Retro Profile: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

by Nicholas Roussos

If you were anything like me as a kid, you spent hours of your childhood contemplating the benefits versus the drawbacks of being mutantly transformed into a giant turtle. I was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan. I watched the cartoon, I loved the movie, and the arcade game was superb. Needless to say, when they released TMNT for the NES, I bought it up faster than a group of hungry kids could put away pizza.

With a combination of an overworld map mode and a side-scrolling action mode, the first thing you will notice about TMNT is that it is nothing like the arcade game. They released that game for the NES later and aptly named it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Arcade Game. This TMNT game, unlike the sequel, follows a long line of taking good franchises and turning them into bad games. The graphics are shoddy, and the gameplay is tedious.

I can recall playing the game over and over again in hopes that it would become more like the arcade. It never did, and this TMNT fails to draw you in. In stark difference to the rest of the franchise, this game simply isn’t fun.

Stay or Play? Bad game tranformations of popular franchises is unfortunately one of the lesser remembered aspects of retro gaming. I don’t care to relive the mistakes of the past, nor do I expect you too. Unless you have an unusual TMNT fetish, stay away for sure.