Retro Revolution: TMNT Love
Posted on Monday, January 30 @ 15:46:59 Eastern by KevinS
I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" to some of my overseas friends. [Sorry, TMHT sounds like a disease. ~Ed. Nick] I grew up with them; comics, action figures, movies (ignoring anything after "Secret of the Ooze"), TV shows (the single most evil character in hero history being Venus de Milo), and especially the games. Hell, I started my nephew playing video games on my old toaster with TMNT 2: The Arcade Game. He had to know the classics before he stuck too hard in the "modern" Call of Duty-driven landscape. So with this personal history, hearing the rumor of Rocksteady possibly making a new TMNT game (which, with a name like Rocksteady, is perfect for the series) makes me wanna explore some classic TMNT games.
Surprisingly enough, the games were generally good. They weren't the occasional out-of-the-blue decent game we get now from popular licenses—Toy Story 3 being one—but actually thought-out games from decent development teams. True, the original TMNT game for the NES was originally something else, which explains the flying upside-down legs, killer flies, and electric seaweed, and wasn't particularly good, but the rest had some merit. TMNT2: The Arcade Game really was a scaled-down representation of the arcade incarnation, and its direct sequel The Manhattan Project was the same vein of beat-'em-up awesomesauce.
And that was just the NES! The Game Boy had three games of its own, all three being side-scrolling basic adventures. The first two were amusing, nothing particularly special but pretty straightforward and fun. The first was early in the GB's lifespan and might as well have been an LCD game, the second barely more detail, and the third… well, I hated the third. It was a bastardized Metroid-esque maze where searching for the turtles was the goal, each bringing a power-up to open up more areas of the map. For the GB it was pretty, though, so while it was little more than Samus in a shell (not particularly flattering), it gets a pass in my book.
When the SNES and Genesis were running amok, they each got their own beat-'em-up, but really they were essentially the same game. The Turtle's character sprites were identical, most of the bosses carried over the same way, and aside from the order of the showdowns and final plot points, everything was nearly identical. Still, both TMNT IV: Turtles in Time on SNES and Hyperstone Heist on the Genny are considered two of the best scrollers on their respective platform.
One thing that was different between the three consoles that carried it—the NES, SNES, and Genesis—was the vastly different TMNT: Tournament Fighters, a Street Fighter clone that had each turtle fighting not only each other but a cast that I can't remember from the comics. Some of the characters, like Karai and Rat King, can be found deep in the lore while War, Aska, and Sisyphus were either original characters or cameos from old Archie comics at some point. Not exactly canon, per se, but it filled the ranks a bit in an otherwise thin field… though the SNES incarnation only had ten "playable" characters, the Genny had eight, and the NES only had six. I guess playing as Splinter is like playing Michael Jordan in NBA Jam; the stats and power ranking would be just too damn high.
There were other, lesser known titles playable on home computers, and of course the batch of LCD games over the years (including my favorite, TMNT Basketball!). It took about a decade for anyone to be interested enough to start buying the games again, so let us know:
What's your favorite? Any memories to share? Tell us in the comments!
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