German studio Factor 5 produced a series of sci-fi arcade run ‘n’ gun platform shooters starring the titular Turrican in the early 1990s. Technically dazzling, the Turrican series didn’t look out of place when it was ported back to the Japanese consoles – as Mega and Super Turrican respectively – that had so influenced its development.
Turrican II: The Final Fight from 1991 remained the series highlight for me, due in no small part to its lavish and compelling soundtrack from synthesiser wizard Chris Hülsbeck.
The invigorating opening symphony sets the tone, an extravagant seven minute workout that owed much to the works of Tangerine Dream, group of German electronica pioneer Edgar Froese, who recently provided the original score for Grand Theft Auto V.
There’s an ST version too, but although the Atari machine was and is still rightly renowned for its function as a music-producing tool, the in-game tunes couldn’t match the depth and richness of the Amiga incarnations, at least not when comparing the standard A500 and 520ST versions.
FYI, the Commodore 64 version of Turrican II featured different music courtesy of Markus Stebold.
Hülsbeck, nowadays a resident of California, has also produced a number of other memorable game music works including a majestic title screen piece for Activision’s home conversion of R-Type, the belting score for 16-bit scrolling shoot-’em-up Apidya and, most recently, he returned to provide the soundtrack for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, over a quarter of a century after composing the music for the notorious 1987 Super Mario Bros. clone.