Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
Box Shot
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
Platform: NES
Publisher: Ultra
Designer: Ultra/Konami
Genre: Beat-em-up
Players: 2 (Simultaneous)
Published Date 1990
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

I remember back in the days of 1990, before the arcades were littered with innumerable fighting games. There was this Konami game called "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Myself, my brother Alan, and two total strangers would take on the roles of one of the four Ninja Turtles and use cooperation to fight Shredder and his baddies. And while the first NES TMNT game was it's own little bit, the second one is a translation of this arcade game. Instead of being an adventure-ish side scroller, it's now a beat-em-up vaguely similar to the Double Dragon troupe.

After a rather neat intro, you get to choose which of the four turtles you wish to play as. Then another little cinema scene shows up. The Channel 6 news building is on fire! You've got to rescue you pal, April O'Neil! When this level is completed, Shredder sprints April away and from that point on it's a wild goose chase to track down that tin-headed Freddy Krueger wanna-be.

The first thing that I noticed (well, other than the obvious graphic degradation) was that the game really didn't play much like the arcade game. In the coin-op, once you attack an enemy, they were stunned for second. With a few more slams of the attack button, they were down on the ground dead. Not here. Hit them once and they go flying back. Now, the weird thing here is that you have to wait a second before hitting them again. Why? For some reason, if you attack twice in succession, the second attack just goes right through the enemy, doing no damage. So, if you choose to do the normal slashing attack, the method is just pretty much hit, back off, hit again.

You can also jump kick, which can take down many enemies at once, but some enemies can simply hit you out of mid-air without any way to dodge it whatsoever. And finally, there's the jump n' slash method. By pressing A then B quickly, your turtle will jump up and swipe the enemy with his weapon. One hit will kill most foot soliders. But trust me, the game gets boring quick just doing this over and over and over...there's only three moves total! Plus there's almost no differentiation between the four turtles.

Bosses are another annoying aspect of the game. Familiar faces such as Rocksteady, Bebop, Baxter Stockman (before he got turned into a fly) and Krang will meet you at the end of the stages. Simply hitting them or using the jump n' slash just won't get you very far, as you'll get a hit or two in, then immediately get attacked, throwing you across the screen. So you have to resort to jump kicks. But like the foot soliders, the bosses often use attacks that stop your assault in mid-air, again sending you flying back with damage. It seems like the only good way to beat a boss is to keep jump kicking and hope you have enough health/lives that you can outlive him. The end battles with Krang and Shredder are just so annoying.

Now that I'm finished bashing in the game mechanics, I may as well move on with the rest of the game. Obviously, it had to be scaled down to two players as opposed to four. There is an overwhelming amount of flickering as it is, so two more turtles onscreen would only make it worse. There is a handful of levels ranging from the city streets to sewers to factories to...er...more city streets. Okay, so it does get a bit repetetive in some areas. The good news is that Konami added two extra levels in the game along with two new bosses...a snow filled region and a Japanese house. This is an interesting bonus for those that have played the arcade game.

There are a couple of nifty things in the game. Although the background graphics are generally boring, certain graphical effects (like the flames in the first level) look rather cool, plus seeing the Shredder on the TV screens in the second level is a neat addition as well. You can use parking meters and fire hydrants as weapons by hitting them and can even deflect the manhole covers that the foot soldiers throw at you. And while almost all of the bad guys in the game are foot soliders, at least there's a great big variety of them (normal karate ones, ones with swords, boomerangs, guns, and many more.) The rest of the graphics aren't too bad, although some of the bosses look bleh. The music's not bad, certainly a step up from the annoyance of the original NES game's music. The sound of hitting an enemy is really annoying though.

Overall, it's the play mechanics that really ruin this game. It gets annoying using the same three attacks with no real variety, plus the hit and run manuever gets old quick. There are a few interesting scenes (like the skateboarding level) but otherwise it's just too easy to lose interest as there's nothing really exciting ever going on. A very average conversion of a legendary arcade game.