Sunday, 6 May 2018

Turbo Girl (MSX)

There might be something I've forgotten in the misty past of this blog, but I think this might be the first western-developed MSX game I've covered here. As well as being popular in Japan, the system also had/has a strong following in mainland Europe, especially the Netherlands. This game, however, is Spanish, and it's a port of a ZX Spectrum game, which you can probably tell just from looking at the screenshots, since it's pretty much a direct port, colour clash and all. (As an aside, I think this might also be the first Spanish game I've featured?)

The game's a shooting game with some platforming. Top down platforming. With multiple consecutive jumps that require pixel-perfect timing and precision. I'm going to spoil the rest of the review for you now: it's pretty much completely negative. This game is just no fun to play at all, nor does it have any other redeeming features, except maybe having a female protaagonist (though you can only really see her on the very eighties title screen).

It's ugly, it's slow, it's boring, and there's no music anywhere except the title screen. The stage design is horrible, too: as well as the pixel perfect death-jumps, there's also enemies that pop up from the bottom of the screen without warning, some really unpleasant checkpoint placing and a general cramped feeling to everything. On top of all this, despite the word "turbo" being right there in the title, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the derelict space stations on which the game is set were submerged in oceans of treacle, as everything moves incredibly slowly, even the bullets.

Another problem the game has is the controls: you can select joystick controls at the start, but the game only recognises one joystick button (presumably a vestigial problem from its Spectrum source), with jump assigned to the space bar. Remember those nigh-impossible jumps I described earlier? I was playing on an emulator, using joy2key to map the space bar to one of the buttons on my USB Saturn controller. If you were playing on real hardware, you wouldn't be able to sdo that, and the game would be rendered pretty much impossible. Especially since the second stage, as far as I can tell, does away with the shooting part of the game completely and becomes entirely about jumping across massive gaps in the floor.

Don't play Turbo Girl, it's an irredeemible, joyless piece of garbage.

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