Game: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Action
Published by: Konami

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 2/7/2008

Review: As a kid, I used to love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How could you go wrong when those four different things came together? And I sure loved video games. Thus, it would make sense that a combination of the two would be fantastic. Well guess what:

A lot of you are already way ahead of me on this, but let me break this down for our younger readers: These days, it's fairly common for semi-successful TV shows to have a video game spinoff. For the most part, these games are bad. In the late 80s/early 90s, however, you could expect to see games like this that were not only bad, they were frustratingly impossible. They were TMNT.

In the game, you controlled the turtles in bird's eye overworld map and in a side-scrolling mode when you entered a building/sewer. You could switch back and forth between the four turtles, but once one of the turtles died, you would have to use the remaining turtles to make it through the game and hopefully rescue that turtle later on. Doesn't sound too complicated, right? Well the fun began as soon as you got to the side-scrolling portion.

Each turtle's signature weapon differed in strength and reach. Donatello had the furthest reach because he would grab the end of his bo and thrust it like a spear (which allowed him to even hit enemies through the floors, ceilings, and walls), whereas if you were stuck with Raphael, game over. You'd walk through each level getting harassed by lots of tiny enemies and projectile enemies that would attack the moment they appeared on the screen, and soon, you'd be in need of the healing power of pizza. They're in short supply, though, so you're forced to switch turtles and soldier forth.

Pretty soon, you're almost out of health for everybody because of all the annoying enemies, and because boss characters prefer to simply ram into the turtles rather than try to hit them with specific attacks. You found a piece of pizza, but it wasn't nearly enough to offset all the damage you took before you found it. Even more troubling, you've only just beaten the first level. Worse, doing so didn't heal/revive any of your turtles! And now you've got the added bonus of having to deal with time bombs which will end your game completely if you don't get all 8 defused in 2 and a half minutes!!

As a kid, level two was as far as I got. As an adult... level three was as far as I got. As a kid with a Game Genie, however, I beat the whole game. I remember it being somewhat satisfying, cheating aside. Now, though, I think the whole game just pisses me off too much. Thank god the sequel was a nice side-scrolling beat-'em-up game that saved the franchise's future in video games.

Overall rating: WholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

The Goddamned Batman
Feb 7th, 2008, 08:14 PM
Funky Dynamite
Feb 7th, 2008, 08:24 PM
Me too. Luckily, video game rentals were only for 2 days back then, so I put it out of my mind and moved onto the next.
The Goddamned Batman
Feb 7th, 2008, 08:29 PM
I owned it, so of course it tormented me forever. I got past the underwater level once but had like ONE turtle left at that point, and he very quickly died.
Pickled Patriarch
Feb 7th, 2008, 08:36 PM
I loved this game actually, but yes, it was insanely frustrating at times... especially with those damned underwater time bomb defusing levels. I also didn't like how they made my favorite turtle, Raphael, the least useful one of the entire group. Raph is a total badass, yet the one turtle you always wanted to keep alive in this game was Donatello. On the plus side, I did eventually beat the game and was quite proud of it at the time. It also has one of the better soundtracks from the NES era thanks to good ol' Konami.
Serial Loiterer
Feb 7th, 2008, 09:41 PM
I sacrificed two NES controllers, one volume control knock, one NES console, and two copies of the game itself to the gods of frustration and anger while playing this game. I made it to the technodrome last time I played it on the Wii. Then I kicked a hole in the wall and vowed never to touch this game again.
dead end
Feb 7th, 2008, 09:47 PM
my brother and i pooled our money following christmas and bought this game shortly after it came out, it was the last one at toysrus. we felt very fortunate :o turtles fans were we, and it was unusual for us to get a game near its release cuz our rents hated how we screamed at the tv and said we had to buy games ourselves and shoulder the blame for our own unhappiness. anywayz

it wasnt til years later that i heard about how this game is almost universally hated, but i didnt understand why. i mean, battletoads, ninja gaiden, countless others enjoyed popularity despite their painful difficulty. this was a game with good controls, good sounds, great music, and far from impossible. though you definitely had to work for it.

the arcade game was massively popular, and thats the game people wanted to come home, not some platformer however solid it was. but still, i liked this game. when i wasn't screaming at it.

the bomb defusing part wasn't that hard though sorry :<
lurking on the walls
Feb 7th, 2008, 09:58 PM
i used to own the game, and i have the rom now, but i agree, it is frustrating.
Feb 7th, 2008, 10:49 PM
the angry nintendo nerd sucks at nintendo games, i'd be angry too
The Magnificent Bastard
Feb 7th, 2008, 10:54 PM
Anyway, while it is insanely hard, I always have and always will LOVE this game.

In fact, the sequels kinda bore me. They're fun to play with a friend, but on your own, they're pretty dull.

This one was more-so the "loner's TMNT game", and I like that.

Also, I once watched a friend of mine, that lived next door, beat the whole game without a Game-Genie or anything like that. It was amazing!
Feb 7th, 2008, 11:23 PM
That is one of his better videos.
Feb 7th, 2008, 11:40 PM
There was a time that I considered this the best game ever, but I can't remember seeing the Turtle Van stage more than once.
Emu Emu is offline
Level 29 ♂
Feb 7th, 2008, 11:49 PM
Way to spam up the article, guys

The bomb part was not THAT hard. The only thing about this game is that if you switched turtles, the other ones didn't heal, as though they sat in the turtle van and continued to bleed while your next turtle went out and got his ass kicked.
Feb 8th, 2008, 12:09 AM
thats why you find an area with a close-to-the-entrance pizza and keep goin back and forth to it until everyone's better

leonardo and michaelangelo do more damage when their health is low, so don't worry so much about them getting damaged
Feb 8th, 2008, 12:16 AM
the boomerang is the second-best throwing weapon - it doesn't have a very long range, but once one of your characters gets it you can give it to all of them by having the character who has them throw three and then switching to another turtle, who then catches them and hey presto now two turtles have throwing weapons.
CEO Boobs
Feb 8th, 2008, 01:13 AM
Where is the DAMN ROPE!!! I don't know what they're talking about!
CEO Boobs
Feb 8th, 2008, 01:16 AM
Seriously, though; I played through the first level of this game so many times that I could actually get through the damn dam untouched but I still never made it past the second level.
Pickled Patriarch
Feb 8th, 2008, 01:41 AM
Originally Posted by Emu View Post
Way to spam up the article, guys

The bomb part was not THAT hard. The only thing about this game is that if you switched turtles, the other ones didn't heal, as though they sat in the turtle van and continued to bleed while your next turtle went out and got his ass kicked.
Took care o' the spam.

Anyway, I recall the bomb part was pretty tricky where you had to swim through that electrified-seaweed crap. Defusing them on time wasn't too hard, it was just getting through it without losing too much of your turtle energy... or, I suppose I should say, your turtle power.

lurking on the walls
Feb 8th, 2008, 07:05 AM
The bomb part is easier for us now because we've become more patient at that stage as we got older, i know as a kid, if i never had a Game Genie, i'd have never passed it. besides, as a kid, who wanted to finish a stage without using their favourite turtle?
Forum Chaos Lord
Feb 8th, 2008, 08:41 AM
I remember using Mikey for the Bomb defusal segment because he generally was the worst; at least Raph had speed on his side. The game's biggest emphasis is knowing where to go and who to use when; patience is a huge virtue in this game. That one electric seaweed segment can suck the whitest part of my ass, though.

Well, that, and being a dick and stockpiling Scrolls. Lots of them. It's the strongest sub-weapon and horribly rapes most bosses.
Feb 8th, 2008, 09:58 AM
Raph shined against flying enemies, if he hit a flying enemy he did as much damage as Don. He was far from useless, it was just more of a specialized useful. I remember the whole Mike doing more damage when hurt thing, but I didn't put 2 and 2 together then, I just thought it was some sort of glitch.

I hated the bombs in the dam stage too, but I learned that economic swapping of turtles along with going in and out of the building near the beginning of stage three to recover health made this stage one of the easiest ones actually.

Overall, I thought it was one of the better NES games. I still have my copy.
is hopped up on goofballs
Feb 8th, 2008, 01:35 PM
The bomb stage was cake, the problem was I could never figure out where the hell to go after beating it. Which damn manhole? I don't friggen know!!
Feb 8th, 2008, 02:29 PM
While I agree that the game was almost impossible to beat, it was one of my favorite NES games when I was a kid. I still prefer TMNT 2, though.
The Magnificent Bastard
Feb 8th, 2008, 04:04 PM
(Sorry, about my contribution to the spam earlier, wasn't thinking).

Does anybody else here love the intro movie? Not to mention, the way they used the comic's art-style for it (Hell, the picture on the label is the cover of issue #4).

Also, gotta love the music during that intro. I came to associate that song with TMNT as much as the classic toon theme song.

Damn, I love this game!
Forum Virgin
Feb 8th, 2008, 05:32 PM
hate this goddamn game.. played till i got to the dam and every time the bomb defuse shit screwed me over.. I think i made it past that part like once or twice without cheating as a kid...
Emu Emu is offline
Level 29 ♂
Feb 8th, 2008, 05:48 PM
So is the bomb diffusion part like the Sonic 3 Barrel for NES owners?
Funky Dynamite
Feb 8th, 2008, 05:53 PM
Basically, yeah. It seems really hard as a kid for most people, but then you find out it's not so bad when you come back and look at it again.

Except that in Sonic, getting past the barrel didn't leave you on the brink of total failure.
Emu Emu is offline
Level 29 ♂
Feb 8th, 2008, 06:01 PM
It did if you lost all your lives from using up your time limit.
Funky Dynamite
Feb 8th, 2008, 06:53 PM
Don't argue with me, you.
<me|yourmom> = you
Feb 8th, 2008, 08:14 PM
This is by far one of the most difficult games ever created. Though, it doesn't hold a candle to the difficulty of Section Z.
Waiting for the worms.
Feb 9th, 2008, 03:03 PM
Scrolls. Scrolls were, effectively, a horrible anal violation upon Shredder and his boys. They were THAT tough.
And I actually beat this thing when I was a kid. Nowadays? Forget it. Too much turn-based strategy and roleplaying killed my reflexes years ago.
Feb 10th, 2008, 01:16 AM
Never had this one. I played the Super NES one with my brother a lot.

... and Donatello was always my favorite turtle, because he was SMART! Haha.
Emu Emu is offline
Level 29 ♂
Feb 10th, 2008, 03:26 AM
This one isn't like the SNES one, or even the other two NES ones. This one's more like a platformer.
Fookin' up planets!
Feb 10th, 2008, 05:08 AM
Just thinking about this Hellspawn of a game brings on "28 Days Later" style Rage.
From the Home of MST3K
Feb 10th, 2008, 10:48 AM
If I remember correctly, the Angry Videogame Nerd used this as one of his first episodes, because it ruined his childhood.
Emu Emu is offline
Level 29 ♂
Feb 10th, 2008, 11:14 AM
that discussion was put down earlier in the thread young man
Feb 10th, 2008, 05:05 PM
i think being a lame penis taster probably ruined it harder
Feb 17th, 2008, 02:51 PM
This game used to infuriate me, but I kept at it and eventually got pretty good. Back then I could easily beat the Dam level without hitting any of the seaweed. I never finished the game sadly, I only got to Shredder once.

Looking back, it really was one of the best NES games.
Teenager from Mars
Mar 10th, 2008, 09:19 PM
Executioneer, you obviously do not understand satire. AVGN is a JOKE.
Mar 10th, 2008, 09:52 PM
choose a response:

1. i'll say he is

2. here's a joke:
who's there?
angry video game nerd
*locks deadbolt, goes upstairs to grab a hunting rifle*
Teenager from Mars
Mar 11th, 2008, 10:00 PM
Hunting rifles blow.
Mar 11th, 2008, 10:50 PM
Originally Posted by Captain Awesome View Post
Executioneer, you obviously do not understand satire. AVGN is a JOKE.
Originally Posted by Captain Awesome View Post
Hunting rifles blow.
THIS is not awesome, and I doubt you are a Captain. Please change your name to reflect your lackluster performance.
Mar 11th, 2008, 10:55 PM
Originally Posted by Captain Awesome View Post
Hunting rifles blow your face off.
Who? Me?
Jul 1st, 2008, 12:04 AM
Hey, I've got some news for ya-- TV/movie-based games will ALWAYS SUCK. It's that simple!! I can make a HUGE list of TV/M-based VGs that I've tried and HATED WITH A PASSIONATE RAGE OF DEATH, FURY, AND LOTS AND LOTS OF DEATHMETAL-ESQUE YELLING!!!!

Although I'd have to say, I was mildly impressed with the lack of suckitude in Finding Nemo for the GBA. One of those rare exceptions.