is closer to a Sonic Spin Dash or a Yoshi Egg Roll, but more potent in certain respects. It’s invincible on startup and has strong KO power at the very beginning, meaning it can reliably get Turrican out of uncomfortable situations or lead to a kill. That said, the move can only be used sparingly, with a long cool-down that keeps it from being abusable—missing means having it off the table for a good chunk of time. Also, it’s good at killing or evading, but trying to do both is difficult. As for the Jet Pack, it’s a fairly conventional no-damage recovery move that doesn’t induce a helpless state, and the “Power Lines” Final Smash hits left and right at the same time.
In summary, the way I picture Turrican is as a somewhat low-mobility character who relies on his ranged weaponry to whittle down opponents as they get close. When they close in, he pushes them off with close-range normals and repeats the process. He doesn’t exactly have the speed to run away, but he’s also an anti-keep-away character at the same time due to the reach and coverage of his special attacks.
Is there anyone you’d like to see me draw as a Smash character? I can’t make any guarantees, but feel free to make your voice heard!
King K. Rool (Donkey Kong Country)
Princess Daisy (Super Mario Land)
Great Puma (NES Pro Wrestling)