Turbo - Atari 2600



Rev your engines and get ready to test your driving skills in TURBO! As in the popular Sega® arcade game, you speed your racer over city, country and mountain roads. Twist and turn to swerve past other cars. Watch your speed on dangerous road curves and icy roadways. TURBO gives you the thrill of a genuine road race!

Turbo is based on the popular 1981 Sega arcade game of the same name, but was never commercially released by Coleco for the 2600. Turbo was demonstrated at the 1983 Consumer Electronics Show (and was even featured in Coleco’s Atari 2600 catalogs) but was never to be seen again, even though it was roughly 80% complete at the time. Only when former Atari 2600 programmer Anthony Henderson discovered a copy of Turbo in his attic many years later did Turbo finally see the light of day.

AtariAge has created a faithful reproductoin of Turbo, which was introduced at the 2010 Classic Gaming Expo. Turbo 2600 is complete with a professionally printed box, manual, and label, all in the style of Coleco's Atari 2600 releases. This includes using a Coleco cartridge shell for the game! We've also created an insert for the box to keep your Turbo cartridge in place.

Thanks to the talented efforts of several AtariAge members, an "Enhanced" version of Turbo as well as the original prototype are included on this cartridge, with a new, on-screen menu to choose between the two. Enhancements to the game include:

  • Speed, inertia, and controller changes for better playability
  • Various improvements to graphics (cars, score, roadside objects, etc.)
  • Improvements and additions to audio
  • Roadside detection added
  • Skidding on ice added
  • Changed scoring to match arcade version
  • Added arcade Extended Play system
  • Score flashes when timer reaches 10 seconds
  • Red button can now be used to start and restart game
  • Many bugs in the original prototype squashed

You can read a review of the original Turbo prototype over at AtariProtos.com.

Includes box, box insert, cartridge and 12-page, full-color manual.

Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 32K
Original Staff Michael Green, Anthony Henderson, Gary Littleton
Enhanced Version Thomas Jentzsch, Dennis Debro, Nathan Strum
Selection Menu Fred Quimby
Box, Manual, and Label Artwork Nathan Strum
Box Production Marc Oberhaeuser
VectorGamer on 08/17/2017 11:21am
I found this game too difficult to find any enjoyment. This one just doesn't compare to Turbo released for the ColecoVision - which is an excellent game I might add. I wound up selling my copy.
Jason Badovick on 09/18/2010 08:32am
Like the previous reviews, my
expectations after seeing the quality packaging were quite high.
The original prototype was borderline unplayable, but I was excited about getting to the updated version to see what was done to salvage things.
My first couple tries were pretty much a letdown. There was no sensation of movement and in the night scene the light poles continue to stroll by even after your car was crashed and clearly not moving!
All this aside, after about an hour or so I was still at it! The backgrounds were well drawn, and the gameplay was plenty challenging.
In conclusion Im giving it a 4 out of 5 and I would say even with its shortcomings that its a worthwhile addition to your collection.
Lord Thag on 09/03/2010 11:32pm
A friend picked up a copy of Turbo for me while he was at CGE. I've had some time to play around with my copy, and I have to say, this is a very good game.

The box, label, and artwork are absolutely phenomenal. I can't tell the difference from a real Coleco release. This is great work, and nigh indistinguishable from an original Coleco title.

As to the game itself, the original prototype mode is interesting from a historical standpoint, but almost unplayably hard. You go way to fast, way to quick. It's more a historical curiosity than anything. It's the enhanced prototype that's the real draw here.

The graphics are a mixed bag. In the updated version, all of the re-done graphics for the backgrounds, cars etc are stellar. High end Activision quality stuff here. The Cityscapes and backgrounds are as pretty as anything gets on a VCS. Like Cafeman said in his review, the really jarring negative is the blocky playfield graphics used for the road, which do not move. There is little sensation of speed. On the first play, I almost thought it was a deal breaker.

Yet like Cafeman, I was still playing an hour later. The odd road graphic stopped mattering after the second or third play. The game itself is incredibly challenging, fast, and fun. It reminds me strongly of Enduro crossed with Kaboom. Learning how to carefully nudge your speed along and letting off on the gas when oncoming cars approach is critical. It's actually very fun, and while it may not be quite as good as Enduro ... it's close, and certainly a different kind of animal.

There are tons of new scenes too. This is one of the best racing games on the 2600, even if it does have it's flaws. All in all, this is one of the most fun protos I've played. Anyone on the fence would do well to pick up a copy, especially considering the insanely high quality of the box and cart. It really is like someone yanked a crate of coleco games through a time machine from 1983.

All in all, I give it a 4 out of 5. Very fun, and very addicting.
Ron Lloyd on 09/03/2010 10:40pm
My first impressions of my copy of Turbo 2600 were stunned silence at how high quality that box is, and along with the Coleco cartridge, you could convince anyone that it was mint in the box from 1983. I read the manual and plugged it into the 7800.

Now, I knew the history of this game - it is a recently discovered prototype, and the AA'ers who enhanced it. So I wasn't expecting much. So I plugged it in, appreciated the steering wheel on the screen and selected the original prototype to try it first.

Thoughts on the original prototype: too much acceleration, you go from 0 to 200 in a second or two of your button press, and typically will crash-crash-crash. It doesn't make a good first impression, especially since the road edges are static which kills any sense of speed.

Then I selected the enhanced version. Thoughts: much better, it is playable now. The road edges don't move or cycle colors like most every other racer from this era, so you have to use your imagination a bit, but overall the visuals are nicely done. The 'scaling' of the roadside images is nice too, as are the city in the distance and the sunset and different scenes. You know, as is, I'd have liked this back in the day quite a lot. If only the original coders had gotten the road edges to move to convey speed! Especially on the curve screen - it looks SO NICE, but there is no scaling side-track images going by here at all, so again - I use my imagination.

Is the game fun? Oh yeah. I was frustrated. But tried again. And again, for over an hour. Finally I beat 20k and was satisfied for tonight. You do get a good feel the cars' movement and you learn to press the button then release, perhaps tapping it methodically to maintain a speed. And don't forget everyone who used to play Turbo in the arcade -that game was hard & frustrating too. I hated in the coin-op how your car got further up the screen as you accelerated, making it easier to crash into oncoming cars. Not a problem here.

I'm quite happy with the game. Because it is an enhancement of an unfinished prototype, it really shouldn't be compared to something like Ladybug, and isn't quite as good as 2600 Enduro or even Pole Position IMHO. But we never got Turbo and now we have it, and its so purdy to look at the box alongside it, and the game frankly *works* and its as-is pretty much a better experience than many 2600 games.

Those 7800 sticks' buttons were really cramping my hands. I switched to Sega Genesis 6-button pads, much better! Thanks all involved for this nice game and package!

It would be great to see an exhaustive list of *all* the improvements to the enhanced version. So we can look for them! I can't get very far in the original so I'm not sure if you guys added scenery or the sunsets, or if that was in the original.

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