Flying cars and don’t ask question
This week’s Arcade Archives entry comes from the first-draft-name developer Video System, and sees us once again returning to the bottomless well of late-’80s/early-’90s shmups — Now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, its vertically scrolling blaster Turbo Force!
Released to the arcade market in 1991, Turbo Force is the predecessor of smash release Sonic Wings, (better known in the west as Aero Fighters), and was a standout release for the shmup market, due to its support for up to three players over the typical genre standard of two. The “Turbo” of the title apparently refers to the player vessels, which are essentially flying sports cars packed out with powerful weaponry. Why, you ask? Frankly, it’s hard to tell, as Turbo Force was developed as something of a mish-mash, a confusing project that shifted direction multiple times during its production period.
Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Paul Eales.
As such, while Turbo Force has a lot going for it — with fast action, cool pixel visuals, and an army of varied enemies and boss characters — the game is something of a tonal and directionless mess, lacking in story, purpose, or definitive theme. Regardless, lessons learned in the development of Turbo Force would lead to the inception of the Sonic Wings series, which would offer up a bounty of explosive hits both in the arcade and on home formats. Ultimately, Turbo Force was the “training wheels” for better things to come, and stands today as more of a shmup curio than anything else.
Turbo Force is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.