With brutal difficulty, slightly stiff controls, and decent visuals, how has Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES aged? Read on to find out.
TMNT for the NES tends to cause people to fall into one of two camps: those that love it and those that hate it. Released in 1989 by the legendary Konami under their Ultra Games Imprint (best known for Skate or Die! and the NES port of the arcade classic Gyruss), TMNT for the NES holds nostalgic memories for a great number of NES gamers. Allowing control of all 4 turtles, this game finds our heroes battling the forces of the Foot. Each turtle counts as a life, which plays into the game’s hard difficulty. Stiff controls can make timing some jumps difficult, and certain enemies are difficult to hit depending on which turtle you decide to use. Likewise, some bosses are easily defeated while staying completely out of danger depending on which turtle is selected (this usually applied to Donatello.)
The visuals have aged fairly well, although the same can’t be said for the music. Stages are split up by an overworld viewed top-down, and progress in a linear manner. The platforming action itself is tense and challenging, although the controls and limited number of lives are a source for much of the challenge. Each of the four turtles are identical in terms of gameplay, with the exception of their weapons; each turtle has a different attack range and amount of damage they cause. Donatello has the longest reach and does the most damage, while Raphael has the shortest range and does the least amount of damage. Leonardo and Michelangelo are mostly equal in range and damage.
TMNT for the NES is still a very challenging game, and most will likely never see the end due to frustration. Still, if you can keep your nerd rage under control and stay patient, finishing this game provides a great sense of accomplishment…not to mention giving you video game bragging rights. The original TMNT arcade game is a vastly superior gaming experience and was also released to the arcades in 1989, however the NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game still has its place in gaming history. Find a way to play it if you never have, but be sure that you are prepared for a challenge.