Review by Psycho Penguin

"This game just fails to capture the spirit of the TMNT series"

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will always remain an enigma in my childhood memories. I have always been very fond of them, whether it be from their delightful television show or cartoon videos (even the regular videos were pretty cool) to the comic books, there was something for everyone when it came to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandise. One of the main merchandise plans that was launched at the height of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fad was a video game plan.

Yes, Konami decided to release a whole bunch of TMNT games over the years, mainly for the NES and SNES consoles, although there were some released for the other consoles (there was even an Arcade version of the popular Turtles in Time video game, which as many of you know was later ported to the Super Nintendo). The first game they ever released was the aptly named Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Let me get one thing straight before the review: I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But it seems like the1st of everything they attempt, from the movies to video games, absolutely sucks. I loved the other games in the series, but the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game just failed to capture the spirit of the other games in the series. I believe that the type of game this was led to that feeling. While the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were more action oriented (side scrolling beat em ups) this game was more like an adventure game. It has its good moments, but overall I prefer the other games in the series a heck of a lot more. Maybe it's just the type of game, maybe it's the boredom, maybe its the fact I want to throw this game out a window ever time I see it, I don't know. I just do not like it.

I was rather disappointed with the way this game came out, but only because of the fact I was blinded by TMNT 2. If you completely forget the fact that this is nothing like the other games in the series, you may end up liking this game a lot more than I ever did. The fact of the matter is, I have never really been a huge fan of this game, and never will be. I do not know why I have never really gotten into this game, but I just do not like it much, at all. I did expect the game to be fun, and for the most part I was rather disappointed when I played it, and discovered no fun whatsoever to it.

There really is no story line to this game if you think about it, but watch the short scenes before the game begins to find out all about it. The Turtles are returning home from a pizza run when they discover that someone has broken into their precious sewer! They enter and see Master Splinter has been kidnapped! Shredder must have taken them, so your mission is to save Master Splinter! This is not the most unique story line of all time, but it is actually better than what I expected it would be.

The graphics in the game are rather interesting, to say the least. I did like some of the graphics in the game, although I will go on record and say I am not a big fan of these graphics, at all. I did not really like the whole look of the game, especially when compared to the other 2 games in the NES series. The backgrounds were especially disappointing, as I had a rather tough time seeing the enemies because of the backgrounds in the stages featured in the game.

The backgrounds in the game are perhaps the main fault of the game when it comes to graphics, but they are certainly not the only flaw. I don’t know why this is, but I did not like the enemy or character designs in the game at all. I usually would have expected to like them, but the graphics in this game just do not cut the cake, in my book. I wish Konami would have spent a little bit more time with the graphics because they could have done a great job, instead they came out a little short when it came to the graphics department.

Hey look if you look very closely you might be able to distinguish a foot soldier from an
alligator... seriously, the graphics in the game are well below average. None of the enemies look even close to what they do in the series, and some of the enemies make you scratch your head and wonder why they're even in the game to begin with. Don't even get me started on the backgrounds which end up distracting you from what’s going on. Bad graphics.

Music in the game is pretty good, although it is certainly not anything special. The cool part about the game is the fact that it does feature the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, however as you may expect there are no lyrics so you only hear the background of it. This is no big deal besides I still like it, anyways. Once you get into the actual stages, the music tends to get a bit worse, as I did not like the music in most of the stages at all, as I felt they sounded rather annoying, disappointing, and overall just plain off the theme of the game.

Sound effect wise, I was rather disappointed to hear some of the sound effects in the game. First off, it is rather disappointing for me to hear that the only main sound effects featured in the game are the sound of the enemies getting hit or the enemies actually hitting one of the Turtles. I felt this was a rather disappointing aspect of the game, as I did expect there to be a little bit more sound effects then the ones that were featured. However, sound effects are never too important in a game, so I am not going to harp on them too much.

Controlling the Turtles in the game is rather simple, one button is for jump, the other one is to swing your weapon. I was rather disappointed with the way you had to switch weapons, however, as you had to go to the start screen by pushing the start button then switching around the weapons like that. I do guess that that is the only way that it can be done, however, due to the limited amount of buttons on the NES controller.

Once you get into the actual heart of the game, you will notice that it is a lot different than the other games featured in the NES TMNT games. While parts two and three of the series were arcade style side scrolling beat em ups, this game takes a bit of a different approach by incorporating things such as an action and adventure side, as well as a bit of strategy, It is overall very well done, although I do admit I liked the other games a heck of a lot better.

The stages in the game are rather revolutionary, as there are no set stages or anything. Instead, you start off in a city map, and you can walk around (avoiding foot soldiers and tanks in the process) until you find an open sewer, then you can go into the sewer to complete the sewers. You will not spend the whole game in the sewers, though, as soon you will be swimming underwater, trying to detonate the bombs. That was the most fun I had in the entire game, as it was fun to try to swim around while avoiding electric coral.

Take everything you knew about the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games and throw them out a window because this game returns you to pre-school instead of advancing you to high school. The game play in this game is not fun. Most of it is going around fighting little purple guys that hardly resemble foot soldiers at all. The good points of this game are the fact you could switch Turtles at any time and the water stage, which had you defusing bombs, was pretty good.

You will want to replay the game a lot, although I will tell you that this game does not have the drawing power of the later games of the series, so if you played the other games in the series a lot, do not expect the same kind of feeling in this game. However, the opposite is bound to occur, because for the most part this game does not have very good replay value, at all. I was rather disappointed that I did not want to replay this game a lot, because I really enjoyed the other two games in the series and played them a lot.

To say that this is the most challenging of all of the games in the NES series would be a bit of an understatement. This is one of the most challenging NES games released of all time, period. The simple basic game play design that the game is running on means that the game will be challenging, mainly due to the fact that this game requires you to combine a quick trigger finger, along with brains to figure out some of the more complex stages of the game. Some of the bosses got to be rather tough also, especially that guy in the warehouse, he was really tough.

Overall, I was really disappointed by this game, although it does have some good aspects to it. I am not going to sit here and call it the worst game ever made, because it certainly is not, especially with crap like Heroes of the Lance and Total Recall running rampant. However, I will say that the game is rather disappointing, especially for those of you who are expecting a gaming experience like the other two games in the NES series. Regardless, the game is still fun, and if you are a Turtles fan like me you will probably end up enjoying it, hopefully more than I did. This game is worth a purchase.

Good Points
-This review is not as long and tedious as a King Broccoli review.
-Revolutionary stage design
-I like how you can switch your active Turtle around at any time.
-The classic Turtles theme is featured in the game.

Bad Points
-The graphics in the game are rather terrible.
-Disappointing music and sound effects.
-One of the worst game play systems ever.
-Total Recall is better.

I Run Down the Ratings.. SMcFadden style!
Storyline – Not Available
Graphics- 2.3/10
Music and Sound Effects – 3.1/10
Gameplay and Control – 1.7/10
Replay Value – A Little Below Average
Challenge – Way Above Average
Buy it? – Yes
Overall – 1.7/10
The Last Line: Total Recall is better than this game, in my opinion. That’s all you need to know.

Reviewer's Rating:   1.0 - Terrible

Originally Posted: 08/22/00, Updated 07/16/01

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