Gameplay, Story and Value:
As a kid I’d take every chance I got to hit up the arcades, which in the 90’s were still quite popular, but already slowly phasing out. Given my low stock of parent-supplied quarters, I’d have to choose my games carefully. Fighters always got priority, especially Capcom’s, but it was impossible for me to resist the allure of crowded beat ’em ups for very long. Simpsons, X-men, and of course Ninja Turtles.
I loved this game, back in the arcades, so it’s a relief to see that the SNES port holds up really well! Controls are smooth and responsive, and everything flows together really nicely. Hit detection can be a little odd at times, which is often the case for these types of games, but for the most part it’s not an issue.
As expected, the game supports both single player and 2-player co-op. Some multitap support for four players would have been awesome, but I can’t really dock it for that. Also included is a fun little versus mode, which makes for a great way to relieve some frustrations after meeting your untimely end in the story mode.
The game spans a handful of levels, after a few of which you’ll find yourself being flung through time. Each stage has a fun and unique setting, often having you do things like ride surfboards through a sewer, launch enemies into the screen or ride hoverboards down a mode-7 highway, and each ends in a boss fight. The bosses are actually what I’d call the low point of this game for me, as there’s really not much in the way of variety when it comes to fighting them. Every boss is essentially “Hit them until your attacks stop stunning them, then jump away.”
Eventually you’ll burn through your continues either beating the game, or losing in the attempt. When that happens you’ll wish for a save system, passwords or stage select but there’s nothing of the sort. Admittedly this is to be expected of the genre, but it still would have been nice.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
Visually the game looks absolutely fantastic with its large, colorful sprites and detailed animation. Environments are all just as lively and fun to look at and the only knock I could possibly give the visuals is the (expected) lack of enemy variety. I mean there’s only so many colors you can make a foot soldier… A really nice feature is the ability to swap between the game’s anime (cartoon) or comic color pallets! The anime pallet is the one I played with, with its bright, high-contrast colors like from the 80’s cartoon. The darker, more muted tones of the comic pallet are just as cool though, so it’ll really come down to preference.
The music is all great and familiar to fans of the series, and while the sound effects are all satisfying its the multitude of voice samples that really shines here. Hearing the occasional quips from the turtles, along with the announcement of the upcoming level’s name, is a lot of fun.
I still don’t like beat ’em ups. No game I’ve played so far, this one included, has managed to really change my mind in that regard. That said, if I had to choose one game from the genre to put on my shelf, it would probably be this one… assuming it could take out River City Ransom for the spot.
I always had fun with this game in the arcades, and my wife and I had a ton of fun playing through it on the couch, it’s just a really fun game ESPECIALLY if you grew up with the franchise like I did.