TMNT III: The Manhattan Project


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


tmnt31nes.png (3341 bytes)Released at nearly the same time as the fourth sequel on the Super NES, this somewhat overshadowed NES entry is actually the best of the trilogy. TMNT: The Manhattan Project fixes the problems that plagued The Arcade Game, while offering tighter gameplay and a fair challenge. It does a nice job of pushing the hardware too.

The formula is still the same. Players take out robotic versions of the Foot Clan through the stages, and then take on a boss. This is definitely a kinder, gentler version of the Turtles, especially compared to the darker edge of the original. Many of the bosses come from late in the toy line and comics. Their style is definitely more kid-friendly.

tmnt32nes.png (3757 bytes)There's been a slight overhaul to the graphics. The Turtles themselves are bigger, and the enemy sports better detailing. The stages also represent the best of the late generation titles. The number of sprites on screen in certain sections is incredible even if it slows down tremendously when trying to push them all at once.

That doesn't matter if the hit detection is still thrown off though. Thankfully, aside from a few missed blows that seem random, every press of the attack button should result in a hit. The varied enemies take away from the usual feelings of repetitiveness, and make an actual effort to punch the player (or toss sand in their face, slash them with a sword, etc.).

While the four title characters don't differ greatly, each has their own new special move to deal out significant damage. That's all that separates them. A new throw move lets them toss an enemy over their back using their weapons, and also cause damage to another foe if nearby. It's wonderfully done so that it's simple to do and satisfying.

tmnt34nes.png (5119 bytes)A few stages look too familiar (the bridge and city for example) and if you're a fan of the past games, don't be surprised if you think you've fought in the same area previously. If bosses are returning, they offer up some new attacks as well. Their patterns are classic for a beat-em-up, and the challenge level is set perfectly. For first timers though, a little extra health scattered around couldn't hurt.

Rather obviously, a full on translation of an arcade game is the preferred way to experience this series, and on the SNES, that's what you'll have. That's in no way discrediting to this third TMNT entry on the NES though. Given the hardware, this beat-em-up does everything right. It nails the target audience and plays great for everyone else too.


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Last updated: Saturday, December 10, 2005 05:36 PM