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ups: The trial-and-error gameplay.
downs: The trial-and-error gameplay; the constant dying.

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Turbo Turtle Adventure
game: Turbo Turtle Adventure
three star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Majesco
date posted: 09:10 AM Fri Dec 20th, 2002
last revision: 03:41 PM Sun Oct 23rd, 2005

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by Colin K. Yu

The way that Majesco packaged its latest game, a casual gamer would expect to see it in a bargain bin. The title of the game is too simplistic to be appealing, and the package box sits on the shelves with nothing to show but its happy turtle above an island. To my amazement, inside this poorly designed box, lies an incredibly addictive puzzle game called Turbo Turtle Adventure.

To say that Turbo Turtle Adventure has a story would be a lie. How could you possibly explain a turtle falling from the sky, and landing on an island full of puzzles? It can\'t be explained. But that\'s okay, since the gameplay is captivating enough that storyline would have came secondary nevertheless.

Think back to the days of old; remember Marble Madness? And remember Kirby\'s Tilt n\' Tumble, as well as Super Monkey Ball? The theme of these games was to control the rolling character from the beginning to the end of a labyrinth-like level. Iridon Interactive has developed Turbo Turtle Adventure to be the latest game to follow this theme. The player controls the main character, Turbo Turtle, through mazes to collect keys to get to the goal, a warp gate.

Unlike his slow footed brethren, Turbo Turtle does in fact roll at a fast speed. In fact, there\'s even a Turbo button to help him roll even faster, living up to his name. If that\'s not enough, to help Turbo Turtle along his merry way, there are items that he can pick up that give him special abilities to avoid obstacles. Some of these items include the Builder item, and the Jump item. The Builder item creates a block of land over a gap between two pieces of land. Or the player can use the Jump item that propels Turbo into the air to help jump the gap. Other items such as the Spike Shell gives Turbo a better grip on ice-like floors to avoid slipping and sliding. With a unique combination between all the items, Turbo should have no trouble reaching the goal. Sounds easy, doesn\'t it? Well it\'s not.

The problem with Turbo Turtle Adventure is its difficulty. There aren\'t many interactive objects and obstacles that make the game difficult, rather it\'s determining the path from start to finish. I completed most of the levels in under a minute, approximately forty seconds to be exact. But that isn\'t to say I didn\'t die frequently to achieve that.

And Iridon knows that\'s going to happen as well. That\'s why they chose to integrate the infinite lives. The truth is, dying is necessary to figure out the right route to the goal. Discovering that you should have used a Build item instead of a Jump item will require dying. Discovering that you should have picked up the red key before the green key will require dying. This makes Turbo Turtle Adventure a trial-and-error game. Now depending on the kind of gamer you are, you may see this as a negative because it frustrates you terribly, or you could see this as a positive as it extends the game\'s longevity. Either way, there\'s a point where dying fifty times in a row becomes ridiculous.

The levels are separated into sets of, on-average, seven stages. Each set carries a specific theme, such as inside a volcano, or even underwater. These themes don\'t affect the levels directly, but are more like a glazing over them. This gives the levels a common aesthetic look, but at times it can be a hindrance. In the Lagoon stages, all the levels are supposed underwater, and therefore coated with a blue environment. This made the actual level very difficult to see, and added to the death count. That\'s a no-no in my books.

Since Turbo Turtle Adventure\'s levels are designed to be viewed from a bird\'s-eye view, the graphics are not intended to be stellar. The sound quality is nothing to write home about as well. In fact, it probably could have been designed for the Game Boy Color.

In each of the theme sets, two of the levels have secret warp gates that lead to hidden levels. These hidden levels are more of the same design, and nothing spectacular, so if you\'re not crazy about the game\'s regular levels, the hidden ones probably won\'t impress you either.

As a side note, portable labyrinth-designed games such as Turbo Turtle Adventure just beg for the motion sensor add-on. This feature was first introduced in Kirby\'s Tilt \'n\' Tumble, and worked fantastically. The motion sensor is built into the cartridge, and the game\'s character moves in the same direction as the player\'s tilt of the system. This adds that extra level of interactivity that Turbo Turtle Adventure should have. But then again, due to the game\'s already high difficulty, maybe that would be a bad idea.

In the end, if you have a short attention span, need instant gaming satisfaction, and have the desire to rip your hair out just by the sound of its trial-and-error gameplay, I would suggest looking elsewhere. Otherwise, if you find yourself fancying the idea of continuously dying for the sake of a challenging exploration, I say give Turbo Turtle Adventure a try, but with excellent GBA games out on the market now such as Metroid Prime and Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, you can expect to see Turbo Turtle Adventure in the bargain bin soon.

Colin K. Yu (12/20/2002)