Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was my favourite cartoon growing up. Whenever the theme song came on, my brother and I would launch ourselves over the couch in anticipation, ready to consume the 22 minute TV show. During those years, I enjoyed many TMNT games like the first one in NES, the sequel/arcade game, and eventually Turtles in Time. This game however – like the NES version – I didn’t know existed. Last Christmas, my bro picked this game up for me so I finally decided it was time to give it a whirl!
The game has numerous gameplay modes including Tournament, Vs Battle, and Story Battle. Irrespective of what mode you are playing, the game comes down to engaging one vs one battles!
I like to think that fighting games can only be as good as the playable characters. Are the characters fun to play? Are they the characters you REALLy want to be playing? In terms of TMNT Tournament Fighter – it’s bit of a mixed bag…leaning on the side of being awesome. One the one hand all ninja turtles are playable alongside shredder! They have all their weapons and are a blast to play! On the other hand, some key bad guys are missing! I would have loved to play as Bebop, Rocksteady, or even Dr. Baxter Stockman!
Initially I was really turned off by the lack of my favourite bad guys, but in consolation they added a couple new characters like this humanoid shark, a quick and nimble female ninja, and a humanoid bat character, among others. These new characters quickly became some of my favourites – especially the ninja girl who plays a lot like Sakora from Street Fighter (one of my favourite characters from that series). So overall – I liked the character roster even though they were missing a few of my favourites!
In terms of gameplay – this game is a straight up Street Fighter II clone – and that’s not a bad thing! This is actually a pretty good one! All the characters have an assortment of moves staring with the regular normal and strong punches and kicks. Each character also has some special moves that take a couple quick button combinations to input like down-forward-punch. The characters moves quickly and responsibly and the special moves aren’t actually that hard to input so you spend more time strategizing and attacking and less time focused on putting in the right button combinations.
The one things that I didn’t really like – and this is more of an aesthetic issue with the gameplay versus a straight up issue with the special moves themselves is that some of them feel out of place. For instance, Michangelo has a ranged attacking move where he breathes a fireball out of his mouth. I don’t ever remember him doing that in the show and would have much rather had him throwing a pizza at his appointment – which is feel is much more within his character. There were only a few instances of this occurring, so its definelty not a deal breaker.
In terms of graphics – the game looks awesome. All the characters are well animated and look colourful and distinct. The special moves also look cool – but the real standout for the graphics are that background locations where the players fight! Not only are these really cool locations – ranging from museums, construction sites, and even a rock concert, among others – but they are also filled with hilarious characters including some of my missing enemies including Bebop an Rocksteady! Its worth playing this game just to look at all the different fighting locations – they truly are a work of art! I found the music and sound to be above average as well and had some pretty catchy tunes although not quite to the level of TMNT: Turtles in Time.
Overall – this game is a fun TMNT-inspired Street Fighter II clone that has cool characters, awesome battle arenas, and good gameplay. I was honestly pleasantly surprised so if you can find this game for under $20, be sure to pick it up! I give this game a final score of 7/10.
Final Score: 7/10