Turtles on the NES wasn’t the first beat ’em up I’ve ever played, that game was Double Dragon, but it was the first beat ’em up that I owned. And the game really rocked my world because it was the first side scrolling fighting game to feature a 2 player co-op mode that I was able to play at home. This game gives me all those warm feelings of nostalgia, and as raw as it may seem to a younger generation it is still a wonderful game.
I was unfortunately stuck with the first Ninja Turtles game on the NES for an extended period of time as a kid. Compared to that video game Turtles 2 is a gift from the gods. The first one is garbage. It may not be trash to some people, but to me it was an utter nightmare. It was such an effort just to clear the infamous underwater level that I was always too exhausted to make it much further after that. That’s right I never gave the Turtle Van level a solid try. I would just accept defeat. I shouldn’t really blame myself, I was 5 years old. I didn’t care very much that Master Splinter had been taken. I felt satisfied that I saved the dam and I was more interested in what my mom had for snacks.
This game marks the beginning of the great Konami beat ’em ups. They had some previous misses, the ones that come to mind are a couple that I have played and focused on. *Cough… Rollergames… Bayou Billy. Ninja Turtles 2 is of the hack n’ slash variety of beat ’em ups. All 4 turtles are playable and Donatello has always been my favorite.
The controls are simple enough for anyone to pick this up and play it. One button strikes with the weapon and the other is jump. There is a special move of course and it really is the key to being successful in this adventure. The special involves hitting both buttons at the same time. But it’s not effective to hit both simultaneously, the trick is to roll your thumb over the 2 buttons. Making sure you hit the jump just slightly before the attack button. Master it and you will kill most of the enemies with 1 hit. Best of all there is no penalty when it comes to using the special, so just focus on hitting them bad guys with it.
Ninja Turtles 2 the Arcade game has one of the best jump kicks found in any video game ever made. It’s fluid in control and feels great. It’s possible to just let the jump do it’s thing and perform the kick when we want to. We can jump one way and kick the opposite direction. Or jump up high and start the kick just before we hit the ground, making even small enemies easy targets. it gives us players a certain control that most of the early beat ’em ups didn’t.
I’ve been pretty harsh on other beat ’em ups concerning their stories, so to be fair I better mention that this game doesn’t do a great job of explaining anything. It’s just a series of unfortunate events. At the start of the game it’s summer time then by the 3rd stage it’s winter. There is virtually no hint to why that is. I was well versed in the Ninja Turtles cartoon so I was aware that Shredder and his pals had a weather controlling device. I’m sure that not everyone knew that. At least the game doesn’t make it seem like they are trying to give a narrative.
The stages are quite random. At the end of one of the later levels the floor boards suddenly open up and underneath is the Technodrome – If you don’t know what that is, it’s the bad guys’ underground base that tunnels around. It shouldn’t be that easy to find. I can look past that though. The one thing I hate the most in this otherwise flawless game is that the enemies can grab a hold of our mutant heroes and drain our life. It’s a dumb, annoying move that developers put into their games. It reminds me of the game Kung Fu, which upsets me.
This is the game that laid the foundation for many classic titles. The Simpsons, Vendetta and Turtles in Time come instantly to mind but there are other arcade coin op classics like X-Men and Asterix. Even though the later Ninja Turtles games make this one look like crap it should not be disregarded as such. Turtles 2 the Arcade game on the NES was a huge stepping stone for the budding genre. It set new standards in how a beat ’em up should be paced and how our characters should be handled. especially on the home consoles.