Video Game Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)

(This game review is brought to you by Pizza Hut.  Pizza Hut: Makin' it great!)

Childhood obesity is totally tubular!

After the success of Konami's superb TMNT arcade game in 1989, the company was quick to right the wrongs of the first Turtles NES release.  So, in 1990, Ultra Games (a Konami publisher) ported the arcade game to the NES and dubbed it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game.  Just so you know, I'm old...so I remember when the arcade game was wheeled into restaurants and Wal-Marts everywhere.  I remember that there were practically lines out the door for that machine.

I swear, the lines felt this long.

And speaking of the cabinet, the artwork on the cabinet really popped and grabbed your attention.   The four teens were there, but so was April O'Neil, decked out in her trademark banana-colored jumpsuit.

I...may have molested the cabinet...

So, with the long lines and eye-catching cabinet graphics, was the game any good?  Were they able to port the same success over to the NES?  Was it just another cash-grab at the expense of the white-hot Ninja Turtles?  Is anybody listening to me?

Story:  Second verse, same as the first!  The story for TMNT II is basically the same story as the first game.  Again, April O'Neil is taken hostage and the Turtles must battle an army of Foot Soldiers and villain bosses to retrieve her.  Once she is rescued, Splinter is kidnapped after the, ahem, Party Van wrecks off of a bridge. 

I guarantee you that April was driving.

After which, the Turtles must battle...oh you get the point...  Maybe if the Ninja Turtles used lethal force against their enemies, their friend and their master wouldn't get taken...

"What I do have are a very particular set of skills..."

Graphics: Recognizable enemies?  Check.  Clear backgrounds, surroundings and pathways?  Check.  Bright, vivid colors?  Check?  This sequel looks graphically enhanced when compared to its predecessor.  Thankfully, the glitchy flickering that was present in the first game is much less frequent here in II.  I thought it was quite a nice touch that just about everything in the game that gets defeated, Foot Soldiers included, explodes.  If you are paying attention to the background, you will see that the Pizza Hut logo is scattered about several times throughout the game.  This marks one of the first times a major company used advertisements within a video game.

At least they didn't put the logo on their shells...

Control & Gameplay: TMNT II is one of the best side-scrolling beat-em-ups of all time, let alone on the NES.  At the game's start, you are able to choose a Turtle to represent.  You are allotted an amount of lives, which you are able to use immediately after losing all health.  Each Turtle has their signature weapon and, along with standard attacks, are able to do jump-kicks and jump-attacks with their weapon.  The jump attack is especially powerful is this game because it allows the player to give out damage to low-level enemies without being vulnerable to their assault.  The levels are "on-rails," so there are no unnecessary areas to explore, as there were in the first game.  Each end level boss has only a few tricks up their sleeve, so defeating them is a matter of moving around, as opposed to standing right in front of them.  One new feature this game boasts is the "environmental weapon"  Items such as parking meters and orange cones can be hit in the direction of your enemy to cause damage.  Oil drums can also be hit which causes them to explode after a few seconds.

You can also be run over by Foot Soldiers in a pimped-out Chevy.

Sound:  The score for this game was really beefed up, as each level had its own song.  Not only are the songs longer this time, but the adrenaline factor was pumped up for each song as well.

Krang was jammin' out, doing David Lee Roth kicks, when Don accidentally caught one in the balls.

 
Fun Factor:  This game is loads of fun, but is most fun when played with a friend.  If you entertain hopes of beating this game, you'd better dig out the second controller.  The levels are balanced, the difficulty is modest, and the colors and sounds are crisp.  TMNT II is a well-rounded NES game and is more than worth its weight in pizza!

 

The Verdict:  out of

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