Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NES, 1992)

Luckily, this one has nothing at all to do with the third Turtles movie. As far as I know, that awful piece of dreck never actually got a video game adaptation. The movie's four fans must have been disappointed.

We get the show intro. Beneath the pale moonlight... an exploding sewer vent! TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURRR-TLES! TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURRRR-TLES!


They're really well-balanced in this one. Raphael strikes fastest but has the shortest range; Donatello strikes slowest but has the longest range. Leonardo is balanced and averaged-out, making him good for beginners. And Michaelangelo gets laid the most often.

Wait, what are the turtles doing on a beach on Florida? For one thing, wouldn't the sun roast them? For another thing, isn't this a bit more out in the open than usual for these guys? Whatever happened to rocking the town without being seen?

Breaking News: Manhattan (apparently just Lower Manhattan) has been raised into the sky somehow by the evil Foot Clan. Age of Ultron totally ripped this off!

Wait a second... what kind of anti-gravity technology did they develop to DO this? Think of the kind of marvels we could achieve with this technology.

Now we get the usual April kidnapping. Why doesn't she invest in some pepper spray? Heck, get a .357 magnum and Shredder will probably f**** right off.

The game begins with a trek down the beach, where you repeatedly punch ninjas in their groins. Since this is Florida, the beach is presumably also crawling with The Old.

These aren't the Foot Clan of the previous game! These rat bastards CHEAT! They throw sand in Raph's eyes. Where's the ref dammit!

The stage ends with a battle against Rocksteady. He's a fairly easy fight, which emphasizes one thing about this game right out of the gate: It's much easier than the previous game. Plays mostly the same way, as you walk in one direction and beat up enemies Final Fight style.

Stage 2 is RAD TO THE MAX SURFING. This is a pretty relaxing way to spend an after-


After boarding the top of a submarine, our heroes have to battle...who the hell is this? It isn't Bebop. Let me refer to my trusted Nintendo Power Volume 33.

Okay, looks like this guy is named Groundchuck, and he's... a bull. Is this guy from the show? Don't recall ever seeing him anywhere.

He swings some mean pipe, and when that happens it's best to back off. I've noticed that the special attacks that the turtles have tend to take off a lot of boss health, so you can often slug it out with them and emerge victorious.

Next thing we know, Leonardo gets flattened by a bunch of wrecking balls. It was an unpleasant scene, for sure. Miley Cyrus was nude on one of them.

These rock soldiers from Dimension-X have always been intriguing to me. I stopped watching the show for the most part by the time they showed up; after they displaced the Foot Clan as the primary antagonists I often wondered how things ended up.

Here's Slash, one of the cooler villains from the show. He's basically an evil version of a ninja turtle, and his spiked shell looks awesome. Especially in the age of Bowser and Koopalings capturing our imaginations. He also swings a badass sword. I'm a fan of this guy.

Oh, HERE'S Bebop. He's equipped with a ball and chain swinging around his head, which is not only unique... it also totally prevents my jump kicks. I've noticed that a lot of the bosses in this game have nasty air-defenses. It's much more difficult to jump kick everything to death like you could in the previous game. Forces you to use some strategy, yet on the other hand the bosses take waaaaaay fewer hits than they did in the previous game. So it balances out.

Apparently British Petroleum is now a primary financier of the Foot Clan, as they're showing up armed with barrels of oil. And here I thought working for Krang was the lowest they'd get...

Our heroes finally arrive back in NYC, and here's Dirtbag. He's some sort of miner rat. I don't remember this guy from the show either, but I think he actually did exist somewhere. Not so sure about that Groundchuck dude.

Down in the sewers, the foot clan have now mastered the art of utilizing terrifying robotic beasts to do their fighting. Between this and the anti-gravity technology, the Foot Clan is actually ahead of every country on Earth.

Next up is the CAJUN CROCODILE, Leatherhead. Another particularly cool villain from the show. This universe is adept at being able to take animal-villains and make them interesting and cool. How? By simply introducing... The Ooze. This mysterious green liquid transforms animals into super-powerful mutants, and after a while you just end up wondering what would happen if it spilled on particular things.

After beating up all of these supervillains, our heroes arrive at the technodrome. Well, hero. Since I'm doing single-player, we only see one turtle here. The other three must be off having pizza and high-fiving.

Inside, we see a clearly T2-inspired scene with robotic foot ninjas being produced and readied for battle. So these goons the player has been mass-murdering were just robots all along! ...don't worry, parents.

Secret of the Ooze, the second movie, comes into play for this one. Here's Rhazar, one of the big villains of that movie. He's sorta a poor man's Bebop, and doesn't really say much. Same deal here, and he gets beaten surprisingly easily. Turns out he's just a miniboss for the real stage boss...


Our hero fires back with spin attacks... lots of spin attacks. This fight isn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. Judicious use of your special attacks is the way to go, even though they drain your health slowly. ProTip: You can dish them out even when you're at one health, at no penalty.

The Turtles now corner April and begin doing that Night at the Roxbury thing where they bounce her off their chests.

Now that April is saved (and very dizzy, yet fully satisfied), our heroes ride an elevator. It's pretty much the most unsafe elevator ever. No walls, no security railing, and ninjas continually leap down from somewhere to attack. Still way less dangerous than actual New York in 2022.

On a rooftop, our hero encounters a neon Foot Clan sign and some of those Stone Warriors. This must be the Foot Tower, which explains why it's under construction (and full of ninjas).

I get too close to the edge of the screen and get EATEN ALIVE BY A SNAPPING TURTLE

This is Tokka, Rhazar's partner in crime. He steals Slash's heat by having a spiked shell. Flying kicks actually do well against him, despite the spikes.

I'm not really a fan of the Secret of the Ooze villains, but I suppose Tokka is alright. Spiked shells always add a huge amount of cool factor. He's much quicker (and smarter, apparently, with his shield-usage) here than he is in the movie.

Next thing we know, our heroes get abducted by aliens.

Ya know, X-Files (and perhaps aliens in general) hadn't really caught on yet in 1992. Turtles (the creature), however, were more popular than ever. Between Mario and TMNT, they were all over our media. In the real world, turtles were getting laid like crazy.

Here's Krang, and he's annoying as usual. For some reason this guy takes a zillion hits to beat in every game that he shows up in. Well... maybe like 60. Point is, it's a lot of damage, and the fight just drones on and on. Take note of the laser-door there, because it shows up in 16-bit in the next game.

The final boss is none other than SUPER SHREDDER. This mutant version of OG Shredder is a true badass, making his game debut here just like the other Secret of the Ooze additions.

Super Shredder (played by none other than "Big Daddy Cool" Kevin Nash) didn't do much of anything in the movie. Here, he opens a total can of whoop-ass on Leonardo. This also explains why Regular Shredder was just a mid-point boss in the game. Lots of special attack spamming is the key to victory here.

Putting to rest any notions that they motion-captured Kevin Nash for this game, Super Shredder dishes out... a relatively athletic move!

"Congratulations!"? Why not "Cowabunga!"?

That concludes the final game in this series on the NES. ...I think. It's definitely the final numbered entry. The series would make the jump to the newfangled Super NES inside of the same calendar year. Cowabunga indeed.

Other TMNT Posts


  1. Well, considering how exposed they were while rocking the town without being seem, I think at this point they just said screw it.

    The Foot Clan has alien technology, so them being ahead of Earth is somewhat logical. Their inability to take over the planet is just pure incompetence.

    I love getting down to one health and seeing how far I can get with special attack spam.

    This is such a great game. Turtles IV is better of course, but this game did a few things even the arcade version of Turtles in Time didn't do like Super Shredder (which was put in the SNES version). It doesn't have /all/ of the crazy great stuff you can do in IV, but adding the damage-taking special moves and the unique "toss them over the head for insta-kill" attacks made a big difference.

  2. It is fun to think of real-world consequences of fantasy world stuff. Like yesterday Jean and I saw the Beauty and the Beast musical, and afterward I was wondering what the economic consequences of dropping an entire castle of people from a bygone era back into human society would be. Since the prince is a prince how would he re-establish political control? Killing Gaston was a great way for him to build the heat to do that at least. Erm, I digress.

    It's cool the bosses can now use air defenses. Didn't think they'd think of that.

    Trying to wrap my mind around Manhattan being floating in the sky and what that would mean for sewers, the economy, etc.

    This Night at the Roxbury reference made my day.

    Really enjoyed your story about turtles' zenith in popularity.

    This looks like a really solid action game. Pure fun. Need to know now though, how did you land Manhattan??

    1. The prince wouldn't have any political control at all, though if he could establish that he ruled a nation previously, he might be able to regain some political power after a lengthy court process. But only in a place like England or France.

      ...and only if his country still existed. The king of Prussia appearing in modern times would have no leeway over Vladimir Putin's Russia, and his best shot at taking over would be to try and foment an uprising of "New Prussia". Since pro-Prussia patriotism is fairly nonexistent after a few generations, it's doubtful people would rise up to reclaim their ancestral homeland.

      Someone doing the same thing in Iran (creating a new Persian Empire) would go over much better since a lot of Iranians still see themselves as Persia. The difference is that Iran was a name forced on them, not a natural evolution of the country.

      If this happened in England and a king of hundreds of years ago reappeared, he'd likely be able to stake some claim to the throne. The country hasn't changed identities over that time, really, and if he could prove his identity and that he never relinquished the throne before he fell into a wormhole, then the Queen might have to give him co-rulership or at least a position of power. It'd take a long court process though, and during that time scientists would be having a field day investigating how he got here.

      ...well, there's the premise for an interesting screenplay for a movie that is almost guaranteed to be bad unless the writer took it seriously.