So apparently this is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles week on Superfriends Universe. What better way to celebrate it than covering a bunch of classic TMNT games? No box art this time, though. Not enough space. I know Ed and Big D are going to cover the three NES games on a new Pixels & Bits, but I’m going to give my own opinion on those and a couple others.
First, let’s start with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES. This game sucks. Few enemies or bosses are taken from the cartoon. The controls aren’t that great. The vehicle sections are annoying. It’s just bad. It’s almost an insult to the fans. I honestly can’t think of anything good to say here, so I’ll move on.
Next is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the Arcade. This is what a TMNT game should be, and it helped inspire a series of excellent games. The arcade game had up to four players, taking the Turtles from burning buildings to sewers and parking garages. First it was to save April, and then to save Splinter. Actual enemies from the cartoon show up, such as Bebop, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Krang, and Shredder. This is pure fun. Jumping, kicking, slashing, and so on. Sure, it’s a basic beat-em-up, but it’s a lot of fun.
The arcade game came home on the NES with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. It’s mostly a straight port, with a severe graphical downgrade and only two players instead of four. Some stages are extended, and two stages are exclusive to the NES version. Otherwise it’s pretty much faithful to the arcade version. Though it does have a ton of Pizza Hut advertisements. People complain about in-game ads in modern games, but it goes back to the NES, and not just mascot games like 7-Up Presents: Spot (that’s the NES Spot, which is an awesome game, not Cool Spot, which sucks). Much like the arcade version, this game is a lot of fun. A must play for TMNT fans.
Then we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. Shredder kidnaps April and raises the entire Manhattan island into the air. It’s up to the Turtles to stop him. Recurring baddies Bebop and Rocksteady are back, as are Krang and Shredder. The game borrows a little from the TMNT2: Secret of the Ooze movie. Tokka and Rahzar appear as bosses as does Super Shredder (sadly not played by Kevin Nash in the game). Gameplay is mostly the same as TMNT2: The Arcade Game. But if you press A and B at the same time, you do a more powerful attack that also drains your health. I don’t remember if TMNT2 had this or not, but I know the third game does. This, as with the last two, is really fun.
The next arcade game is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time. The gimmick in this game is time travel. At a certain point in the game, the Turtles start traveling through time. Much like the first arcade game, up to four people can play at once. The home version was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time and was released on the SNES. Much like the NES TMNT2, some alterations were made from the arcade original. But overall it’s a similar experience.
I never played TMNT: Tournament Fighters, and I think I only ever rented one of the Game Boy outings. But in terms of the NES and SNES games, most of them are good. The glaring exception is that first NES game. That was crap. Overall, Konami found a winning formula in that first arcade game, and they knew enough not to mess it up. They had two excellent NES games and a great SNES sequel. They made for some of the best beat-em-up games out there. Yeah, Final Fight and Streets of Rage are good, but the TMNT games let you make guys in purple jumpsuits explode, and what’s more awesome than that?
Any TMNT fan needs to play those games. But then again, if you’re a TMNT fan, you already have. In fact, you’re probably all sitting there nodding as you’re reading this, and probably trying to find a copy on eBay (or other, less legal sources).