Turrican is somewhat unique for me in I didn’t play the game until long after listening to the soundtrack. When I first heard the music in 1999, it was difficult to get a copy of the games – it was much easier to get the soundtrack! In fact, I didn’t get a chance to play the game until I found the (rather mediocre) Genesis port. So when I first heard Chris Huelsbeck’s music, I thought “Wow, this is really cool! I wonder what’s happening…” Due to the long, variated nature of the music, as well as images I had found, it was easy to use my imagination to conjure images of space marines and alien battles. One of my favorite pieces from the series is the Turrican “Title Theme” is a heavy metal mix arranged by Charles-Henri Avelange (formerly of KMA Production), a French film and TV composer living in Seattle.
“Turrican Intro Heavy Metal Remix” is absolutely breathtaking, a real tribute to the soul of the original. It opens with a thunderstorm and the disturbing, grating voice that welcomes us to the hell that isTurrican (“Another day, another try, but just remember: shoot or die!”). Guitar riffs rise from the storm, a low rumble across the battlefield that occasionally break out in roars and squeals. Ever-present is the piano, desperately ticking away, letting us know to hurry, that time is of the essence. The guitars here also seem to be made of light, piercing the dark storm like laser blasts and electric sparks (I can only imagine how this would look when performed on stage with a light show). Avelange gives his own touch to the instruments, putting soul into each note, such as the riffs at 2:38 and the standout guitars for the final ascent of the nightmare tower at 3:36. I can’t help but feel this is how the piece would sound if it had been composed using a heavy-duty. Right now, this is the absolute best Turrican title arrange I have heard.
Another of my favorite renditions is the “Turrican 3D Theme” by Baran Yasar (Fearlord) of the Turkish rock band RevelatioN. It is a straight-up metal mix, missing the piano that dominated the original (and Avelange’s piece). Yasar opens the theme with an explosion of guitar, those key opening notes a perfect harmony. Next, drums are added (the drumkit leaves a little to be desired) with the guitar left as a background chugging growl that will reside through the rest of the piece and rise above for the main melody. The melody is added 30 seconds in, a heroic leap out of the smoke and flames. This is the first main segment of the melody (A), which appears again at 1:07, 3:00, and 3:56 and is the most memorable section of the melody, based on a core of three notes. Next, we are introduced to the second section (B), which rolls along with little range save a rising leap at the end. It stands in contrast to A, providing a ground level to drop back into. Next we have a return to A (1:07) with a new downward-running section at 1:18. This is followed by more new material at 1:29, where the piece gains synth-string highlights, a dynamic that takes us through some of the platforming Turrican contains. The guitar then rises in intensity (1:55), driving its way upward and forward to a string solo at 2:17. At 2:38, the guitar and drums pick up intensity, shredding back down to the main melody (AB). In the final segment, piano is added for a mysterious step-like rise – probably referring to the giant tower in the distance, at the top of which the source of all nightmares resides… The main melody reprises at the end for a heroic ending. This is overall a very dramatic, action-packed piece, and it’s great to hear it fully realized with guitars.
All these mixes and more can be found on Turrican SETA’s soundbase (they’ve also got Turrican Evolution, a collection of the original Amiga music). Turrican SETA is the leading fansite for information on the series. You can also check out a synth mix as part of a HUGE medley done by Mr. Huelsbeck himself on the Turrican Original Soundtrack, which is available from iTunes. Turrican forever!