# 2 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The FINAL Ninja Turtles Adventure…?)

System: Nintendo Entertainment System

Release Date: May 12, 1989

First Played: 1995

Status: DEFEATED – January 11, 2015

Often imitated, never duplicated, nothing says action, fun and excitement like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! tmnt2
Debuting in 1984 under the independent comic book banner “Mirage Studios”, creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s parody of popular 1980’s comic book trends (mainly mutants and ninjas) created a set of characters that would become a worldwide phenomenon! Spawning cartoon shows, movies, comic books and an insane amount of toys and merchandise, these “Heroes in a Half Shell” continue to entertain children and adults to this very day. As with any popular franchise, a video game about it would be a sure fire hit. Many of the Ninja Turtles video games are considered to be some of the greatest games ever created (Turtles in Time!!). But there was one TMNT game that came out…the very first one in fact…that is denounced by many as being unfairly tough, frustrating and just plain garbage! But can we look back and find the charm of this classic NES game, or do we still want to beat the living shell out of it…?

When First We Met

I grew up watching the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon; I had no clue that there was an ORIGINAL comic book that inspired it! So, in blissful ignorance, I watched this show thinking it was the best thing since…well…ever! It was no surprise that I picked up any Turtle game I could find. My first adventure with the Turtles was in 1990 with the NES game “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game”.

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As time went on, I picked up more games, some for the Game Boy, a couple of board games, and far too many action figures…then came that fateful day in 1995 when I went to my local flea market and found this…

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Cool! I don’t recognize this Turtles game! I really like the picture! There’s Raphael with his Sai, Raphael with his Bo, Raphael with his Nuchu….wait a minute…WHY ARE THEY ALL RAPHAEL!?!? This is obviously some kind of rip off, everyone knows that only Raphael has a red mask! But it’s only $5…..curious as to what this game is all about, I hand over Sir Wilfrid and head home to give it a go…

I’m greeted to the standard Ninja Turtles title…

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Well, that’s a good sign, so I guess this isn’t a boot leg! Some cool funky music that I can only describe as “Ninja Turtlely” starts to play. I leave it alone and I’m soon shown a couple of fun cut scenes showing the Turtles changing from tiny turtle to Big Ninja Turtle! And they get the colours right for each Turtle…so why was everyone wearing red on the cartridge?? (That’s because they used the cover of issue # 4 of the Mirage Comic book where the Turtles originally wore all red masks…even though the game takes inspiration from the cartoon show…) Let’s take a look at our heroes, shall we?

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“Does Machine”.

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Cool, but Rude.

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Slightly Mentally Handicapped.

Next is a scene showing Splinter sending the Turtles after The Shredder and his Foot Clan to rescue (once again) a captured April O’Neil.

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Well, that sums things up very nicely, let’s get started! Having played the later games in the series first, I’m taken aback by what I see in the “First Level”…

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The hell…why am I so small!?! And which Turtle am I? You start in an over world map, where you access different “Levels” by going into sewers or buildings, this gives you a bit of choice as to where you want to go and what levels you can avoid which is actually a nice touch. I’m standing next to a hole, which I’m guessing is a sewer and walk toward it…which brings me to this…

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There we go!! This is the side scrolling action I know and love!! The sewer is packed with Mousers! Baxter Stockman, you tricky bastard! I can now make out the blue mask, meaning I’m Leonardo, so let’s see what he can do! “A” is your standard attack; pressing up or down with “A” makes you attack in that direction. That’s cool, in the others games I’ve played, you can’t really control the direction of your weapon! “B” is jump…the jumps are very slow, and landing on some of the smaller platforms can be tricky. But what I found even worse was that YOU CAN’T DROP KICK! That was my go to move in boss fights! Your jump attack is the exact same as your ground attack…only you’re in the air.

There is a slot beside your main weapon that can hold a throwing weapon. Enemies drop them (though very rarely) and you access it by pressing select. You can pick up single ninja stars, TRIPLE ninja stars, some kind of scroll that shoots out a powerful wave of energy and a boomerang…because nothing says ninjutsu more than a boomerang…

You call that a Ninja? THIS is a Ninja!

Pressing Start brings you to a menu where you can switch between playing as each of the Turtles!

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It also shows you a very crude map of where you are and a dialogue box which tells you what your mission is. It is here where I discover anaother problem…Raphael…his Sai is terrible! You basically have to be directly beside whatever you want to hit, which leaves plenty of time for a baddy to hit you! Leo and Mike have medium range attacks, with Leo just a bit longer; also Leo’s Katana blades reach slightly behind him, so he can deal damage in front and behind at the same time. By far the greatest of the Turtles is Donatello; his attacks are slower, but his range is incredible and he is the most powerful of all the Turtles!! So, as I would find out, if you want any kind of success with this game, keep Donny alive at all costs!! So I stick mostly to Donatello and smack around some Foot Soldiers and mousers as I go. Very soon I meet my first boss fight…BEBOP!!

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Rocksteady stays above with a tide-up April. Bebop just runs back and forth and occasionally stops to punch you; it’s easy to get trapped in the narrow space to the right, so I try to stay as much to the left as possible. I’m shocked at how quickly Donatello beats Bebop! I think I hit him maybe 8 times? The boss battles from the other games I’ve played are much more epic; the typical “Red Flashing” that happens when the boss is almost finished is nonexistent. When they are defeated, they just blow up! No dramatic pose as they fade away, they are just destroyed and wiped out from existence! Harsh!

(Just remember, I didn’t realize at the time that this was the first game, so I know it seems odd  to say this game lacks something which at the time of its creation, hadn’t been put into any other game yet.)

Rocksteady runs away with April and I give chase. As I move forward, I’m startled at what I find…

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Whoa! That guys on fire!! And he makes tiny fire babies to attack me! This wasn’t anything that I had seen on the show before, and I liked how weird it was! It was a fun twist from just level after level of foot soldiers. Eventually I track Rocksteady to a warehouse to fight FACE TO FACE…well not really…

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Poor Rocksteady, he never had a chance. I discovered this by accident and all you do is just keep down attacking till Rocksteady becomes Rock-DEAD-y. Yes! I rescued April!! This doesn’t usually happen till the end of the game…No time for questions because April tells me that the Foot Clan is going to blow up the damn and we need to stop it!!

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“You Have My Support” and nothing else.

The Dam level is pretty straight forward; fight through hordes of enemies until you get to the top. Your biggest problem isn’t the enemies though…it’s this…

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Damn Dam!

What, that guy on the bottom??? Nope, it’s the space you are supposed to jump across. Instinct tells us to do a tiny jump, but because the jumping is all wonky, you’ll just fall to the floor below and have to trek all the way back. Trying to do a high jump will end in the same result UNLESS you hit the ceiling in the middle of the space. You’ll hit your head, which will slow you down and then float to the other side…I died a lot from messing this jump up and having the room full of re-spawned bad guys slowly hack away at me! Eventually I make it to the top…

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Two tiny Foot Soldiers are disposed of easily…but where’s this bomb? I see a ledge on the Dam…jump? I do…and land in quite possibly the wettest most frustrating level imaginable!

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At first this is a lot of fun! In all the Turtle games I’ve played, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them swim! I mean, they’re turtles so they can swim right?? But then I notice the controls…the turtles are terrible swimmers and there is an unseen current that constantly pushes the turtles towards all the many dangers in this underwater labyrinth! Kudos to Shredder for setting up these traps though! Not only did he set up bombs, but he installed killer sea weed everywhere (which must have taken YEARS to grow) spinning wheels of death and creating a device that can produce electrical force-fields UNDER WATER without killing everything! At least disarming the bombs is easy, just swim up to them! This took many, many frustrating days to get through, but eventually the Turtles save the day!

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The turtles decide to head home instead of going after Shredder who almost destroyed a Dam which would have killed hundreds if not thousands of people.

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Raphael knocks on the secret entrance to their base (you know it’s the secret entrance because it has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LOGO BESIDE THE DOOR!!) and says the super secret password “Here”. Suddenly…

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Someone trashed their house!! But who and how did they find it??? (See sarcastic remarks above) Then the TV turns on to reveal…

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THE SHREDDER!!!!! He’s taken Master Splinter and the only way to get him back is to defeat the Foot Clan! Then I notice something…

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Shredder’s hand is moving back and forth as he talks, but it actually moves OUTSIDE the screen! It’s a trick!! He’s in the busted TV! Get em!!!! The Turtles don’t catch on and instead go to the next level to save Splinter…

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This town of NEW YORK????

…which was the end of my journey. To make a long story short, I couldn’t figure out where to go! This map is huge and the red square design is absolutely no help. And if my terrible sense of direction didn’t kill me, the absolutely insane amount of enemies would!

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This left me no choice…I had to use desperate measures. And so, much like my previous QUEST entry, I resorted to using a Game Genie to skip to the last level, become invincible and beat Shredder…it was a cheap move, but I just wanted to beat this game so badly!! For the time, I was happy and actual convinced myself that I had done the right thing, “Well, the controls are crappy so that justifies my using it!” I was content to live the lie of having “Beaten” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…

Meanwhile in the Present…

Just like before, this game NEEDED to be a part of my QUEST. I needed to know that I could beat one of the hardest Nintendo games around, what kind of a QUEST would this be if I didn’t have to pass a seemly unbeatable game?? So I put it at #2 and got ready to go prematurely bald from stress.

My first impressions on my second look all these years later…it’s a pretty crudely built game. The enemies are all twitchy and sometimes just randomly appear. Also, I forgot just how terrible the jumping was and it took me a while to get the hang of it. But despite these lacklustre qualities, I actually found myself enjoying it…

The first 2 levels have been permanently melded to my brain, and I plough through them, especially the underwater dam level which no longer proved a challenge (not to brag) and soon it was onto finding Splinter. The over-world map lets you drive around in the Turtles Party Wagon!!

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I don’t need a license, I have Turtle Power!

As you drive around, Foot Clan Steam Rollers try to run you over. To take them out, the Party Wagon fires bullets and missiles that you find hidden in buildings and sewers. The missiles are primarily for blasting through barriers that block of parts of the road but they can also take out Steam Rollers in one hit! The building you start in front of has missiles located on the top floor, and it’s full of pizza, every time you leave and then re-enter the building, all the pizza and missiles return, so you can get an unlimited supply of them! I took some time at the beginning of the level to heal my Turtles and get 30 missiles. So now I can just drive around and blast road blocks and Steam Rollers without having to stop and search every building!

Here’s the kicker: The Party Wagon doesn’t have an independent life bar, it shares the health of which ever Turtle is selected! So I suggest getting Raphael to drive as he mostly serves as a punching bag in this game! I’m able to get the centre of the map fairly quickly, and after collecting some rope to walk between some buildings, I find Splinter tied up and hanging from a pole!! And he’s guarded by…

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…ANOTHER TURTLE??? Who is this guy? Is he also named after an Italian artist…?


Carpaccio: I Also “Does Machine”!

He’s not Carpaccio; he’s the less artsy sounding Mechaturtle, according to Turtlepedia… http://turtlepedia.wikia.com/wiki/Mechaturtle . He jumps around and attacks you with Katana Blades! Now, if you’re like me and have Triple Ninja Stars, or even better, the Boomerang, he’s a piece of cake, attack him from a distance and he soon blows up…only to reveal his TRUE FORM!!!

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I would have started with this form…

 Now he has swords AND ROCKETS!! But, I have still boomerangs and he soon meets his demise. I saved Splinter! Suddenly…

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I guess Shredder was nearby and is now escaping in that helicopter! Splinter says we need to find the Turtle Blimp (YES!) and give chase; which brings us to the worst Airport in the world!

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This level is long, and unlike previous levels, there are fewer areas you can skip over. If you’re not careful, you can end up in a deadend or taking an unnecessary longer route, it took me many tries to find the quickest path. The only instant kills up to this point had been the Steam Rollers (if they roll over you while walking around, you’re dead!) but this level introduces another “FUN” instant death: PITS OF FIRE!

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Remember, this is an airport in New York…

 The Turtles can get electrocuted in water, fall feet first on spikes, even fall off the top of a building and walk away, but they can NOT take the heat! On one play through, I lost Donatello, “Well, I’m screwed! Might as well die so I can continue with all the Turtles again” but then I find…

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DON!?!? I can get back the Turtles I lost??? I guess this is the equivalent of a “Free-Man”. With my spirits renewed, I continue my search for the blimp. Eventually I find the boss, a Giant Mouser!

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CHRIST!! On first glance, this guy looks terrible! One would think that it would mimic what the regular sized mousers do in the game, mainly chase you and try to rip you apart! But it just stands there…it doesn’t even move side to side. It fires lasers out of its eyes and pops tiny mousers out of its mouth. When its mouth opens, it reveals an orb which is its weak spot. Again, if you got Donatello, get ready for some cheapness. Don can just stand right underneath its mouth and hit up, which allows him to dodge the lasers, hit any falling mousers and hit the weak spot without moving…way to fuck up the design Stockman! This would be tremendous battle ends quickly with its head blowing up.

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The turtles get in the Blimp…

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Shot Gun!

… and go to Shredders “Super Secret Base”…

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Your mission here is to find the Technodrome, Shredder’s main base of operations and where he keeps all his stuff. But just to make this game even more difficult, there are 4 possible locations to find the Technodrome…and the location randomly moves around every time you play this game. This level is short (if you find the correct sewer first try that is) but the enemies are AWFUL!! AND TERRIFYING!!!

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I found that the Technodrome usually hides in the lower left sewer, though again, its location randomly moves around. When you eventually find the entrance you battle…

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THE TECHNODROME!!!! Usually you battle IN the Technodrome, but never the actual Technodrome itself! Also, I love saying Technodrome, you can sound smart to people who don’t follow TMNT and you sound cool to the people that do! Win Win! Technodrome!! The first thing that hits me is its size. Yes, it’s as big as the screen, the biggest boss in the game, but, why are the Turtles 1/3 the size of it? How can The Shedders army fit into something the size of an above average condo?

The only way to defeat it is to destroy the Eye of the Technodrome, but it is very well protected. First you need to take out the front electric barrier, the side guns and a portal at the top where Foot Soldiers pop out for good measure. If you’re lucky you’ll have some ninja stars, and if you time it right, you can damage the front barrier and the side guns at the same time! This will make the fight go much faster. Once again, Donatello is a must have; his Bo easily destroys the foot soldiers and the portal they jump out of. The Eye is destroyed just as easily…

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…and Don jumps into the Technodrome…and to the final battle!

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I love our conversations April…

The levels leading up to this have been difficult, mostly because the enemies decide to appear where ever they feel like it and the hit detection is atrocious…this level makes everything else seem like a cake walk…

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My screen started to glitch out!

When you start the level, there is an enemy right beside you that immediately attacks!! Depending on which enemies the game decides to render, it’s either an easy Foot Soldier or an incredibly tough Neon Blue Jetpack Laser Firing Soldier!! If you start as a Turtle with low health, you can be dead within seconds of playing this level. My advice: take it slow and steady, if you have the boomerang use it all you can (as it is reusable…since boomerangs come back to you!), and for the love of everything holy KEEP DONATELLO ALIVE AT ALL COSTS!!!

There are multiple paths to take to the levels end, one contains an unavoidable pit of spikes, but for the most part, I found that I could dodge my way around the tougher enemies…that is until you get to the home stretch…

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The path narrows to a point where you can’t jump and you’re constantly surrounded by those Neon Jetpack Guys and these robot bugs! Boomerang the hell out of everyone if you can, or use Donatello’s downward strike to (oddly enough) hit enemies above and in front of you! This is where I died the most; you get 2 continues, but you don’t keep any of the secondary weapons you collected…so with every failure, my outlook became more and more hopeless. I spent days trying to get through that fucking tunnel…until it happened…I felt the ZONE kick in…my surroundings faded away and I was in the tunnel! I moved slowly, mechanically down the hall, a reptilian mechanism of Bad Guy Destruction…until I was through! YES!!! But then…

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A mid Boss Battle with one of those God awful Neon Guys! I switch out Don and rotate between Leo and Mike until he’s dead. In packs they are vicious, but they can be easily out manoeuvred one on one. I proceed cautiously…until I see the door. For the first time in over 20 years, I made it to the Door of Shredder cheat free!

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I switch to Donatello…….and enter…I’m standing on a platform…no Shredder…hmmm…I move to the platform beside me just as a lightning strike hits where I was standing!! From it materializes the man himself, the personification of the Boss Battle…Oroku Saki…THE SHREDDER!!!

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I remember from when I first fought him that he has a Mutation Gun that can change the Turtles back to regular turtles, killing them instantly! I expect him to fire but he jumps at me, Don strikes which sends him back. He dives again! Don sends him back. What’s he doing? Why isn’t he…you know…killing me? This repeats until with a final slow thrust forward, Donatello causes Shredder to EXPLODE AND COLLAPSE INTO A PUDDLE OF GORE!!!

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The Shredder has been shredded!

I would like to point out that I had the camera in my left hand and the controller in my right…so I beat Shredder one handed! Holy crap!! That was an epic death!! That was a graphic death! That was…..really, really easy. Donatello jumps out of the level and we see…

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Splinter! He congratulates you and then says that he can turn back to normal….wait, what? Then Splinter changes from rat…

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To Chuck Norris???

…to his Human Form…

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I guess the Turtles took the Mutation Gun from the pile of goo that was Shredder, but then…why is he still a rat in all the other games??? Then April chimes in.

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I did it! I won!! CHEAT FREE!!! AHAHAHA!! While dancing around my condo like a lunatic, I suddenly realized something…out of all the video games based off of the 1987 animated series, chronologically; THIS IS THE LAST NINJA TURTLES GAME…and let me explain why…

When this game was released, the Ninja Turtles cartoon was already into its 3rd season, at which time series mainstays like Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, Shredder, Baxter Stockman, General Traag and his Rock Soldiers, Leatherhead and many others were already introduced. These characters play a significant role as bosses in almost all of the Turtle games, especially Krang who has served as the penultimate or even final boss. Yet, this game is missing the vast majority of them; the only ones returning are Bebop, Rocksteady and naturally Shredder. The only “NEW” boss character is Mechaturtle; not to be confused with Metalhead…another robotic turtle seen in the cartoon and games.

Why was I programmed to feel pain!!!???

Now why are these characters absent? The answer is simple: They have either been killed/permanently banished by the Turtles or have retired from evil doing after years of failure! Another big difference in this game is the enemies; all other Turtle games make use of Foot Soldiers, Rock Soldiers, and the various machines of Baxter Stockman; this game creates a hodgepodge of nightmarish mutations and common street thugs with a sprinkling of Foot Soldiers. Why? Because A) in the case of human Foot Soldiers, they were either killed or lost faith in Shredders leadership after so many defeats and left or B) in the case of robot Foot Soldiers, the Turtles just kept destroying them and it became impossible to keep up with the replacement demand or the machines to make them had been destroyed. So, in his desperation, Shredder creates a “Mutation Gun” and turns willing or non willing people into the monsters you see in this game to carry on his never ending quest to defeat the Turtles.

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The Boss battles themselves hint at this being the final chapter in the Turtles story. While other games simply show a boss flash red and then fade away once beaten, this game shows them violently blow up! This is most definitely true in the case of Shredder who actually collapses into himself after being defeated. After his defeat, the Turtles take the Mutation Gun and change Splinter into a human again. In no other game is Splinter anything but a rat, and once regaining his humanity, I doubt he would want to change back into a rat again, so this has to happen after all the other games where he appears as a rat…which is all of them.

The most obvious clue comes from the message on the final screen of this game: “The Adventure of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is Concluded”. It’s not “Thanks for Playing!” or “See you Next Time!” or even “THIS Adventure”, it’s “THE Adventure” as in the entire story of the Turtles is over, there is no other story to tell because they have defeated all of their enemies.

Or maybe this is just my mind trying to convince itself that I had a great time playing this game; ignoring the glitch filled levels and unfair enemies by creating this elaborate thesis which changes this game from a frustratingly poor adaptation of the Turtles to an amazing work of art!


This game is totally worth playing. It’s hard, it’s unfair, but would you expect anything less from The Shredder? It is one of the toughest gaming experiences I have ever had, but despite the terrible hit detection, awful jumping and so-so graphics, I actually had a lot of fun playing it! The music is great and the ending is definitely unique compared to the other entries in the franchise.

It would have been awesome if they made the Technodrome battle to scale; Make it 5 screens tall and you have to take out different weapons and finally the giant eye to defeat it! Or better yet, have the Turtles control the Turtle Blimp and they can fly around and fight it that way!!

Despite everything I’ve talked about, I think this video from Dorkly says it all…


So what do you think? Are you going to search high and low for this game? Does this make you want to play the other fantastic games in the series like Turtles in Time!?!? Did the new Turtles movie destroy your childhood as well? Sound off in the comments below!

I never thought it would happen but here we are…my next post is the FINAL ENTRY OF THE ADAMUS PRIME VIDEO GAME QUEST!!! I listed this title at number one not only because it is considered one of the greatest SNES games ever, but because much like the purpose of this entire QUEST, it serves as a link to my past…


Adamus Prime

Prime Thumbs up


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