Monday, April 18, 2011

Retro Reviews: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Aracde Game

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game was released in 1990 by Konami under the guise of Ultra Games.

If you grew up in late '80s the Turtles were awesome. The cartoon was great, the movie was pretty cheesy but fun and the games were great. Even the first for the NES had its good points. But for many people my age our definitive Turtles game is one of the several beat-um ups that were released starring them. And TMNT II whether the arcade version or the NES version holds great memories for me but the NES version holds a higher place in my nostalgia ridden heart.

One night in New York City, April O'Neil's apartment goes up in flames and it is up to the Turtles to rescue her. Only for her to be subsequently kidnapped by Shredder and the Foot Clan. So it is up to you as one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to rescue April and defeat the Foot Clan.

TMNT II: The Arcade Game is your standard side-scrolling beat-um up that was big during the late '80s/early '90s. You go from left to right fighting a plethora of Foot Soldiers of different varieties and when you get to the end, fight a boss. It really is not a complicated set up but enjoyable nonetheless. Throughout the game's 10 stages you go from April's apartment, the streets of New York, the sewers, a frozen park, a parking lot, a highway, a construction site, a ninja dojo and finally the Technodrome. While all the stages play pretty much the same most of them have some sort of variance that will keep a first timer on their toes. You get a few moves to use; your regular attack, a jump kick and a super move that will kill most regular enemies out in one shot but is a tad tricky to pull off. The game treads a nice line of being hard and fun, it rarely will get so hard that you just stop wanting to play while not being so easy that you can just waltz through the game unabated. There is a tendency towards some cheap hits, especially late in the game but most of those can be gotten around with proper planning and skill.
Most notably different from the arcade is the fact that you can't play with 4 players. The NES just couldn't handle that so instead we get 2 new levels, the aforementioned snowbound park and ninja dojo. Both are nice additions to the game and give it a bit of extra length to what is a short game in general.

Graphically the game is quite good for the NES. Sure it isn't the arcade version quality and there is some flickering when the stage is really busy but it looks quite good for the NES as the levels all have their own graphical theme and the Turtles and their enemies are all easily identifiable.

Musically the game is fairly classic. Some good renditions of the TMNT theme plus some great original stuff really keep the energy going throughout the game. Of course Konami was another great 8-bit music composer so this isn't a shock. The SFX are also fairly satisfying. With different kinds of enemies making different sounds depending on their make up. So metal enemies will make a clank sound and so forth. There are even some voice samples which while not special do what they need to do.

In the end, TMNT II is a great NES port of a great arcade game. Sure it may not have the same 4 player game play of the arcade but it is still extremely satisfying and a classic beat-um up.


+ Very good graphics

+ Very good music

+ Classic beat-um up gameplay

+ Good variety of stages

+ Well balanced

- Some cheap hits

- No four player mode but come on, this was the NES

- Gratuitous Pizza Hut ads

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