The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are one of the most popular hero teams in television and comics. They hit the pinnacle of their popularity in the mid-90s. Evidently, this led to the “Awesome Foursome” being featured in several video games on various home consoles and arcade cabinets. With the fighting game revolution dominating the market, it was inevitable that a fighting game would be created. This makes sense since the Turtles’ games already had the basis for fighting games woven into their structure. So, grab your ninja mask, brandish your weapons and join me, Devildriver1313, on another trip into the virtual past. Time Warp Review presents Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters!
Konami has featured the Ninja Turtles in several games for the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis. Most of these games were side-scrolling beat ‘em ups which pitted the Turtles against scores of enemies. So, this seemed like a natural fit to place them in a tournament style game. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters was produced by Konami between 1993 and 1994 and actually refers to three different games released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mega Drive/Genesis, and Super NES, each with a different set of characters. The main characters remained consist across all three titles. Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael, along with their arch nemesis the Shredder have always retained their presence in Turtles-based games. Meanwhile, different characters who appeared in the animated series and/or comics change with each game. The main story of TMNT: Tournament Fighters is pretty consistent where the Turtles enter a tournament proposed by Shredder and compete against each other to prove themselves for the challenge. In the NES version, the game featured as story mode where the player takes control of one of the Turtles and an arcade VS mode with a three-round bout. Casey Jones and Hothead, a character based on the Dragon Warrior from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics and toy of the same name. In VS mode, the same character can be chosen except for Hothead. However, this can be bypassed when the player choses to fight the computer. The CPU Hothead will be colored differently but due to large size of the character, the game will flicker. This is one of the few fighting games ever to be released on the NES.
The Tournament Fighters title released for the Super NES followed a more Street Fighter-style look in both control layout and game design. The button setting consisted of a four-button scheme (two punch and two kicks, weak and strong). There is also a power meter that allowed each character to unleash a devastating attack once it is full. Besides the four Turtles and Shredder, this version features Armaggon, a mutant shark from the future; War, a purple creature with large claws; Wingnut, a humanoid bat; Chrome Dome, an android created by Shredder; and Aska, a kunoichi who seeks to open her own dojo. The games two bosses, Rat King and Karai, are playable via a code entry. The Genesis version featured an eight-character roster which included Casey Jones and April O’Neal, as well as Ray Fillet, who has appeared in the comics and animated series, and Sisyphus, who is an original character. The Super NES version followed the Street Fighter formula in terms of graphics, gameplay and button layout. The animation was smooth compared to the Genesis version where that game did have some lag. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters was one of the last games released by Konami that featured the pizza chomping, high kicking amphibians. Though the game didn’t have the strong presence of other fighting game titles, it still had enough presence to be a remembered as a fun game to play.
TMNT: Tournament Fighters (NES)
TMNT: Tournament Fighters (Super NES)
TMNT: Tournament Fighters (Genesis/ Mega Drive)