4 September – Day 6
Day 6 – the summary<o:p></o:p>
Today I finished T3 – Return of Darkness.<o:p></o:p>
And also today, Womana/Studio Style and ThunderBlade/Protovision, two of my oldest C=64 friends, got married, and that even to each other! :) I dedicate my victory over Morgul to them and wish them all the best for the common rest of their lives.<o:p></o:p>
Well, I know I've been quite unforgiving to T3 so far. I have picked on many details and continuously compared the game to The Master's works. That's right. On the other tentacle, I have spent six long nights with the game and despite leaving the computer angry and frustrated at times, I enjoyed exploring it, eager like a little boy unpacking his Christmas presents anytime the screen said Loading Level X-Y. Many times my eyes went wide and shining and only in a few cases I found new grey socks in the box.<o:p></o:p>
I finished the game four hours ago – but I still haven't turned off my C=64. It's on, showing the title screen and playing the music. Although my tears already dried up, I want to keep the spirit of the moment for while. I'll save a complex assessment of the game for the final review – not least because I still want all my pro and con feelings for the game to settle down.<o:p></o:p>
Level 5–1 – Up, up and away<o:p></o:p>
Up, up and away. Originally, this was the name of a level in a C=64 game. (Can anyone help me out and paste into the discussion where it's from? I just can't remember and it's driving me crazy. :-D) This is the perfect time to recycle the name. We already know, mainly thanks to Vip, that T3 incorporates many elements from Amiga Turricans. I played only Turrican II on Amiga, and that just once. Most of the game was the same as on the C=64, except for Level 5–2, which is a flying Level on the C=64, while on the Amiga, it's about jumping and using some elevators. I don't know for what reasons Manfred decided to go a different way on the C=64 – but years later we have a jumping Level 5–1 at hand.<o:p></o:p>
Despite being a two-directionally-only-scrolling, this Level is completely different from the previous world. The great atmosphere set before entering Level 4 is back, being aided by a perfect music for these moments of climbing up to meet the Emperor.<o:p></o:p>
Houff! The previous world, that was an exhausting dash, not to even mention the guard of the entrance to this one! So, finally I'm here, hoping I can take a little rest. Walls all around me , so I look up – and am stricken by a fit of dizziness. I seem to be on the bottom of an immense cylinder. I can't see any ceiling, it just seems to go up for ever.<o:p></o:p>
I must have given Morgul's empire a mighty blow already, as it seems the Emperor has retreated to the ancient Tower</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName>Thurrull</st1:PlaceName></st1:place>, which has been reported as deserted for thousands of years. This sanctum was built into a mountain massive and it can be seen. I can see skeletons of the monsters known as THE Aliens on Earth emerging from the walls. I might be forced to step on some of them where my human power is not enough to jump from one steel platform to another. The column seems to be endlessly high and I still don't know how I can climb the parts where there are meters of plain walls with no chance to catch on anything. I have to try at least. I can't give up – first, it's my duty, and second, I feel that my destiny is coming closer with every step.<o:p></o:p>
Hmm, this platform looks different from the others. What if… Oooooooh! Acceleration of several g's crushes me – it's an elevator pad! I'm going up very fast, collect an extra life and – bang! Hey, that was my head! Good old spacesuit resisted the impact but the elevator dematerialized and I'm falling down again… Huh – the pad is again where I met it before. There must be a wormhole system. Maybe the <st1:place><st1:PlaceType>Tower</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName>Thurrull</st1:PlaceName></st1:place> has been deserted for millenia, but the technology the Ancients had is just amazing! I'm slowly proceeding to an idea how to get up, if there's any end of this Tower, at least for me. I have to leave the pad before it dematerializes and jump to the closest part of solid ground I'll see. It will need a lot of care – but it might work.<o:p></o:p>
After a while I'm getting good at it, making progress. The Tower is really almost deserted. Only now and then I meet some blood-thirsty birds and some automatic guns and missiles still haven't given up. Unfortunately, while jumping off an elepad, a meeting with one such bird costs me the rest of my energy. I shall be reborn, still having 5 lives left. HEY! I SHALL BE REBORN, I STILL HAVE 5 LIVES LEFT!!! Nothing happens. The screen is there, the monsters are there but the time stopped and I'm nowhere to be seen.<o:p></o:p>
Do yourself a favour and do not die while travelling on the elepads or maybe also just jumping. If you're unsure whether you can make it past some stage of the Level, rather wait until the time goes out and your energy replenishes, or have yourself killed, standing on the ground. The game crashing here is extremely frustrating, as you've already spent around an hour with it and also you're very close to meeting your destiny – or your Creator, should Morgul turn out to be the stronger one out of you two.<o:p></o:p>
Mmmkay, Vip calls this fast forward.<o:p></o:p>
I'm already quite high. I wouldn't like to fall back down the kilometers I have climbed already. Being weakened by some guns which caught me unprepared on the way, I'm approaching a bigger platform. Ooops! Two birds waiting until I get close! 6 lives left this time. That's one too much, I guess! I jump to the platform and stop moving, waiting for what has to be. The beak of one of them is the last thing I see. Flash of light! I'm back! Alive again, yooohooo! Yay, he-hey-hey, don't you know that I'm going up, up and away! Singing this old song for myself, I go on, pad after pad, platform after platform. I feel deadbeat, concentrating just on the next point I want to reach.<o:p></o:p>
Suddenly there's nowhere up to go. What's that? WOW! Door, a door, I made it!!! I take several deep breaths. The atmosphere of the Tower is vibrating with the near presence of Morgul. I concentrate…<o:p></o:p>
My life so far… Listening to the dreams of my little sister when we both were kids. Her fantastic visions staid in my head for years and might well be responsible for my decision to travel the Universe for the Freedom Forces. My first mission. The biomechanical world of Katakis. The fight with the alien R-Type civilization, being technically much less advanced – but the Freedom Forces had only old spaceships available and there were moments I thought I wouldn't return. They called me the best. They sent me to penetrate the Empire and kill Morgul I – and it turned out to be the most challenging and at the same time wonderful mission I could have. Some years later, The Machine tried to complete what Morgul left unfinished. I thought that was the Final fight. God knew I needed a rest. That was the first time I realized that the further adventures of the civilization as we know it depended on me. I made it. Later, they sent me to the Dark Part of the galaxy where the evolution brought out another clone of the expansive Katakis life form. I enforced the peace. And now I am here, almost dead of fatigue, knowing that Morgul II is near. He's got nowhere else to go and will surely fight with all the power. If I die here, he'll execute his might over his realm again and the Empire will expand faster than we thought until now – the technology I've seen on the way will make it possible. I gather all my power, I encircle my mind around every living creature whose hopes for the future I embody.<o:p></o:p>
Come what may. I go through the door.<o:p></o:p>
Level 5–2 – Morgul II<o:p></o:p>
I'm in a huge chamber. The vibrations in my mind are getting stronger and stronger. So Morgul II, the Emperor is coming at last… Oh my God!<o:p></o:p>
You didn't really think I'd tell you about the final fight, did you? All I can say is that even though to me the final confrontation felt a bit more like the final fight from Myth than from Turricans, I can guarantee you a lot of challenging action and a feeling of satisfaction, if you make it, that is. Personally, I won with my last life and almost no energy left. But it was worth it.<o:p></o:p>
Level 5–3 – Now a warrior needs to rest<o:p></o:p>
Neither am I going to tell you about the endsequence. But I promise you that if you're a Turrican fan, you'll feel home. At least I felt so much home that I cried in front of the screen. An old geezer almost in my thirties, imagine that! :)<o:p></o:p>
And that's it. Now you'll have to wait for Vip to add his view in his parallel diary and then we'll bring you a shorter, but the more sorted out review of the game with screenshots etc.<o:p></o:p>
Anyway, even though the final review of the game will not feature only positive response to T3, there's one thing I want to say right now: „Thank you, AEG! You set the old fire inside me alight again after many years. Thank you.“<o:p></o:p>
3 September – Day 5
Level 4–1 – The Great Gianna's Brother Part 1
Another day, another world… It doesn't make a rhyme, but the ending is „… and remember: Shoot or die!“ anyway. And sometimes even that is not enough.
The whole T3 game is a big tribute to The Master, mixing elements from Turrican I and II while adding some bits from Katakis, Enforcer and even R-Type. What? The list is not complete? Mmmkay, you're right. Where's Gianna? The answer is: in Level 4.
I come round in a post-industrial desert. Concrete, steel and rocks under my feet and ruins of a once-proud city in the background. I'm on the very left, so let's go to the right! Yeah, let's do some serious jogging! Ooops, a walker! I'm already too close, so let's jump it! WHAT? No up'n'down scrolling? Furthermore, I missed the walker, so I'm going to chase it to the left. WHAAAT? No scrolling to the left? Do you want to tell me that there's just 1-directional scrolling in this Level?
Yes, this Level is a classic jump'n'run'n'shoot. The walker seems to be wearing a baseball cap. First you have to shoot the cap off its head and then you can do away with the beast. And let's run to the right, to the right, to the right. There's a hole in my soul… eh, I mean in the ground – woaaaaah! What did I say about unfair deaths? And some of the gaps in the ground are pretty wide. It's – pretty – haaaaaaaaaaa. Another life lost. And just by the way – the gyro doesn't work here…
And that's not all! I come to a hole in the ground which is an ending of a huge chimney, emitting strange objects. Trying to jump over the gap – and I get hit and lose energy. Let's wait for a while. Huee, huee, huee, puff, puff – ah, a break! Just small clouds of smoke go up – now I can jump over it safely! And here comes an old pal – the beetle from Gianna! But hey! That was my life! Bloody beetle! Just a while ago I destroyed a monster of a size of a 9-floor house and now I'm killed by this overgrown bug! Reveeee-arrrgh! And more beetles in the way, this time hidden in the ground, catapulting shooting „eggs“ (Turrican II Level 4) into the air.
This level more than any other else is about avoiding unsuitable extras. On the rare occassion when you're offered some bonuses, if you collect the wrong extra, you're likely to regret it for the rest of that life, which is usually quite short. On I go… Awaaay! A fast ship flew over my head, bombing like mad. Yeah, I remember it from Turrican I Level 1.
Hmmm, hmmm, entering ruins of a building, maybe something's even still inside – yeah, more beetles, and – here they are! I knew there would be jumping balls! Their „nest“ is sometimes out of my reach and the rest of the times it's extremely hard to destroy. The most senseful strategy, especially if you have the bad luck to have been punished with a less powerful weapon, seems to be just run by and when the source is out of the screen and so no new balls appear shoot all the balls that are still left. I'm running on and on and on… Ouff! I ain't gonna make this. A huge stone-steel pendulum is waving over here. It takes me a while to realize that either it cannot be destroyed, or I'm just unable to figure out how to destroy it, and jump over the most harmful part. Seems to be a good idea, my energy is OK.
And like this I run for ever… and ever… and ever… and ever… Losing life after life (see you in the afterlife)… I respect the tribute value of this world but except that it's a challenge because it's far from being easy, it get's a bit boring and a byte frustrating after a while. When you can't make it in a huge maze – oh well, we're all mortals. But if all you have to do is run to the right and jump and shoot and you still can't make it, that's a different story. This voluntary resignation on complexity doesn't give you much in return. Well, except for the endmonster…
Remember the BIGGG endmonster from Turrican II Level 1–2? Imagine two of them, each on one side of the screen, plus some lasers moving above your head to make it more interesting. If you still have a couple spare lives, you might make it. On the the next Level…
Level 4–2 – The Great Gianna's Brother Part 2 – Look who's here!
Here the weakness of the concept is shown in its nudity. This level is very much the same as the previous one, only being even harder. Running only to the right just takes away a big part of Turricanning, or at least T3'ing. The monster combinations are even nastier but if you train a bit, you'll make it to the endmonster, as there's nothing particular to say, which hasn't been said on the previous Level. At the end of the Level the story gets another unexpected twist. As we already know due to Vip's lack of discretion, Turrican made peace with The Machine. Even The Machine is a man enough to keep his promises, but it smartly omitted the little fact that it's got a little brother – who's after our hero as much as the original Machine. Good luck – especially if you've got a bad weapon.
The end of Level 4–2 is a drama on its own, as I'm wondering whether I'll be sent to another hell of Level 4–3, or if there's a Level 5–1. And to make it even more thrilling, first you have to insert Side 3. Ouff, Level 5–1!
Level 5–1 – I'm gonna kill!
CreaMD, the editor in chief of this site, is a very nice guy. He's so nice that he even had to create an alter ego to let some steam out. That alter ego is called Moron. CreaMy sometimes says „Turning on Moron“, then slams you down with a comment, adding „Turning him off again.“
I also have an alter ego. My nasty alter ego is called Brainee. And now, just out of pure frustration, I let Brainee give in.
[Brainee] This ain't Turrican! This can't be Turrican! This will never ever be Turrican! This bloody game hasn't even got the slightiest chance of making a steplet to become Turrican! Because no Turrican would never crash in no Level 5–1!
[Wotnau again] Yeah, that's it for today. After hours of playing I made it to Level 5–1, finally. I started enjoying… Then I got killed… So what, still 5 lives at my disposal… Except that after that kill my hero never re-appeared, the time stopped and there was nothing to do. DHAMHIT!
Day 5 – the summary
Level 4–1 and 4–2. Hard to judge. A jump'n'run'n'shoot game ala Gianna. Deliberate narrowing the possibilities of the game and reminding us of Manfred's first work is on the one tentacle quite interesting, on the other one it might feel really out of place. Choose whatever fits your taste best. Either way, there are some nice endmonsters – if you get to them, that is. Nothing to say on Level 5–1, I have to calm down first. See you tomorrow!
2 September – Day 4
Before you read today's part of the diary, please take your time to read this little disclaimer. I (and Vip as well) sometimes have quite sarcastic comments at the game. This doesn't change anything about that it's probably the game of the year 2004. It's a game of tremendous scale and all the resources invested into it are just worth lots of respect. And last not least I have to remind you of that neither AEG nor anyone else participating in the development doesn't get paid a single penny for this project. On the other hand, the game can be pretty malicious to the player at times, sometimes killing long time of playing, which can be quite frustrating. So I'm trying to bear it bravely and settle back for making fun out of it. Having said that, I can jump into the diary for today.
Before Level 3–1 – Never be helpful to the loading system!!!
I really enjoyed reading the transcribed discussion between our hero and Vip today. The guy exploding spontaneously, just unable to bear all the emotions… wonderful! I also haven't experienced being planted into the ground (I ended up inside a wall once, but was mercifully allowed to leave it) yet. All the time I was wondering what AEG had in store for me. I shouldn't have underestimated him so much!!! If you follow Vip's diary as well, you know that the endmonster in Level 1–2 is a very, very fast spaceship, which he could destroy by standing on the very right of the screen and giving it a fry with his laser. Well, I like the very left corner. It works the same way. So, having proceeded to that suspiciously big clearing, noticing that the scrolling stopped, I ran to the leftmost part of the screen to prepare for the attack. Banggg! While the spaceship emerged from the right shooting down, a flame appeared also above me out of the blue, killing me. An MSB error! And that wasn't all! My guy disappeared! I was nowhere to be seen! After a while of a panic I realized that where there's an MSB error there can be two of them and I pushed my joy to the left – having run out of the border on the very right of the screen. Oufff! I thought that was it for me for the day – and I was justly proved to be wrong.
Today's diary is mostly about the flying levels. You already know that before the flying levels there's the movie sequence, followed by turning the disk. After the sequence loaded, I did what I always did in Turrican II – flipped the flop in advance to save the game some loading. Wow! The sequence ended, the program started loading – and stopped. The sequence restarted with bugged sprites and at the end no more loading took place. Dhamhit! 40 minutes of gameplay gone to hell. Never be helpful to the loading system and wait until it asks you to turn the disk! Or be helpful and take the consequences like a man or woman or alien or whoever you are.
The flying Levels – Enforcecan, Canakis and T3can
On the second try, everything went right and I finally appeared in space. While the previous Levels have a sign of the levels from the two Turricans, the spaceship part are a mixture of Enforcer, Katakis and Turrican II with a wee bit of R-Type.
The spaceship goes Katakis. Monsters have their counterparts in all of the three games, bonus lives come from Enforcer.
Level 3–1 – Katakis meets Enforcer
The music is very familiar! Yes, it's a remix of one of the most dynamic tunes from Enforcer. And just by the way the whole level pretty much resemblers the game. Except for the spaceship. The spaceship is big, even bigger than in Katakis. It takes time to get used to it. I think fits into this Level the least, in the later ones it's more in place.
We meet the alien robots known from Enforcer, you'll know most or of your enemies from Manfred's games, from machine guns to spaceships, only sometimes they're resized. In Enforcer, we could meet the monsters from all of The Master's previous games – and T3 goes the same way. Personally, I miss just one monster – the „football monster“ (ball instead of the head) known from Gianna and Turrican II 5–1.
Two-layer parallax scrolling, but somehow doesn't work out as it should. The objects in front are too big and too rectangular. Once again, in the later Levels this will get better. If you're good, you can collect some bonus lives over here in the Enforcer style.
Gameplay is pretty good. Neither too easy, nor too hard. All in all an enjoyable world. After you've blasted your way through the enemies, it's time for the endmonster. I call it a robofish (but the fishing time is still to come!). Once again it's quite easy to destroy, so let's do it and move on…
Level 3–2 – Enforcer and Katakis or there and back and there and back again – and let's R-Type in the middle.
This world offers you even two bosses – but first we have to make our way to them, right? First the background goes Enforcer – some space and then futuristic industrial constructions. And then all of a sudden the face of the Level changes and you're in the biomechanic world of Katakis, including your favourite behated shooting monsters.
And now imagine that both these sides of the Level populated by all the monsters you've learned to love and hate throughout the years. The big guns from Enforcer, brain-shaped piles of slime from Turrican II releasing deadly birds from Turrican I – and Katakis doesn't want to be put aside… This Level is bloody good and just in the middle you meet a spaceship, which has probably escaped from the world of R-Type, including some surprises concerning its size.
AEG has the same sense of punishing the player with bonuses (it will get even more obvious in Level 4) as Manfred Trenz. Sometimes you just can't avoid collecting the shots you really don't want. This applies especially for what I called „the good old red extra turning into the damned old red extra“ – meeting the endmonster with this one and with the power laser (green extra) can mean a difference of losing 4–5 lives.
After you've taught the spaceship to behave, you make your way throuh an Enforcer and Katakis and Enforcer and Katakis part again to meet the final monster of this world. Remember the MT-AE biggie from Turrican II 3–3? This one seems to be its less potent brother at both being sexy and being powerful. However, it's still very well capable of giving you a real hard time, unless you remember the old rule of circulating in the opposite direction. With the right laser beams the boss is gone in seconds, otherwise have a nice day!
Level 3–3 – Back to Turrican
There's one thing you have to admire about Manfred's games – their silent self-confidence. Mr. Trenz never leads you by the hand to say: „Look, the map is THIS big!“ He never forces you to see everything. And the more you appreciate it, if you're like me and get hooked! The Creator simply knows that if you get interested, you'll explore everything just to stay in the world as long as you can, to discover everything there's to discover, to ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY! The first time I lay my hands on Turrican II was in 1996. I've finished the game hundreds of times in the following years – and in 2000 I discovered a new secret chamber in the game! Feekzoid teaches us that Galway is god. Who is Manfred Trenz then? (Dumbo! Manfred Trenz is THE MASTER!) As far as I remember, there's just one moment in which he clearly shows off. His (at that time) farewell to the C=64, the Final Fight. I'll never ever forget the feeling I had in 5–2, when suddenly there were no enemies to blast, I was just peacefully floating up, when, behind the background structures, I could see something immense, something unbelievable, the primal fear of all space explorers, something so big and dangerous and similar to myself that I just gasped for breath. It was The Machine, heading for the final rendez-vous. It's not the fight itself – it's the sight of The Machine passing by that's burnt into my mind for ever. And still, years later, the feeling of mystery is always there whenever I get to that point in Turrican II.
Well, I did digress. But only to prepare you for that there's neither silent self-confidence, nor such a crusher experience in Level 3–3 but still it has lots to offer to you – lots of action and a joke much better than in the movie sequence. The two-layer scrolling scrolls just s-o–s-l-o-w-l-y in the beginning that even if it doesn't take a feather but a sledgehammer to tickle your sense of logical thinking, you can't but proceed to „Aha, it's going to move very fast somewhen later“, dear Watsons. And so it will. It's rather a remake of Turrican II 3–3 in the beginning. Your advantage is that you might remember the way the tunnel twists. Your disadvantage is the size of the ship, however. The number of bonus lives is reasonable, so good luck. Let's hope you've got no need for speed – you'll get more of it than you've ever wanted before you're through. And in the end it's time for some fishing. You'll be reminded of Katakis again but eveything will be topped by something else that will happen. It's pretty original and I won't tell you what it is – but I found it not only original but also funny. Get the fish and it's time to run again… You're Great Gianna's brother, you know!
Day 4 – the summary
Finally I had my run of major bugs in the game. They include being killed because of a MSB error and a loading crash.
Level 3–1 – A nice mixture of Enforcer, Katakis and Turrican II, but not brilliant. The spaceship looks disproportionally big to the rest of the world, especially as the world intentionally reminds you of Enforcer the most – and there the spaceship was rather small. Great music.
Level 3–2 – A cool one! Lotsa enemies, you'll meet most of your old acquaintances, the only one I miss is the football monster. Two bosses – nice R-Type-like spaceship in the middle and MT-AE-like spaceship in the end. Avoid the red extra and enjoy the rest, this world is worth it!
Level 3–3 – Back to Turrican. Partly a remake of the fast Level from Turrican II, very fast, very playable, a nice endmonster and an additional original idea.
Get through and prepare for something completely different! See you in Level 4 tomorrow!!!
1 September – Day 3
My dear diary, what a day! I'm still perplexed from the maze and having rather mixed feelings from what follows…
Level 2–2 – Up and down
This level is a maze. Although I've been exited it some three times so far, I still don't know my way through it. It's rather a matter of instincts and using the rollerblade (or chainsaw of you like). The role of avoiding the guns is strengthened and we meet even less moving monsters. Not that it would make the level any easier. It's reasonably hard and still quite atmospheric. Just by the way – no endmonster – or I passed by it. When you finally find your way out of the labyrinth, it's time to lean back and watch…
(No) Level 2–3 – Take a rest
The loading system is a liar! 2–3 is no Level at all! It's a short movie sequence and I don't think I'll leak any big secret if I tell you that as it links Levels 2 and 3, you'll end up in a spaceship. Directed, shot and written for the screen by AEG. Starring: Turrican (sorry, for me it's always been the guy, not the battlesuit – no stupid intro of no Turrican II will ever change that). Co-starring: Grey Lightning (spaceship) and Granny Reddie (spaceship). Also starring: Walker.
The sequence… well, I don't want to do it an injustice but the main joke somehow seems to be too forced for my personal taste, while I've quite enjoyed the part of the Walker - it should get at least a nomination for the C=64 Annual Game Monster Awards (maybe we should call it Fred?) for its outstanding performance.
Afterwards, when your spaceship takes off, you can… Well, I could either have my dinner and then turn the disk, or I could skip having the dinner and turn the disk immediately. So I ended up without my dinner once again. And you should hope that I won't die from starving until tomorrow because otherwise you won't read my impressions from the flying levels!
Day 3 – the summary
Level 2–2 is a big and interesting maze. It's a nice challenge and follows the atmosphere set by 2–1. Level 2–3 you may find drop dead funny, quite funny or stupid. I found it, well, I liked one of the jokes. Meet you tomorrow, this time in the spaceship!
31 August – Day 2<o:p></o:p>
Today I discovered the first drawbacks of the game – and experienced the first crush of mysterious atmosphere. Follow me!<o:p></o:p>
Level 1–1 again<o:p></o:p>
Before I get to the new level, I of course have to master the first one again. Thus I meet some drawbacks of the game.<o:p></o:p>
The first problem, being the most severe one – I load the first level and the game crashes just after a few seconds of playing. I repeat the process with Jiffy DOS turned off in both the computer and the drive. Another crash. I remove the expansion port expander to get rid of any influence my Action Replay or REU might have on the game. Crash no. 3! As the last cry (remember – the last cry is „Revenge!“) I physically disconnect my drive #9 (a common 1541 – of course turned off all the time) – and the game finally catches up! <o:p></o:p>
Yesterday I repeated that I expected the game to be technically perfect and that I was worried about the gameplay. Well, today, in a cave I destroyed a bonus cube – and it was still there! It was invisible, I couldn't shoot it – but my head and body hit it when I tried to jump through the space it occupied.<o:p></o:p>
On the other hand, I discover the first, well, not secret, but not-so-obvious cave with two bonus lives! Nice to see there are things to discover! Back on my track and let's hurry to…<o:p></o:p>
Level 1–2 – I miss two elements<o:p></o:p>
This level resembles level 1–2 from the second game – the one with the fast-growing plants. They are missing here, however, first you pass by some waterfalls, meet a full-of-stone-balls rocky passage where you get two bonus lives. Then enter an underground complex to emerge from there and meet the boss.<o:p></o:p>
As I proceed through the level, I'm slowly realizing why I call some places emptier. It's not the graphics – they are brilliantly done and could very well compete with Manfred's original. There are two elements I miss: The Master's care for detail and his sense of level design.<o:p></o:p>
Details. This Level 1–2 really alludes to the previous level 1–2 but there – there were the fast-growing plants, the slimy plant monsters, the stone balls were falling – here you just destroy them with your laser and they can't harm you. It's just about how much time you'll lose. When you are under water, you don't release bubbles of oxygen etc. – you get it.<o:p></o:p>
Level design. In MT's games, in Katakis (or Denaris if you like), Turrican, Turrican II and Enforcer (R-Type and Gianna put aside for reasons obvious to any MT fan) you feel that every single monster belongs where it is and the cave systems somehow make sense. AEG is not doing a bad job, not by far, but at times it seems to me like „here there are monsters because it's about time to put in some monsters“ and „the path leads over here because I still have this part of the map free and have to lead the player there“. A special sub-chapter: the bosses. Endmonsters are a key factor in these games and, let's face it, here this game lacks something. The bosses (at least the two I've met so far) are „just something big the player should face before being allowed to go on“. In Manfred's games, the endmonster always embodies the level as a whole, it perfectly fits into the background, it's something you almost expect there when you get to the exit! And by the way, Manfred's endmonsters are pretty tough sons of a bitch, unlike these. Again it's about the gut feelings – the two buddies I've met so far just don't build a climax of a level. I probably wouldn't make so much mess around it, if I didn't remember the same feelings from Crush, AEG's Katakis 2 (well, what's Enforcer then, which Manfred himself called an inofficial sequel to Katakis?).<o:p></o:p>
This endmonsters seems to have escaped from a laboratory where they cross monsters from Manfred's and Rowlands' games, but still looks, oh well, even is quite harmless. If you did your homework and didn't lose your life and therefore kept the strong laser beam long enough, you just keep on standing there and frying the bastard to death not being even endangered for a single second.<o:p></o:p>
But before I run to Level 2–1, there's one thing I have to appreciate about the game I call just T3 yet – it doesn't feature what I've always hated about the original games – unfair deaths. Sometimes you had to jump to a waterfall to find a secret – and sometimes you died there. In Turrican I you even sometimes just came to the low border of the map and at the next step you died. This doesn't happen in T3 and I like it!<o:p></o:p>
Level 2–1 – T3 strikes back!<o:p></o:p>
Originally, this should have been it for Day 2 – but after I've written off the previous level despite its very nice graphics, I just wanted to have a sneak peak at Level 2–1. Oh well…<o:p></o:p>
GASP! It is there, for the first time it is there! The atmosphere of mystery! It's necessary to say that here I really appreciated the music which creates a big part of it. The game seems to follow the original concept also in gradually introducing more fancy features in higher levels. Here we meet multilayer scrolling for the first time, and it looks good. This dark blue techno dungeon owes a bit more to 2–1 of the first game than of the second one but again it manages to remind you of both (with a slight touch of 4–1 from the second game) – here the author is doing an excellent job!<o:p></o:p>
All the corridors are long and everything is in right angles. It's about destroying the guns this time with a spray of monsters here and there. Well, I would welcome a wider variety but they do well and it all just works out. I'm lucky to find my way through the dungeon at the second try – and the big monster even is a toughie this time. WOW! It still doesn't belong here 100%ly but it is a challenge and the atmosphere of the level makes up for the rest. Once again the big one isn't directly at the exit, so there's some more running to do but, for the first time, I'm not so keen on exiting the level… I've enjoyed being here.<o:p></o:p>
Day 2 – the summary<o:p></o:p>
Definitely play the game with only one disk drive connected.<o:p></o:p>
Level 1–2 – a slight disappointment. Finally I know what's missing at times – Manfred's sense of details and placing the monsters. Well, AEG is a democoder in his nature – and last not least he doesn't get paid for this job!<o:p></o:p>
Level 2–1 – And upside down – this level got me by the battlesuit. The music, the graphics, the dungeon, the overall feeling – this level made it! Just gotta see the next one tomorrow – and you, too!<o:p></o:p>
30 August – Day 1<o:p></o:p>
Preparatory phase. Checked the link to the Smash Designs site. Downloaded the game. 320 kB zipped. Wow, a full two-sider. May be a whole lot of a game! Unzipped the game. Three sides! Transferred to a 3,5" disk. Transferred to my 486. Transferred to 5,25" c64 disks. Turned on the one and only. What will it feel like? As I wrote in the discussion before the game got released – I'm convinced it's a good game – but I'll take my time to decide whether it can bear the name of Turrican III in my heart.<o:p></o:p>
The screen goes black. BLACK! Okay, AEG got me for the first time. Any fan of that game will tell you that the screen must go black when you start loading.<o:p></o:p>
Before we press fire<o:p></o:p>
Wow, the laser burns something onto the screen – a rectangle falls down, revealing the SD logo. It feels… well… appropriate? And on we load… The first notes of a music theme. Where have I…? Ha! The original Huelsbeck score for Amiga. Can't work out on the C=64. Just can't. So why the something are there tears in my eyes?<o:p></o:p>
The game's logo. The LOGO! If The Master did it himself, would it look much different? It feels… in place! Oh well, except that he would put MT instead of TM on the logo. :) The water effect… The credits… AEG. Manfred credited for the original concept. 3 musicians. Will that work? We'll see… Alright, this music is great. The hall of fame… Well, the skulls don't belong there. The Creator would do these different, I suppose…<o:p></o:p>
The beginning as a whole? Well, it might, it might be. Let's hope! Fixed the dusty joystick. Pressed fire.<o:p></o:p>
LOADING LEVEL 1–1. I couldn't do without that. More points for AEG. Before it loads – what are my main concerns? The music. The guy himself. The monsters – will they feel like an integral part of the old world? The bonuses. The levels – their concept. Will there be any walkers? And the caves – will they feel cavish enough?<o:p></o:p>
The disk doesn't stop spinning after loading the level. Hmmm… So… I'll have to get used to music in the game. Hmmm… Never minded the original games being silent. As a friend of mine once said: „Normally, when you walk on a machine planet, you don't hear any music playing.“ This should be carved in stone. Again a conversion of the Huelsbeck score. C=64 will never be Amiga… But wait… The feel… It's – it's – it's almost as if Ramiro Vaca converted this. More points for the game.<o:p></o:p>
The first steps. The guy… Wow! The second one slightly differed from the first one. And this one is slightly different from the one before. And yes, it is HIM! Let's go to the left – and we feel home, there's a bonus life! To the right – the red extra. The good old red extra, which always turns into the darned old red extra in the higher levels! Jumping down the rocks. A WALKER! Jumpeee-jump! Smash! Away it runs! The first little cave… YES, a CAVE! And now to the right. To the waterfall. Bang bang, I shot 'em down – ooops, the first bonus cube! A fireball extra, energy shield… The birds… My first diamonds…<o:p></o:p>
Well, I got it. The first level is a tribute to the original. Somehow it manages to resemble both the first and the second game. And the extras even owe something to the Amiga version. Weaponwise, this game seems to go on where the second one stopped. The first boss – again an allusion to the original. And you know what? I even got a bit lost in the labyrinth! Won-der-ful! On the other hand, the caves look a bit emptier. Can't say yet whether it's in the monsters or in the design.<o:p></o:p>
Finally out of the labyrinth! Only 50 seconds left. Where can the exit be? Where there's always the exit from the first level? Run, my man, run! 17, 16, 15… 10… 7… 6… YES!!! LOADING LEVEL 1–2. The funny thing is – I didn't fake this for the purpose of this diary! It really went like that.<o:p></o:p>
Day 1 – the summary<o:p></o:p>
Introduction – appropriate. Title logo – perfectly fitting. The water effect – nothing to improve. Title music – goood. Hall of fame – doesn't feel like Manfred's.<o:p></o:p>
Level 1–1. The guy – it might be HIM! The running and the jumping, it really might be him. The level feels like home. We get introduced to the monsters, bonuses, we meet what we're used to meet – walkers, birds, caves, waterfalls. The cave labyrinth is to a slight degree behind the original – when I know why, I'll let you know. The music – I don't mind. There's one thing which betrays my unconcerned attitude – the haste with which I was seeking the exit.<o:p></o:p>
Alright, I admit it. I got interested. And one more thing - even though this all so far looks like a big tribute to the original, it doesn't feel retro. It feels alive. AEG leads Wotnau 1:0. Good night and see you in Level 1–2!<o:p></o:p>
Day zero. Empty yet. First input expected around midnight. <o:p></o:p>
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