Written by  :  Ace of Sevens (4474)
Written on  :  Jul 14, 2007
Rating  :  2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars
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This sounded great on paper

The Good

In theory, this sounds like a great idea. Martial-arts fighting games were popular. The Ninja Turtles were popular and used martial arts and had been in several video games that were financially successful. They had a large roster of characters to use in such a game.

The backgrounds are pretty cool, even if they largely fall into video game cliches, such as jungle, ice, lava and spaceship.

The Bad

The whole game is rather basic. There are only eight characters, which Street Fighter II had established as a bare minimum for the genre. The four turtles are a must and Casey Jones and April O'Neil are also mainstays of most incarnations. However, the remaining two are Ray Fillet and Sisyphus. Ray is understandable as he was a fairly major supporting character in the Archie comics, but why are they including characters made up for the game when Shredder isn't even included? It seems they wanted all good guys for story purposes or something.

Speaking of Street Fighter II, it had established a standard for how fighting works. Pretty much all minor 2D games this era copied it or Mortal Kombat. Tournament Fighters doesn't. In and of itself, breaking with established conventions isn't bad. When done well, this can advance the genre. However, when done arbitrarily as here (buttons are punch, kick and an apparently useless taunt) it just serves to make things unnecessarily difficult. I was going to say complicated, but there are actually about six special moves per character if you count throws, so that's not really the right word. This means gameplay is very simple.

Simplicity would be okay if it meant the game were accessible, but it isn't. For instance, there is no training mode. Granted, it has something called a practice mode, but it is merely a single-round fight against the CPU, giving you no more chance to learn the game than any other mode. The various difficulty settings aren't labelled in a way that makes it obvious what they do, either. There are separate numeric values for difficulty and power. It's not clear whose power you are controlling or what that exactly means or which values are easier for difficulty.

There's also a tournament mode, but the game is not player-friendly, so good luck getting anywhere there unless you find a cheap move to exploit.

The sound is terrible. It seemed to me that my midrange home theater system had been turned into a tin can and string.

The Bottom Line

I heard about this game when I was a kid and really wanted to get it because i was a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES series. Now that I'm grown up, I finally got my chance. Apparently by the time this was released, the developers weren't trying anymore. It was a huge disappointment after the high quality of many earlier Turtles games.