Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade

Xbox Live Arcade

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


If you were a kid back in the early 90's and walked into an arcade, one thing was assured: Konami had you covered. You were likely surrounded by ridiculously loud G.I. Joe cabinets, The Simpsons were spouting off trademark witty humor in another, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine was screaming the trademark theme song. Rest assured, no matter which one you chose to drop your pocket full of quarters into, you'd be happy.

tmntarcade1360.jpg (104326 bytes)The TMNT games were almost always consistent with their high quality through the 16-bit era. This, the first, was a great start that was only eclipsed by later games in the series. You (and up to three friends in the four-player set-up) take control of the unique heroes and set off to rescue April O' Neal who's kidnapped at the end of the first level.

The game’s look was uncanny back in 1990 and it has aged, but only slightly. The characters are a bit on the small side, but there's quite a bit going on in the later levels to make up for it. Also, the animation is still to this day some of the best you'll see in an arcade game of this era. It’s definitely pixilated when scaled into HD on the 360, though that’s part of the appeal.

Game play is just a standard brawler, yet it has the proper feel and style to keep things fresh for the full game. Beating down the robotic Foot Clan never seems to get old thanks to the massive amount of animation. Watching them fly into walls with a resounding thud is simply a blast every time. The bosses are never too difficult making this one easily accessible for the younger set it's really geared for. It's a rare arcade game that has a perfect difficulty level.

On Xbox Live, lives are limited. Each player has 19 lives, usually just enough to see the defeat of Shredder in lag free four-player bliss. In single player, continues are infinite.

Changes to the title are minor. Graphics from the upcoming TMNT film now fill the selection screen. Likewise, menus and the sides of an unstretched screen also feature the new art style, which sadly doesn’t fit with the far more colorful game play. Sound emulation is off in spots, particularly the soundtrack in the first stage.

This is only the third home port of the arcade version for home consoles. A fondly remembered yet rather terrible NES version hit in 1991. A second was an attached bonus to a nearly unplayable Turtles title a few years back, and that port had changed music and missing voices.

These are the types of games that will simply live on, burned permanently into every gamer’s memory. As for now, 13 years later, TMNT stills holds it's own against the most recent games in this dying genre. To those who have kids, this is a great way to introduce them to the hobby, especially since the Turtles have recently made a comeback to Saturday mornings and theaters.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 09:19 PM