TMNT: Tournament Fighters


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

Tournament Fighters was released on 3 separate consoles, all renditions were entirely different. The NES version is the middle of the road version, just a notch above the awful Genesis game. Still, there are loads of problems with this game as a fighter, some caused by the hardware, others by the programming choices.

This game was not only the final Turtles game for the NES, but the final Konami game for the classic system as well. With all the years of programming the system, Konami pulled out all the stops making this one seem as close to a 16-bt game as possible in the area of game variations. The large selection of modes include a story game (which you can select only from the four Turtles), one-on-one versus against either the computer or a human opponent, and a tournament mode. The options add in adjustments to the timer and difficulty.

Seven characters have been included in the game, a small amount made even smaller since four of them are the title characters. The other three are Casey Jones, Shredder, and the little known Hothead. The most baffling decision was the complete removal of the Turtles trademark weapons, forcing them to fight with only their hands and feet. This makes them almost exactly alike with only the special moves separating them. Casey Jones has the benefit of a golf club, and is really the only character with a weapon.

The NES has a serious lack of buttons for a true fighting game, but considering the limitation, it works out well. Special moves for the Turtles are almost all the same. Try tapping toward, toward, A or B and watch the special moves fly. The other characters have responsive half-circle and charge motions. During the matches some sort of flying thing with Splinters face on it will drop a red ball. Once picked up, the characters have access to a devastating special move that will take a large amount of energy from your opponent. The bouts have a decent speed when the game is set to turbo but is far too slow otherwise. There is a baffling lack of combos to be had, a two-hitter being the highlight.

Graphically, this game is superb. The four backgrounds feature layers of parallax and the colors are bright. The Turtles are almost entirely green, save for their bandanna and pads. The other 3 characters look great, especially Hothead who is a very large, well animated sprite. There are some major flicker issues at times, but these hardly detract from one of the better looking games on the console.

As with any fighter, there is some voice work, though it's mostly unintelligible. The Turtles all sound alike and it sounds like Casey Jones has the same voice as well. Sound effects are sparse but serviceable. A few of the music tracks are nice, but most seem to be included to have something in the background during the fights.

The NES was never known for it's fighting games, released long before the genre really caught on. This is the best you'll probably do on the system if your looking for some one-on-one fighting action. The baffling deletion of the weapons is an unforgivable oversight, but the talented group over at Konami made this one probably the best it could be. Still, you'll be much better over on the Super NES where the best version of this game lies.


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Last updated: Sunday, June 13, 2004 08:22 AM