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SummaryIt's difficult to explain just how bad this game is
The GoodLet's see, the only thing I liked about this game is that when I stopped playing the pain went away. Okay, that sounds a bit harsh but there really is nothing to like about this game.
Having said that there is one small qualifier to this review. There are two versions of this game. The original European one (the one I'm reviewing) and the improved American one which was later re-released in Europe. The screenshots I see are from the improved version which had colour and such.
The BadBroadly speaking. I liked nothing about this game. Nothing at all. To begin with the overhead map game. The turtles move like they're mired in molasses whereas the enemies zip around like they're on speed. If one of the turbo'd roller trucks enemies touches your turtle he dies. Not that there's a notification of death - there's just suddenly a black screen and the disk starts spinning.
And that's my next gripe. The multi-load. Enter a building the game loads, exit a building the game loads. Select a turtle the game loads. Swim up or down and, wait for it. The game loads. This might have been bearable if there was some sort of turbo load but no - that's only in the improved version so be prepared to spend a lot of time starring at a blank screen.
So now let's say your turtles died, you've waited for the load and selected another turtle and are waiting for the stage to load in again. Only say your concentration on the black screen of nothingness slips a bit. There's no 'press fire continue' message; the game just runs. And it puts your turtles back exactly where he died only with about a second of invulnerability. Hope you were watching closely and got him the hell out the way of whatever had just killed the previous one. You weren't? Well then everyone back in the loading bus.
But that's enough bashing the horrible multi-load. Let's try playing the game the way it's meant to be played: killing stuff in the sewers. Wait there's a problem there. Jump and hit are both mapped to the fire button. What? Yep, you jump by holding down the fire button for some time and hit by tapping it. However your turtles going to do a lot of precision jumping which is made somewhat more difficult when you have to guess at when the turtles actually going to launch himself into the air.
At heart turtles is 2D platformer which implies a fair amount of skilled jumping. Dodgy controls aside there's another epic failure in the platform department. If your turtles jumps and hits any scenery he immediately falls down again. It doesn't matter if you were still rising when you hit a vertical wall. It's straight back down for you. Exacerbating this is the abysmal collision; it's difficult to tell where the walls are. Don't believe your eyes, they aren't where they appear.
And the enemies. A game needs enemies. And enemies are supposed to kill the player. Ergo, the most effective way to do this is to have the enemy run straight at your turtle and then sit inside him where it's difficult for his weapons to reach and the enemy can quickly sap your turtles little remaining health. Also, remember you have to tap the fire button to hit? If you tap it too briefly your hits are ignored and your green hero just stands there looking stupid.
In the sound stakes the SID can achieve great things but this game is not a show case for it. The NES remixes are awful, there are no sound effects and you'll quickly find yourself reaching for the off button on your speakers rather than listening to the grating discordant melodies.
Similarly the graphics needed a bit more love. Some of the graphics arn't that bad. As long as you like your sprites red. I mean come on, the Commodore has 16 colours. Surely it would have been possible to use more than three of them?
And lastly anything else I forgot to mention I probably hate also. And the dam stage. The dam must rot in the furthest depths of hell.