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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game (NES) artwork

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game (NES) review


"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game is a sequel to an NES platformer called...Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (shocker.) While some people may have warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia when thinking of the original TMNT, I'll be honest with you: I hate it. Too many cheap challenges, awkward controls, too many cheap challenges, too many cheap challenges...let's just say that the game is a bit frustrating. "



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game is a sequel to an NES platformer called...Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (shocker.) While some people may have warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia when thinking of the original TMNT, I'll be honest with you: I hate it. Too many cheap challenges, awkward controls, too many cheap challenges, too many cheap challenges...let's just say that the game is a bit frustrating.

It's evident that Konami thought the same thing, as TMNT2 is a complete departure from the first game. Where the original TMNT was a side-scrolling platformer, TMNT2 is a port of the classic 1988 arcade game (also called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--confused yet?), a memorable beat-'em-up starring everyone's favorite half-shell heroes. The gamble paid off: TMNT2 is a far better game than its predecessor, though still not an especially good one.

There is a problem which pervades pretty much every beat-'em-up ever made: this is, by nature, a highly repetitive genre. You battle similar enemies many times over without much variation in the level design, utilizing a very small arsenal of moves. TMNT2 does not escape this flaw; if anything, it embraces it. To call TMNT2 repetitive would be an understatement.

At the beginning of the game, you're offered to play as classic turtle Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, or Donatello. There's not a whole lot of difference between the four, and as such, the character you choose is largely a matter of who your favorite character from the cartoon was. Each turtle has only three moves in their repertoire. And one of those moves, your basic B attack, is virtually useless.

Therefore, you're basically limited to two attacks per character, and since they're all the same, there's really only two attacks period: your jump kick, and your super attack. The jump kick is by far the more oft-used of the two, allowing a turtle to strike an enemy, quickly leap away from any counterattacks, and then jump kick the same enemy again from the opposite direction. Most of the bad guys can't really keep up with this attack, so you're basically free to jump and press the B button over and over again for the entire 45 minutes it takes you to beat the game. The super attack, which is accomplished by pressing A and B simultaneously, wipes out any foot soldiers in one hit, but leaves you much more vulnerable to attack than the jump kick. So TMNT2's gameplay is basically jump kick, turn, jump kick, turn, onto next level, jump kick, turn (x5000), end credits. The charade becomes old by the end of the second level.

And therein lies the big problem with TMNT2: the game wears out its welcome long before you reach its end. There are only about six different types of enemies throughout the entire game; bashing the same foot soldiers over and over again becomes tiresome in a hurry. Even during the last level, you're still beating up the same purple henchmen that you were whooping at the beginning of the game, giving one an uncomfortable feeling that the background is the only thing that really changes from level to level. At least the music is pleasant.

Without a doubt, the highlights of TMNT2 are the boss battles. These fights give the game some truly tense moments, because in a brilliant twist, the bad guys starts to glow bright orange whenever they're low on energy. Since you're probably also running out of health by the end of any boss battle, the brawls soon become a kamikaze effort to lay the smackdown on the big guy before he can kill you. Just try to tell me that your hands don't sweat when Krang starts blinking after five minutes of fighting him. Just try.

While it's great that TMNT2 eschews the blood-boiling difficulty of the original game, it unfortunately trades that off for another setback: boredom. The game is competently designed, but gameplay that so thinly relies on repeating the same challenges over and over again simply cannot hold the player's interest for long. That's not to say it's bad; hell, I might even say it's worth playing through if you're looking for a bit of fun but don't want to think. I simply wish that there were more to the game; as it is, the game becomes dull and predictable very quickly. The best thing I can say about it is that it's a lot better than the first game...though pretty much every game out there is. A nostalgic NES romp, but not a whole lot beyond that.

Rating: 5/10

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Featured community review by phediuk (July 13, 2006)

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