Monday, September 26, 2011

Game of the week: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were hugely popular in the late 1980s. These mutant heroes got their start in comic books, but in 1987 a cartoon television show really kicked off the career of these turtles. Soon there were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) lunch boxes, action figures, and kinds of other merchandise. So it was a natural that a video game would come along in the franchise.

There would eventually be more than 20 TMNT video games made, but the very first one came out in 1989, created by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The objective of the game was to control one of the Turtles while on a mission to save the Turtles' friend April from the villainous Shredder. After a cartoon-like opening scene that explained who each of the Turtles were, the player's character traveled around an overhead map. The action began when the player's character went down a manhole into the sewers beneath the streets.

Down in the sewers, there were all kinds of enemies to fight. Your basic goons. Giant spiders. Fire monsters. And lots more. To help in the battle against these monstrosities, every so often your Turtle could pick up some special weapons.

Unlike most arcade games of the time period, instead of having the usual three lives, here the player gets four lives, one for each of the Turtles. So, if you played this game enough, you would likely get around to playing all four of the Turtles.

There are six main stages to this game, each ending with a boss.

The graphics were decent, but in my opinion not quite the best the NES had to offer. The action was smooth for the most part, but sometimes there was some flicker during heavy combat scenes. One highpoint of the TMNT game was the sound, which was full of great music.

This game proved popular enough that in 1990 it was ported to numerous computer systems at the time. Also, Nintendo Power magazine named TMNT the 1989 Game of the Year. Today, this game is still around, available on the Virtual Console for the Wii.

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