Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade game)
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
Image Works (home computers)
Ubisoft (Xbox Live Arcade)
|Composer(s)||Mutsuhiko Izumi (arcade)|
Miki Higashino (arcade)
Kozo Nakamura (arcade, NES)
Yasuhiko Manno (NES)
|Series||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 1989 arcade game released by Konami and based on the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series that began airing two years earlier. In the game, up to four players control the titular Ninja Turtles, fighting through various levels to defeat the turtles' enemies, including the Shredder, Krang and the Foot Clan. Released during a high point in popularity for the Ninja Turtles franchise, the arcade game was well received and versions for various home systems soon followed, including the Nintendo Entertainment System. A sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, was released in 1991.
The player chooses from one of the four Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. Depending on the version of the game, the characters are either chosen via an in-game select screen or based on which coin slot the player placed their credit into. After Shredder kidnaps the Turtles' friend April O'Neil and their mentor Splinter, they must give chase, save their comrades, and defeat the evil Shredder. Up to four players (two in some versions) can take control of any of the Turtles. Donatello has slower attacks but a longer range, Michelangelo and Raphael have faster attacks but a shorter range, and Leonardo is a well-rounded Turtle with average range and speed.
The eight-way joystick controls the movements of the Turtle, the jump button makes them jump and the attack button makes them hit in front of them using their weapon. The Turtles can also perform special moves, including throwing Foot soldiers overhead and performing a special attack by pressing the jump and attack buttons; Raphael rolls along the ground and finishes with a kick, while the other Turtles do a sweeping jump attack with their weapons. The Turtles can also spring off the wall in certain areas. Enemies can be defeated more quickly by slamming them into walls or solid objects. Many objects such as traffic cones, parking meters, fire hydrants and exploding oil drums can be hit or damaged with attacks in order to help defeat nearby enemies. In the attract mode, the game shows the first part of the cartoon opening, along with a portion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song.
Most of the enemies the Turtles face are the Foot Soldiers, all color-coded to indicate their attack patterns and weapon of choices. Some enemies, such as the standard purple-clad Foot Soldiers and Roadkill Rodney robots, have the ability to restrain the Turtles' mobility and drain their health, leaving the player open to attack for other enemies. The bosses in the game include Rocksteady and Bebop (individually at first in that order, and later the two of them together), Baxter Stockman, Granitor, General Traag, Krang, and Shredder himself.
The arcade game was distributed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in North America and Oceania, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Europe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Kame Ninja[a] in Japan. The game was released primarily as a dedicated four-player cabinet in all regions except Japan, where it was sold as a 2-player conversion kit. 2-player conversion kits of the game were released in other regions, serving as less expensive alternatives to 4-player cabinets.
Ports to home systems
The game was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. This conversion was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game in order to avoid confusion with the previous NES game based on the franchise. The Japanese Famicom version was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, without a number nor a subtitle, due to the fact that first NES game was localized in Japan under a different title.
This version includes two new levels (the first part of Scene 3 and all of Scene 6), which feature new enemy characters, including two new bosses created specifically for the NES port: Tora (a Polar Bear-like "blizzard beast") and Shogun (a robotic samurai). Most of the original stages from the arcade version were extended as well and the second half of Scene 3, the parking garage stage, replaces the arcade version's end battle with Bebop and Rocksteady with a battle against the mutated fly form of Baxter Stockman. The NES port appeared in Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 arcade system. This version of the game was once slated for release on the Wii Virtual Console, but was canceled.
The NES version featured notable product placement advertising: Pizza Hut logos. The rear cover of the instruction manual provided a coupon for the restaurant, with an expiration date of December 31, 1991.
Computer ports of the arcade game were released by Image Works and ported by Probe Software in 1991 for the ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC and Commodore 64. The title was changed to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: The Coin Op in the European versions, reflecting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV series)#International of the 1987 TV series in certain regions at the time.
An emulated version of the arcade game is included as a hidden bonus game in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, but with altered music and most of the voice clips edited out. The game is unlocked by finding an antique in Stage 9-1; the antique turns out to be the original arcade machine.
An Xbox Live Arcade version of the game was released under the name TMNT 1989 Classic Arcade on March 14, 2007, published by Ubisoft and ported by Digital Eclipse. The game was priced at 400 Microsoft Points. Like other classic arcade games on the Xbox 360 platform, portions of the original arcade game were emulated with network code and other new features added. Players could earn achievements as well as play 2-4 player co-op (both online and offline). Unlike the unlockable in Battle Nexus, this rerelease retains the music and voices of the 1989 arcade game. This version was delisted in June 2011 and is no longer available for purchase.
In 2019, the game was rereleased as a replica arcade cabinet for home use by manufacturer Arcade1Up. The reissue is nearly identical to the original, however there are a few changes; the opening is performed by a different artist, players do not need to insert quarters to play, and Konami's name on the arcade marquee is replaced by Nickelodeon's.
In the United States, the game topped the RePlay upright arcade cabinet charts for the first nine months of 1990, from January to September. In Japan, Game Machine listed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on their September 1, 1990 issue as being the fourth most-successful table arcade cabinet unit of the month.
British gaming magazine The One reviewed the home computer versions (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS) of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles under the British title, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, calling it "a pretty poor interpretation of a pretty poor yet popular subject. Every one of the levels is too easy to guarantee more than a week's interest, particularly because the opponents' intelligence is so predictable and your own moves so limited." The One criticises Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles scrolling, stating that the "Music and sound effects are jolly enough, but the cartoon-style graphics are let down by slow and jerky scrolling." The One concludes by stating that the game "lacks depth and imagination".
Zzap! reported on the game after it appeared at Amusement Trades Exhibition International, calling it a "great coin-op which is best in four player mode." Time's Jared Newman named to his list of "14 Important Arcade Games Not Available for iPhone or iPad", citing the game's pioneering 4-player simultaneous play.
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