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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (NES) artwork

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (NES) review

"What to do when Shredder calls you out."

Tournament Fighters on the NES is quite a gem of its own. Even if its powered by 8-bits in contrast to the Genesis and SNES entries, it still manages to give you exciting one on one fighting matches and its not without its features that makes it distinct from other fighters as well. Coming out in the last legs of the NES life, Tournament Fighters is one of those last games that pronounce the system's swan song into gaming, and a good one at that.

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Compared to its SNES entry, there aren't as many fighters to choose from, very few stages to fight on, and sprites are quite small, but the graphics are pretty well designed, having a high amount of detail on said few backgrounds and the fighting sprites have a lot of variety on their movements and attack sets. The voice samples are grainy but quite distinguishable and the music is pretty engaging, along with its sound effects of special moves and the like.

Gameplay consists of two out of three bouts against each fighter, all taking place in one of 4 stages within the game. Each character have their own set of moves, some of them borrowed from early entries on the NES series such as Raphael's corkscrew attack and Mike's "mule kick" assault. The turtles themselves fight bare handed, setting away their trademark weapons for fists and kicks. Along with their own set of moves, a floating balloon carrying an orb passes by during a match, on which any character can grab it and use as a projectile against each other. In addition to this you can also dash towards your opponent. Besides matches fought with other characters, there are Bonus Stages which add to your high score rank. The game suffers from some flickering that occurs ever so often as well, making it hard to see your character during game play but controls are highly responsive despite this.

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Settings on this title are pretty basic bare bone ones, although you can choose its speed from normal to turbo, which in my opinion is a good way to add re-playability once you gotten acquainted with set gameplay and wish on having more challenging matches. Besides this there is a Tournament Option which allows up to 4 players to participate on. It is quite a small number but given the amount of characters on the game it makes sense. There is also a VS mode where you can fight against another human player or the CPU.

The story is very bland at best; Shredder sends a challenge to the teen turtles to see who is the strongest. They comply of course, bringing along Casey Jones and Hothead, leaving Shredder as the sole fighter antagonist of the bunch. However Story Mode is limited only to the original 4 turtles and the rest of the characters are only available through the game's other modes.

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Tournament Fighters is a very short game, which contributes as a negative. Would had been nice if more characters had been added for prolonged play, although most of said game is pretty well done, and you actually get a kick on fighting an 8-bit game with responsive controls. The game also adds characters not featured on the SNES game, which is also another reason on adding this to your collection of fighting games, even though a physical copy is quite expensive in the likes of Amazon.


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Community review by CptRetroBlue (May 31, 2019)

Cpt. Retro likes old school gaming the most and grew up playing Arcade games in Mexico. He also loves talking about retrogaming.

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