Saturday, April 17, 2010

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (1990, Ultra, NES)

The first Turtles game for the NES was quite disappointing. It was annoyingly difficult, the licence was almost completely wasted, and the ending was a total bomb. I had high hopes for it's sequel, which is a port of my favorite arcade game, which I haven't really seen outside of Chuck E Cheezes, so having a home version would be nice. But when I played it, I had mixed thoughts. It was better than the first game, but only barely. As a port of the arcade, it was a pretty big letdown.

The plot for the NES version is this; Shredder survived his defeat at the hands of the Turtles, and wants revenge. So, he kidnaps April O'Neil (Again?!?) and Master Splinter, regroups his robotic Foot army, and hires two intergalactic bounty hunters (more on that later). So it's up to the Turtles to rescue their friends and defeat Shredder once and for all (heh).

The game is simple; move right and beat the snot out of all that stand before you. You have two attacks; your basic weapon attack and a special move executed by pressing both buttons at the same time. Your most common enemies are of course Robot Foot soldiers which either take you on with their fists, or a array of other weapons. These guys typically go down with two hits, but that's not always the case. Unlike the original NES game, TMNT II has 2-Player co-op. This is a neat feature in theory, but the flicker and slowdown are so bad that your better off playing by yourself.

The levels you fight through are varied enough. The first stage even takes place inside a burning building! You go through the streets of New York, the sewers of New York, the freeway, and of course, the infamous Technodrome. But included in the NES version (at Nintendo's request, apparently) are two new levels; a frozen Central Park and a Japanese castle. Both have two new bosses; Tora, a mutant, bitch-slapping polar bear, and Shogun, a weird alien with a big spear. Normally I would applaud a arcade port for including new levels and bosses, but I can't with a clear conscience because these new features, quite frankly, are pretty mediocre (aside from the music).

Another big issue is the collision detection. When you hit a enemy, they snap into a animation that reflects that you hit said enemy, right? Well, you cannot hit the enemy again until they snap out of this animation. In layman's terms; you can't perform combos! This makes the combat very uninteresting, and almost breaks the game.

But to the game's credit, it is still pretty fun to thrash hordes of Foot Soldiers, and as glitchy as it is, the co-op is still damn fun! TMNT II looks pretty good, but I noticed something that I found pretty shameful; there are Pizza Hut ads all over the place, hell, the game even comes with a coupon for a Pizza from the restaurant! The Turtles like pizza, I know, but it's still silly!

Unlike the first game, the music is really good. Most of the songs are renditions of the TMNT theme (which is awesome) but they are good remixes. The snow level is probably my favorite.

TMNT II is kind of a mixed bag for me. The 2-Player is slow and bug-ridden, and the inability to do combos make the game pretty much so-so, but the decent graphics and awesome music keep me playing, not to mention that I'm a big fan of the TMNT franchise. So I think TMNT II is a okay game, very good for beat 'em up fans, and for Ninja Turtles fans, but for all casual fans and retro gamers this game will be mediocre for you.

+ Pretty visuals.
+ Good tunes.
+ Co-op in a beat 'em up is always a good thing.

- Glitchy Co-op in a beat 'em up is always a bad thing.
- You can't do combos!
- Pizza Hut ads are kind of...odd.

OVERALL: 6.5 out of 10

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