How about another round of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Heroes in a half shell…etc.
So, who is your favorite ninja turtle? You know you have one, everybody does. If you are aged anywhere between 20 – 30 years old, then this was THE cartoon show for you. You watched it religiously, bought the action figures, and debated with your friends about who was the best ninja turtle. And like any self respecting cash cow franchise, it had its own video game series, which is our topic of discussion.
Unlike the typical rushed out licensed game, I have very fond memories of ninja turtles video games. The first Ninja Turtles game I played was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltles for NES (1989), and I don’t remember much of it other than it being Nintendo Hard.
However, the fond memories start with Ninja Turtles III: Manhattan Project on the NES (or Famicom, in my case). The game used the sidescrolling standard set by its predecessor (TMNT: The Arcade Game), and it blew me away. It was a faithful adaptation of the cartoon’s art style, featured most of the characters for the series, and had very tight gameplay.
The next big TMNT game after was Turtles in Time on the SNES, which was TMNT’s biggest hit in the video game industry. Unfortunately, as a Sega kid, I didn’t get to play Turtles in Time, but I got the next best thing: TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist, which featured the same style and gameplay as Turtles in Time, but with different level design. It was fascinating; the hack and slash combat was fun, the finishing moves were a blast to pull off, the level design and gameplay variations kept the player hooked, the bosses were a challenge (damn you, Baxter!) and the graphics were some of the best I had seen then.
TMNT: Tournament Fighters soon followed, and it did gain some popularity in its day. I was big on fighting games and loved the idea of a fighting game with TMNT characters. Yet, while did I enjoy Tournament Fighters, it didn’t make the impression on me that the previous games did. I had to wait for the next entry in the franchise to return the series to its sidescrolling glory.
But all of a sudden, Ninja Turtles didn’t matter anymore. Kids started playing with them shiny new FPSs and them fancy pants 3D games. TMNT had a new incarnation in television, but unfortunately the series didn’t make a successful transition to 3D video games, despite numerous efforts.
Yet I think there is still some potential in the series, and there might be great video game left within TMNT. I really believe AAA video game adaptation of TMNT could actually work. The series has a unique art style that would look great in high-end 3D graphics, while the series’ wide roster of characters have the potential of bringing with different gameplay variations, not to mention the online or split screen Co-Op possibilities.
Nostalgia itself won’t sell a game (as evident by the PSN remastering of Turtles in Time), but if a modern studio showed the same dedication to the franchise that Konami showed back in the day, then they would have the winning formula (Solid gameplay + Explosive nostalgia = sales, lots and lots of sales).