Nintendo Nostalgic: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Was A NES Gaming Nightmare
This Nintendo Nostalgic celebrates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a NES game full of character building. It was also a brutal game, rivaled only in difficulty by the even more notorious Battletoads. But we played it and we loved it because it was the video game craze of the ’80s!
Here’s a look back on the things that made it such a joypad breaker.
Turtle power: Our Top 10 Favorite Childhood Cartoons
Your Team of Turtles
TMNT’s plot followed a similar vein to the cartoon series. Shredder’s out causing trouble, and it’s up to our "heroes in a half-shell" to save New York. They gotta drive around the city, hit up some platform levels and kick some Foot Clan butt.
All of the Turtles are available to control. Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo all have their signature weapons, but if you let one of them die, you have to choose another. Lose them all, and it’s game over.
This would be fine if the level design didn’t favor the Turtles with the longer weapons, making Raphael and Michelangelo completely useless. Which is an injustice -- they’re the coolest ones! Especially Raphael. Don’t "at" us.
Everything Kills You
There’s a lot of reasons why the term "Nintendo hard" exists, and TMNT is one of them.
The game’s levels were full of enemy waves that were impossible to not take damage from unless you were highly skilled. Platform jumps also had to be pixel perfect. Add in a driving mode that made it super easy to get lost around the city, and you had one hell of a vicious gameplay experience.
And there was one level in particular that brought the pain...
The Hudson River Level
There was nothing more anxiety-inducing than TMNT’s second level: a swimming challenge that demanded you find and defuse a number of underwater bombs in the Hudson River, within a crazily harsh time limit.
It was a confusing maze full of seaweed that could somehow electrify and kill you, and the flashing timer at the bottom only added to the increasing sense of panic.
They don’t make games like they used to. And in the case of this level, thank goodness for that.
If you were pro enough to make it past all of the Turtles’ foes (including Bebop and Rocksteady), you’d eventually reach the Technodrome and face off with Shredder himself.
Busting into the thing was a nightmare boss battle in itself. You had to fend off an endless wave of Foot Clan soldiers while attacking its eye -- which, infuriatingly, only opened now and then.
And once you were in, the army of jet-pack laser-firing robots (were they even in the show?!) that followed were so hard to beat, fighting Shredder himself seemed a cinch if you did.
There you have it: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES. An unforgettable, traumatic ordeal that made us all stronger. If you managed to complete this game as a kid, hats off to you. You’re a better gamer than most.