Tuesday, June 21, 2022

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

Now this is more like it. A straight beat-em-up that is more fun to play in EVERY regard than the first game. Now that I've found an NES Turtles game that isn't sheer torture, I took way more screenshots than I probably should have. Let's get to it.

Select your turtle! This time you get that one turtle for the whole game rather than switching on the fly. I never really had a favorite turtle when I was a kid, but I think if it came down to it I'd go with Leo, so he's my choice.

We begin with a massive fire downtown! And April is trapped inside!

The first stage is an INFERNO MATCH~! as you beat up Foot Clan troops Final Fight style. Wait, what? I'm not fighting mosquitos and bats this time? What is this sorcery?

There are some scrolling issues again, but it isn't as bad as last time. Wait a minute... Pizza Hut? Is that product placement I see? Those sly bastards! So this is how they defeated Dominos in the 90's pizza war!

Here's April, who has a clear path between herself and the door. Unfortunately, she's a female game character in 1990, so she doesn't know what to do without a guy present. The door is already open! Just walk out!

A massive subterranean drill roars up through the floor, both surprising Leo and slightly arousing April. Out of it steps... Rocksteady! This time he gets first boss status!

Rocksteady attacks with his machine gun, but our hero fires back with flying kicks. Actually, flying kicks seem to be the way to go in this game. Just do flying kick after flying kick and you fare quite well.

After I dispatch Rocksteady, April gets kidnapped by Shredder. Look at him prance gaily away! Truly, Shredder is the fanciest of ninjas.

He takes a moment to flip Leo the bird shake his fist at our hero before floating away with his glorious cape. ...presumably. Either he had a big cushion waiting for his fall, or his cape is like that under-arm webbing that squirrels have so that when they fall from a great height they glide a little.

The next stage has, you guessed it, more beating up of ninjas. It occurs to me that this game is much better with a second player around. Two people beating up the foot clan in tandem? Truly, THIS is the Turtles game that kids of the era needed in their lives. Encouraging kids to be social while playing was cutting-edge for the time.

Looks like the bat-mobile got trashed and stripped for parts. Well, that's what happens when you leave it laying around in Detroit.

Speaking of guns, here's Bebop. America's most beloved warthog prefers small laser pistols rather than the machine gun that Rocksteady totes around.

...Rocksteady is way more bad-ass.

The next area is ::holds up a cross:: ...the sewer. It isn't as awful as the endless sewer of the first game, and I'm surprised to find that I can walk around in the water.

The big boss here is Baxter Stockman in his original human scientist form. This is an easy fight, since it's outright designed for the jump kicking that the player has likely gotten the hang of by now.

We get an ICONIC line at this point.

The next level takes us to what I presume is Central Park in the winter. Pretty nice NES visuals going on here. Seriously, this looked great back in the day.

It's a chill level, at least until the vicious snowmen show up. WTF is this?

...Pizza Hut product placement again? NO WONDER they squashed Papa John's in the battle for pizza supremacy! Genius!

A plow zips through and runs Leonardo over. Probably because they can't see through their own windows. Where was this plow when I was getting beaten down by snowmen?

Another massive subterranean drill pops up, heralding the arrival of the next boss. I...uh... I have no idea who this is. Maybe I didn't watch enough TMNT (I think I only saw like a quarter of the episodes). Whoever this guy is, he's the easiest boss in the game. His attacks are short-range, so jump kicking over his head damages him with little chance of being hit back.

Hey, this skyline sorta looks like Boston. There's the PS4-like Hancock Tower on the left.

Next up is a parking lot stage, as Pizza Hut Presents TMNT2: The Arcade Game continues.

Leonardo Vs. Fly Baxter! Brought to you by Pizza Hut!

Oh man, I remember the Turtle Van. As a kid, I either had one of these for the action figures, or knew someone who did. I think it was the latter.

April plants one on Leonardo while he deals with his numerous concussions.

...wait, why is April blonde here? She's like that woman in Super Adventure Island whose hair color kept changing colors.

The next stage is a hoverboard level. It autoscrolls fast as you battle robotic helicopter-things and foot clan troops on similar hoverboards. This level is a particularly solid one.

The end result is the Turtle Van plowing through the side of the bridge. NO! NOT THE TURTLE VAN!

A bunch of those little mechanical hopper things make off with Splinter. No idea how these little buggers managed to subdue SPLINTER. Maybe they tased him first, Starrcade 98 style.

This leads to a fight with... not sure who this is. Looks like one of the Stone Soldiers from Dimension-X.

Stage six is some sort of dojo. It's weird and doesn't fit the rest of the game; it's also really difficult. I could have done without this stage. The worst part? These tiger things. MAN are they tedious to take down. They take so many hits that it started to feel like I was fighting Bebe's Kids enemies.

Editor's Note: This stage wasn't actually in the arcade version; it was added to the NES version. That's probably why it looks so different from the rest of the game up to now.

Boss of stage six is... The Phantom from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story! .....or something. I'd guess that maybe this guy is from the awful third Ninja Turtles movie.

Finally, the Technodrome. When you get to this point in a Turtles game, it makes all the sewer levels, slum levels, sewer levels, parking lot levels, and sewer levels worth it.

This is quite a well-timed full-heal pizza. Finding one of these while low-health is like finding an extra life. Speaking of lives, yes, I cheated and used the nine lives code. It's the only way to fly.

The final battle is three punishing fights in a row. First up is General Tragg. This guy is a real PITA to take down, since he can counterattack almost instantly. You have to get the timing down while jump-kicking endlessly.

Next fight is Krang, who takes like 60 hits to beat. Ya know, I really like this game, but these final battles are a little excessive, especially with their massive HP levels. Would have rather done two more stages and just had one boss at the end of each, personally.

Krang also has an instant counterattack, and his strikes do a lot of damage. Probably the hardest boss in the game. I'm no fan of Krang, and I think he stole all of Shredder's heat as the show went on. Whatta rat bastard.

Speaking of rats, I spotted the Rat King lurking in one of the levels. He ran me over with a sweet sports car. It happened too fast to get a shot of. I never got any kind of payback either.

As for the Krang fight... this is another flying kick fest. Liu Kang would dominate in this game.

After his robot body is disposed of, Krang flies off and gloats about it. Weird. That's the last we'll see of the little bastard in this game.

 "Fear Me!"

Next up is Shredder, seen here getting punched in the junk. Wait, two Shredders? That's right, Shredder has the Gemini Man power in this game. Only one of the two is real; the other is just a clone.

 Both have a horrible instant-death ray, but the clone version can be disabled by knocking off his helmet.

 All of that said, this fight actually isn't hard at all once you get the hang of it. Ideally you want to get the two Shredders separated and attack the real one against the wall.

The Technodrome explodes! With that, the game mercifully concludes. It got pretty rough later on with just one player. Now, get ready for the worst NES ending ever, which is saying a lot:

Putting aside the question of how anyone can be "vaporized to milkshake", way to completely rob me of my victory. Krang flying away cackling was bad enough, but now I get the most optimistic ending this side of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

So...yeah, that's The Arcade Game. Pretty rockin', this one. Next up is The Manhattan Project.



    That really does look like a giant PS4!

    Since they're rat-catchers Splinter is weak to them. Yeah. Made sense to me at the time.

    The snow level and the dojo level are unique to the NES game. I guess the original game wasn't long enough for a console release.

    I love how Krang is flailing around as the giant rocket punches you.

    Gotta try not to kill the clone though or he'll come back with a helmet!

  2. Great post. I remember all of this even though it was so long ago. The dojo cats were a pain, but there was some trick to easily beating them.

  3. This Turtles is so much fun. When Brayn, Jean, and I met up, we all played this game, with Brayn's bro as the ringer. It was tons of fun and yeah it's a great social experience!

    This burning house is so iconic. I've seen it so many times.

    You're right that jump-kicks are the way to go in this game. Especially since you walk so slow.

    I like the New York depicted in Turtles. It feels like they genuinely wanted a city feeling.

    That ending has the feeling this is right in the middle of the Turtles phenomenon and they know you want More Turtles.

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  5. The panda and samurai bosses were created for the NES port and AFAIK never appeared anywhere else, so don't feel bad that you don't recognize them.