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July 7, 2008 - Matt Phillips
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has always been one of my favorite cartoons. As a video game property its success is nearly unrivaled. Very few video games based on a cartoon series have been as well done as the turtles games. From the Gamecube to the NES and X-Box 360 to GameBoy, if you play games there is a Turtles game out there for you.

Many people rate Turtles in Time for the Super Nintendo as the best of the TMNT game series. That place is well deserved, it takes the arcade style game and totally perfects it; however, the first TMNT game holds a very special place for me. This was the first game for the NES that I owned aside from the Mario/Duck Hunt game that came with the system. I was a huge Turtles fan and I spent hours upon hours playing this game.

The difficulty level of this game combined with the inability to save the game really turns people off to it. It has received a number of bad reviews by other gamers. I like this game despite its quirks. This game is completely different than all other TMNT games. It begins with an overworld with an aerial view (like Legend of Zelda), but when your turtle enters a building or sewer it becomes a side scroller. During gameplay, you can choose which turtle you want to be. Each turtle has his own life bar, giving you essentially 4 “lives”. The graphics are crisp and not cartoony. It is much grittier than the other TMNT games of its time. The turtles can each carry one projectile weapon at a time.

The game is very difficult. Many people don’t make it past the second level before giving up. This level consists of a short side scrolling level followed by an underwater level. The goal is to defuse bombs in a given time period while avoiding obstacles like electric seaweed and energy beams. The reward for this level is a cinema scene where the turtles find Shredder has kidnapped Splinter. This has become my favorite level of the game.

The next level features the Turtle Van. The overworld lets you enter and exit the famous vehicle and you can run down Foot Clan ninjas and shoot missiles at oncoming enemies. As you progress the already hard game becomes impossible. Inside the Tecnodrome the enemies are formidable. If you have the time to power up your turtles with scrolls, stars and boomerangs you have a chance.

I never beat the game, I succumbed to utter frustration, lost inside the tecnodrome after three or four hours of continuous play. Later, after I stopped playing TMNT in favor of Super Mario Bros. 3, I got a Game Atlas from Nintendo Power. I found where in the game I last died, two screens away from the Shredder! Even though I never finished the game, it remains one of my all time favorite games.


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