Total Eclipse Turbo

PSX PlayStation Clear Case Long Box Release Black Label Release

Clear Case Long Box Release


Crystal Dynamics
August 30, 1995
Crystal Dynamics
7 65979 71200 1
Sony ID:
1 Player
1 Block
Kids to Adults Animated Violence
Box Copy:

The more you kill, the better you feel!

It’s the Earth’s Stellar Guard against the alien Drak-sai. Now’s the time to strap in and set the skies on fire! Blistering bombs explode; shields buckle but hold. Your reflexes better be faster than theirs; ’cause there’s trouble over every mountain, and in every tunnel. Bury the stick and snap a roll. Scream through 20 rounds of non-stop destruction and killer 3D texture-mapped terrains. Save Game feature allows time for refueling. Space sickness bags not included.







Also released into the plastic ridged long box release.

PSX PlayStation Total Eclipse Turbo Plastic Ridged Long Box Release

Plastic Ridged Long Box Release

Finally released into the jewel case version. All assets have the updated with Crystal Dynamics logo. ESRB also gets updated to E for Everyone.

PSX PlayStation Total Eclipse Turbo Jewel Case Variant Release

Jewel Case Release



  • There are no known misprints.






So here we are, the very first game ever released for the PlayStation, and it’s a port of a 3DO game. Could be worse…but not by much. Total Eclipse started its life on the long-defunct system more or less as a demonstration game – that is, “Hey look what cool visuals we can do!” Created by Crystal Dynamics, who for years after have developed some of the best games ever released, Total Eclipse Turbo now stands as a fragmented whole that just didn’t age very well.

Gamers take on the role of a space pilot sent out to stop the invading alien race Drak-Sai, who has appeared out of a candy-coated wormhole-like shape to attack the Earth’s Stellar Guard. Using a Death Star-sized ship called the Sun Dagger, the green behemoth essentially destroys a sun permanently by making it go supernova, placing the surrounding planets into a ‘total eclipse’. It’s that good old one-against-all-odds set-up in a 3rd Person shooter that leaves the gamer wondering just what the hell happened by the time it is all over.

The game starts off fine, with an obvious StarFox vibe that can’t be shaken nor should be. The player is always moving forward, with the ability to move in 8 directions while having the standard gun and super bomb weapon. Several gun variants are available, but it’s soon realized that they are all essentially spread weapons with different patterns. When the gun is fully powered, regardless of which gun it is, shooting creates a bullet storm that makes it hard to see oncoming enemy shots.

Where TET stutters here is that the controls are just way too touchy, especially when combined with questionable hit detection. To make matters worse, this touchy control scheme is slapped on top of one of the cheapest tactics devised by a designer – the always-depleting health bar. Just like the original Gauntlet, even if taking no damage or touching a wall, the shields will still drop in value. These can be recovered by picking up in-game items or by defeating enemies (which is what the game’s “The More You Kill, the Better The You Feel!” copy is alluding to. Different enemies provide different amounts of shield recovery, so part of the supposed strategy is learning which enemies need to go in a given situation. This would be fine had there been proper controls and clipping given, but sadly this only adds to the frustration.

With that as core gameplay, the disc tries to offset this with some damn fine graphics given the time of the release. Despite being the first game on PlayStation, it was in reality already a year-old game from the 3DO. This part of the experience holds up with creative level construction; mountainous landscapes, nice rolling wave effects for the water and lava, and some simple geometric buildings.  Enemy designs are fairly hit or miss, with the major enemies taking on inspired looks, with smaller enemies literally being just squares or circles coming at the player. The ever-depleting shield allows the player to bounce off of walls and mountains to fight another day, though a clipping bug delivers instant death. The bug centers on the location of the mountain. There is roughly a single frame of animation where the object is not onscreen, but counts as a full-fledged dead end. So if the player successfully dodged the rock formation, but is just that one frame too close on the return, the player dies. The graphics for the 5 worlds are varied enough with the typical ice, land, lava, and rocky texture packs, but repeated visuals start revealing themselves. Like the original Mass Effect planets, there really is only so far the developers can make one texture work.

Sound and audio are another hit-or-miss area. The music is fine in and of itself, but it doesn’t fit some of the landscape. It’s also what I call ‘off track’. This is where the background music plays continuously without regard to the player’s actions on screen. Meaning if death happens, the music does not stop and restart with the player. It leaves this weird separated feeling as if the game is on mute with music from another room or source going on. The sound effects are standard fare, but the repetition noise of a specific enemy bullet pattern can get old very fast. I had just finished setting up a surround sound system to use my PlayStation with, and one sound file is so basic and repetitive I mistook it for an audio issue with my stereo speakers.

Too many tight quarters, clipping issues, and more were merging into one giant frustration. Using a GameShark to power through it, the designer’s one last miscue reared its ugly head; the maze level.

In the original Super Mario Bros., Bowser’s stage progression was dependent on the player memorizing which pipes to go through. Taking the incorrect pipe would set the player back to an earlier point in the level. That rule applies to this stage, except every enemy re-spawns along with the player, adding a literal endless migraine combination of horrible clipping, repetitive gameplay, poor control, and repetitive music. So confusing was the level that I just left my invincible ship to plow through the clipping as I looked for a walk-through. After what felt like a lost hour of my time, the end boss and Lord Drak-Sai himself finally appeared in what can only be described as the weirdest demented bunny-shaped ship ever. This ‘killer of suns’ and ‘enslaver of worlds’ flies something that looks like the evil tyrant of a Jumping Flash game, not a spaceship shooter. Once he was soundly defeated, the 110% clichéd ending rolls, and credits that were way too long rolled by only to return to the title screen once again.

Now, from the constant nagging in this review, it pains me to say that there were some charming little touches to the game that got lost in the muck. One could tell level designers tried to have some subtle humor where possible – like having a row of full shield power-ups right before a bumpy cave or using 1-Ups to lure the player into fatal dead ends. Sure, the player got suckered, but as long as they nabbed the 1-Up, the re-spawn was free of charge.

When the game was finally finished, it left an unpleasant, if not horrible taste in the mouth. In the history of PlayStation, all that Total Eclipse Turbo can truly claim is that it was first out of the gate, and not much else.


The Good

  • Fast Action
  • Nod to Starfox and River Raid

The Bad

  • Sensitive Controls
  • Awkward Hit Collision
  • Disastrous Final Stage Area
Final Score: 4 / 10 – Upsetting

The literal Day 1 PlayStation game hasn’t aged very well, but the parade of games it started more than made up for it.












  • Released 10 days before the PlayStation system launch, making it the first game, first shooter, first port, and first “Kids to Adult” game released for it.
  • A quick conversion of the 3DO original. It is rather unclear what exactly the ‘Turbo’ is referencing.
  • The game shares its engine with Crystal Dynamic’s other game Off-World Interceptor.
  • The game’s sequel, Solar Eclipse was exclusive to the Sega Saturn.
  • Pay attention to the cinemas – it’s fairly obvious someone did not like the animation on the mouths of the characters. Both humans and the only on-screen alien have their mouths almost completely covered by headsets or tentacles to prevent full viewing.
  • In the opening cinematic, the enemy squadron comes out of what looks like a bow tie-shaped clip art. There is no explanation of what it is (wormhole? warp pipe? transporter tech?) or why it looks the way it does, purple stripes included.
  • There is a set of enemies later in the game that clearly shows helicopter rotor blades on top of their chassis – there is no evidence of life or atmosphere on any of the planet stages…so what purpose does the rotor serve?
  • [Spoiler] There is quite literally no explanation or reason for the Sun Dagger to explode at the end of the game. You only destroy the ship of the leader, and there is no way the stray bullets from your ship would bring down a planet-sized monstrosity. …and no, there was no exhaust port to fire at.





Total Eclipse Turbo gives players the tools they need to get through the game.

Programmer Cheats
  • Crystal Dynamics Commercial
    This takes a little bit of patience. Turn on the system and then sit through the following sequence: Both PlayStation Screens, the Crystal Dynamics Logo, Opening Movie, let the Title Screen sit, and then the Crystal Dynamics Logo again. You’re rewarded with a Crystal Dynamics dodgeball commercial featuring a variety of games. Oddly enough including Solar Eclipse which is a Saturn exclusive.
  • Extra Continues, Lives, and Plasma Shots
    Pause the game and select Options. Press Triangle, Square, Circle, Square, Triangle, Square, L1, L1 + R1, Select, Select. A skull will appear if you did that correctly. Then, press Triangle, Square, L1, L1, L1, Square, Triangle. The game will reset itself, but you’ll now have 10 each of Lives, Continues, and Plasma.
  • Start Level 2 – Magna Prime
    X, Circle, Triangle, Square, X, X, X, Square
  • Start Level 3 – Solarius Centuria
    Triangle, Triangle, Circle, X, Triangle, Triangle, X, Square
  • Start Level 4 – Polaris 4
    Circle, Circle, Circle, Triangle, X, Triangle, Square, Square
  • Start Level 5 – Sun Dagger
    Square, Cross, Circle, Triangle, Cross, Square, Triangle, Triangle
  • Level Select
    Go into the Options screen and highlight the Password button. Hold Select and press Triangle, L1, Square, then release Select and press Triangle, L1, Square, Triangle, L1, Square. Pick the level by pressing Right or Left in the “Round”  box. The levels are mapped as follows:

    • 1 – Aqueous Major Round 1
    • 2 – Aqueous Major Round 2
    • 3 – Aqueous Major Round 3
    • 4 – Aqueous Major Round 4
    • 5 – Magan Prime Round 1
    • 6 – Magan Prime Round 2
    • 7 – Magan Prime Round 3
    • 8 – Magan Prime Round 4
    • 9 – Solarius Centuria Round 1
    • 10 – Solarius Centuria Round 2
    • 11 – Solarius Centuria Round 3
    • 12 – Solarius Centuria Round 4
    • 13 – Polaris 5 Round 1
    • 14 – Polaris 5 Round 2
    • 15 – Polaris 5 Round 3
    • 16 – Polaris 5 Round 4
    • 17 – Sun Dagger Round 1
    • 18 – Sun Dagger Round 2
    • 19 – Sun Dagger Round 3
    • 20 – Sun Dagger Round 4



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