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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review

Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Release Date: May 12, 1989 Also On: None

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were everywhere in the early nineties. They had their own TV show, their own comic books, their own line of toys, and many other things. But one thing they had was their own line of video games, begun in 1989 with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Different from its sequels in many ways, the original TMNT game is widely criticized for things such as high difficulty, but for those who can look past those problems, there is still a reasonably fun game to be played.

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My experience with this game on an NES was always through somebody else’s copy of the game, although for a time I did have access to the game through a method that shall not be mentioned. I never was able to beat it. Well, I was never able to beat it without a Game Genie. Yes, the later levels are that hard. But the point is, my enjoyment of this game always stemmed from the fact that I was a TMNT fan in my youth, and am somewhat embarrassed to say I still am today. However, it has something to offer even those who are not hardcore TMNT fans.

The graphics on this game are average. There’s just no way around that. You can tell the difference between different enemies, and you can even tell the difference between turtles by their skin color to a slight degree. But there’s nothing particularly memorable about the graphics in this game, either in 1990 or today.

The same goes with the sound. Neither the sound effects or the music is memorable for the most part. One or two of the songs are decent, but for the most part the music is just there. It isn’t bad enough for me to recommend turning it off, but it isn’t the type of stuff that will create a permanent spot in your memory and come back to you when you’re bored to entertain you either.

The gameplay is simplistic but difficult. You can switch between using all four turtles, and each has his own life bar. Each also has his own distinct advantages and disadvantages. For example, Donatello has the longest and most powerful weapon, but it goes straight out and fails to hit some short enemies, and it is the slowest of the four weapons, whereas Rapheal has a very short weapon that is fast to come out and can hit shorter enemies. For the most part though, the game is easier when using Leonardo or Donatello than it is when using Rapheal or Michelangelo, although there are exceptions.

When a turtle is injured, he can pick up pizza to regain health. Depending on the quantity of pizza, the health gain will vary. Since the turtles don’t have too much health, switching between them wisely is a big part of the strategy of the game. If one is captured, you have to start an area over. If a turtle does get captured though, he can be rescued if you can find him and set him free in the right spot. A rescued turtle is recovered with full health. When all four are completely dead, you lose.

Anyway, each turtle has a forward attack and an upward attack. When ducking, Leonardo and Donatello can attack straight down but Rapheal and Michelangelo just do a lower forward attack. Many later enemies take more than one hit to defeat, and it takes a while for a turtle to be able to attack again after he attacks, so many cheap hits can occur. However, there is far less recovery time when using special weapons, which can either be found or be randomly generated by defeated enemies. The turtles do jump very high though, although gauged jumps are also possible and needed in some points. Their attacks in the air are no different than their attacks on the ground.

Most of the bosses are fairly challenging and take some thought to defeat, although generally they are not as difficult as what you have gone through to get to them. Even the final boss is a joke if you know what you’re doing. There are also traps that can cause damage to the turtles other than enemies. Overall, the game has a wide variety of things to kill you, unlike its two sequels where it’s basically foot soldiers and more foot soldiers.

This game is difficult. I am not going to hide that. However, beating a difficult game brings a bigger sense of accomplishment than beating an easy one. If you are a fan of action games such as this, I recommend you pick this game up, even if you aren’t really a TMNT fan.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7
Written by Martin Review Guide