Mini-Review (sort of): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

An idea so stupid that it would only be birthed and live in the 80’s-90’s, which was the case…but it didn’t die. In 1984, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was originally a comic book series created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman as a parody of upcoming dark comic books, about four mutated turtles who are taught kung-fu by a Japanese immigrant named Splinter, who mutated into a rat. Their adventures include battling the main villain Shredder. The turtles also have a female companion, April o’ Neal, who pretty much is their bridge to how people live I guess…and she’s a reporter. Oh, and the turtles’ names are based on Italian Renaissance artists, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello…because if Hirohiko Araki can have music references in his art, Laird and Eastman can have Italian Renaissance artists that have made a big impact on art in general.

Leonardo: Come on, let’s slice and dice…no one, because this is a children’s show…we sold out big time didn’t we?

I’m not a fan of the series, though I don’t hate it, at all, but it’s just such a bizarre idea that it got popular nonetheless, leading to toys, food, beddings and a classical TV show, as well as a trilogy of movies with the first movie being the best live-action Turtles movies that not even the new movies could top…this is what happens when Michael Bay is involved in anything.

What’s surprising is that despite becoming a dated franchise that was supposed to have died in the 90’s, it was resurrected in 2003, that was the series that introduced me to the Turtles and are still around to this day, especially with a 2012 series that is considered good by fans, a stupid and ridiculous franchise that by luck, has stood the test of time…for a franchise whose connotations include “radical” and s***…you got lucky Ninja Turtles.

But back to the late 80’s, and the NES was the top dog in the US gaming industry…US GAMING INDUSTRY! But that was (sort of) about to change when it came to the European region with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, developed by Konami and was published by Konami too, but for the west, Konami had different divisions based on region. It was published in the US by Ultra Games and in Europe by Palcom.

Now the elephant in the room is the title of the game. The franchise in Europe was known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles due to the UK restricting stuff and ninjas was on that list that was considered taboo, the TV series was slightly censored because of this. It sounds weird now since the Ninja name has been retained worldwide even in the UK, but ninja was considered a no-no in the British land, but this affected the entirety of Europe at the time. Nevertheless, the game was very successful in Europe and sold tons of NES consoles at the time, though it still wasn’t enough to beat the Sega Master System.

The Ninja Turtles find out that April and Splinter have been kidnapped by Shredder’s forces. After rescuing them from Bebop and Rocksteady, the Ninja Turtles have to defeat the rest of Shredder’s forces and then Shredder himself.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Italy)_001.png
Honey, I’m home…no really, this is my home.

So you can play as all four Turtles and you can choose which one to play as any time during the game. You start the game in an overworld, where you can go anywhere and walk into different buildings, beat some enemies, but making sure to complete specific objectives to go to the next area.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Italy)_003.png

In buildings, you’ll enter a side-scroller where you’ll fight countless enemies…and I mean COUNTLESS, there’s a reason why the game is considered to be difficult, but this is in the worst possible way. The enemy placements are awful and health will be depleted fast. I mean sure, there are power-ups like different weapons, though you get a limited amount each time you collect them.

Hundreds of henchmen died to install bombs underwater, trenching through lethal seaweed.

There are some levels that pretty much are as bad as they say…though not in the way you may think. The water level is hard but I thought it was all right…it’s a shame the time limit KILLS it. Also, some of the level design is absolute garbage, from being quite messy, to being annoying and broken. You want to get that item in-between platforms? TOO BAD! The platforms are too close to each other to pass through because f*** you, this is an NES game.

I mean, what else could I say that other people have said, this has been beaten to death multiple times but…I never finished it because I got annoyed by it, but at least I had a go at it…eventually. I mean, the only thing it’s got going for it is the graphics and music, they look nice and looks faithful to the 80’s cartoon.

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TMNT Circus…what? It’s something that could have happened, especially in the 90’s

The game was a massive hit at a time when the franchise was a huge money maker and popular with kids, they loved the game but have now loathed it when they become adults, those are the stories I’ve heard from people. So have a go if you are interested.



Before I go, I’ll talk about the Japanese version, since Japan wasn’t really aware of the series yet at the time this game was released. It was called Geki Kame Ninja Den (激亀忍者伝, which roughly translates to “Legend of the Radical Ninja Turtles”). The game was the same but there were some slight changes in terms of plot. You know how April is a friend of the Turtles and Splinter, in the Japanese version, April is the daughter of Splinter…now, you could say she was born before he became a rat, but because this is Japan, a country where a woman f****** a mutant rat would be considered tame. Long story short, it didn’t sell well in Japan…well no s***, I guess a franchise a country never heard of can do that.



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