Something’s a little off… Anyway~ With your Friday winding down, I thought we’d take another jaunt through the past with an embodiment of pure frustration. I of course am referring to the digital debut of four green, heroes on-the-half shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Originally released in 1989 by developer Konami, this side-scrolling smack’em-up would take the NES by storm and even found itself ported to numerous home computer platforms. Infact– the MS-DOS release of the title was nefarious in it’s difficulty and featured a point in which players were presented with a gap you needed to cross. A gap which was too far apart to jump without the assistance of a cheat device.
To make matters worse, you’re given but four lives; those of each of our titular turtles. And what happens when they’re all captured? You guessed it…
So we meet again…
This wouldn’t be a terrible problem save for the fact that you begin each playthrough at the start of your current level. And when all continues are used up its right back to the beginning with you!
And let’s not discuss making it to level 6 and then having to turn your system off either.
Bedtime… a cruel mistress.
Beyond this, the actual game is quite enjoyable. Users are given two ‘modes’ of play, the first of which features a top-down view of your general area.
Leo the Leader at the games starting point
From here, you can do a bit of open exploration of your surroundings. Enter manholes and buildings (which we’ll cover more of later), attack in any of four directions and lest we forget: get smashed by steamrollers. Thats right, scouring the city for rambunctious reptiles are a fleet of Foot-Brand heavy pavers ready to make a pizza of you.
The second mode of play is your more traditional side-scrolling fare. The bulk of the game is spent in scenes such as these, and offers players more in the action department.
A playful pack of Mousers
There are an exceptional variety of enemies to face off against; a successful recruitment drive for the Foot Clan no doubt. During these scenes, players can fight back with their chosen turtle’s primary weapon. An almost strategic angle can be seen here as each weapon has varying degrees of range, arc and even for how long they’re effective.
There’s a touch of platforming to be had, of course– and even a friendly little stage where you get to do some swimming…Do mind the explosives…
Now earlier I’d mentioned manholes and buildings, these are where you enter the side scroll mode. Primarily they serve as a means of getting from point A to B faster, avoiding risk of becoming a one dimensional object is not without its merits either…
It’s also in these areas that various powerups could be acquired in the form of sub-weapons like shruiken. Health pickups we’re often found as well (delicious pizza…). And occasionally at the end of one such stage, you’d be greeted by a boss fight.
As you can see, it’s a fairly vanilla experience but one that’s stuck with me through the years. Haven’t tried it? Or perhaps I’ve made you nostalgic. Either way, I recommend jamming out on this for a couple of hours a month.
Personally, it reminds me of where I came from.