[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 03/18/03 ] = I Heart OLs

Digging again through some unused content for the site, I came across some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles goodness for those who are still stuck in the early 90's (like me). If you have been looking for obsessive TMNT fan articles on the latest TMNT side-scrolling action games, you have came to the right place. No better way to kick off side-scrolling action coverage than with TMNT games! Also, I guess this can be a tribute of sorts to the revival of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Last time I went to the TMNT official web site, I saw that the revival of the green heroes is not as far from reality as once thought...

Before the latest craze of bullshit 'interactive' games like DDR (I hate that fucking series), Konami actually made games that not only had real playability, but also good animation. Konami became an established name in the genre of side-scrolling action games beside other developers like Capcom and SNK. It wasn't just overnight success and overhype that established this name for Konami though; the fact that Konami released side-scrolling action games one after another, with such great concepts, good character licensing, and good animation is what made the name. Anyone who has been in the scene for a while (you know who you are) knows Konami side-scrolling action games bring back fond memories of when games were about fun. Though Konami has failed to bring anything to the side-scrolling action arena recently, their gems are still remembered and people who actually play games look back on these games as classics.

This article will focus on Konami's finest hour - their production of good side-scrolling action games. As if I didn't have a sick obsession with the turtles already, Konami kept releasing more and more green goodness after the first TMNT was a hit in arcades all over the world. I can also remember playing Turtles In Time after getting my ass kicked at Street Fighter II Champion Edition; I almost shit my pants when I saw the new turtles goodness that Konami made, then I ran out of money. Still, I spent a lot of time playing Turtles In Time endlessly with my friends, marveling at the great execution. When magazines covered the latest Konami side-scrolling action games, you could bet that back then I was the first motherfucker on the block to do my homework. Sure, these games weren't the caliber of the Capcom or SNK side-scrolling action games of the that time, but they weren't trying to, and they are still respected. With TMNT Turtles In Time, to TMNT The Hyperstone Heist, Konami gave us some good fun in the side-scrolling action genre. This is a bonus 2-in-1 article that covers not one, but two TMNT games: TMNT Turtles In Time, and the somewhat rare TMNT The Hyperstone Heist. These games were good back then, and still are today, in the midst of all that is supposedly so great.

The latest and probably last of Konami's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle side-scrolling action games, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Hyperstone Heist, was passed as a mere 'upgrade' of TMNT Turtles In Time by many, when in actuality that couldn't be farther from the truth. TMNT The Hyperstone Heist has some from the first TMNT, gets rid of a few things from Turtles In Time, and has a completely new story. Basically, Shredder got hold of a powerful stone, and starts wreaking havoc, so it's time to kick his ass again. I guess he wasn't dead after the beating my friends and I gave him in Turtles In Time, but I'm wasn't arguin' because the more TMNT games the better! As with the TMNT Konami side-scrolling action games before it, you fight against Shredder's minions and raise hell until you stop him - side-scrolling action at its best. There are several moments of intensity in this latest TMNT game; though there have been a few things from TMNT - Turtles In Time that were left out of this game, TMNTHH holds its own and stays near the top of its genre. First and foremost, the animation in TMNT The Hyperstone Heist uses the same animation a that in TMNT Turtles In Time, so the animation of TMNTHH is nice and fluid. Though a lot of the animation was carried from TMNTTT, the turtles got some new standing attack animation, and the eyes of foot soldiers blink when they are attacked; the animation for the turtles never looked better!

Though some of the turtles' animation was replaced, the greatest notable animations from TMNT Turtles In Time are intact; the Special Moves, the great facial expressions, and combo animations were all left unchanged. The animation of every character in the game is fluid, from the weaving foot soldiers, to Leatherhead, to the assaults of Krang. As for moves, the turtles still have all the standing attacks, back attack, various jumping attacks, 'left-to-right-slam,' and respective Special Attacks they had in TMNTTT; however, the grab that threw foot soldiers toward the screen was left out. Though the screen throw move was left out, it doesn't tarnish the value of the game at all. Konami took out one of the best moves from TMNT Turtles In Time, but in exchange added a dash button that makes launching assaults more accurate and efficient than in the previous game where forward had to be held a while to dash, ultimately making dash attacking somewhat inconvenient. With the inclusion of the Dash button, the gameplay of TMNT The Hyperstone Heist is faster than previous Konami side-scrolling action games. The enemies in TMNT The Hyperstone Heist are also similar to the previous games, with the infamous foot soldiers, fucker mousers, rock soldiers, pizza monsters, and those goddamn 'rolling-death-on-wheels' that shock you. Some of the foot soldiers from the previous game were carried over; but gone are the yellow axe-weilding and green arrow shooting foot soldiers from TMNTTT, replaced by red ones that breathe streams of pleasant fire.






In addition to the various foot soldiers to obliterate, TMNT The Hyperstone Heist combines bosses from Konami's previous TMNT entries and a new boss, along with new versions of the old bosses as well. The great thing about this TMNT game is that is combines that of the previous two games, so bosses from the first TMNT like Rocksteady and Baxter Stockman make their appearance in the company of the bosses from TMNT Turtles In Time like Leatherhead, Krang, and Super Shredder. Still, to add to the mix, there's one completely new boss who is hard as hell and beats the living shit out of you - Tetsu. This pain in the ass martial arts master calls out foot soldiers and then flies across the screen in a fury of short flying arrows. I think this has got to be one of the hardest bosses in all of the TMNT games (almost as hard as TMNT Shredder). Another interesting boss feature is how in one stage you have to fight alternate (pissed off, differently colored) versions of Leatherhead, Rocksteady, and Tetsu! If you thought the first battles with these jerks was hard, don't bother with their more aggressive alternate incarnations (especially Tetsu).

Though some of the stages from the previous TMNT entries are in the game, the bosses aren't found in the same stages they once were; for example, Leatherhead is the first stage boss (as opposed to TMNT Turtles In Time) and is in the second stage of the first game. Confused? As aforementioned, TMNTHH combines some of the elements of the previous TMNT games, so in this case Konami put Leatherhead as the boss of the first stage, which was the second stage in the first game (the sewer). The battle with Krang in this game is also different than that of TMNT Turtles In Time respectively, because although you fight the mobile Krang that in TMNTTT was in a futuristic riding stage, in TMNTHH the fight is with the mobile Krang on foot in the stage that used to be the battle ground for the spaceship saucer Krang boss fight! And yes, he still has all the attacks he used in "Neon-Nightriders", too (fire from Krang's mouth to the sky). The changed boss locations in this game make for an interesting twist in the gameplay, and is a definite strong point of the game. It also seems like the bosses are harder than in the previous TMNT games; they give you a lot of shit before they start to flash, and then they give you even more shit before they finally die. Though two players might be able to make short work of some of the bosses with a little work, others are still a stiff challenge, and in single-player games prove to be downright ruthless if given the chance (purple Leatherhead is a jerk).

As briefly mentioned in the boss talk, the stages in TMNTHH are actually a mixture of original stages ("A Mysterious Ghost Ship," "Shredder's Hideout," "The Gauntlet"), and some stages from TMNT (New York sewer) and TMNTTT`("Alleycat Blues," The Final Shell Shock"). The stage variation is probably the game's second strongest point; the stages from TMNT Turtles In Time are improved with different hues and some other nice aesthetic changes. And just as in the previous two games, TMNTHH has stage hazards (open sewer lids, spiked ceilings, crushing gates, wrecking balls) and interactive stage elements the turtles have before used to kill the foot (explosive barrels, parking meters, signs, sewer lids). As in TMNTTT, you can also get the 'School Of Hard Knocks' item that allows you to spin around invincibly, but in TMNTHH it seems to be a shorter time limit with less time to destroy. The cinematics in TMNTHH are fewer than those in TMNTTT, but are just as good - the layout of the scenes is similar, with cool new artwork (see screenshots) and dialogue. The in-game dialogues are also goods, and are completely different from the past TMNT games. Of all the scenes, the most amazing in this game is almost completely similar to the best scene in TMNT Turtles In Time - the transformation of Shredder into Super Shredder! Thankfully the scene was put in this game; it's the absolute most amazing scene in any Konami game. You walk in and see Shredder levitating off the ground in the center of a beam, then he turns into Super Shredder. Just look at the screenshots. Brilliant. The music and sounds are pretty much all from TMNTTT (save for 1 track), and as before sound great; the best music is on the surfing stage before the ghost ship is reached (it's the same music from the future stage of TMNTTT).

Lastly, the game's presentation; I think Konami did a very good job on the presentation of this game because they improved on an already great game (TMNTTT) in an already great series. Definitely high on my list. I've played both TMNTHH and TMNTTT extensively and it's still a hard choice to decide which is better; both are good games in every aspect. TMNT Hyperstone Heist, in its simplicity, is a good game no doubt, but at the same time every time I play TMNT Turtles In Time, and I am still amazed. Not to say that I am not amazed with TMNTHH, but TMNTTT when it came out, it blew my fucking mind. Did I feel the same when I first played TMNTHH? Actually, I did, so that's why I give both games complete respect for the different aesthetic approach each takes.

I'm always a fan of sequels, so I rank this game high on the list for having so many similarities with TMNTT, but at the same time using those things that made TMNTTT so great towards a different presentation. TMNTHH is right under TMNTTT due to the good stage design, gameplay, and presentation. TMNT Turtles In Time is a longer game in its entirety, in gameplay, enemies, and bosses, but TMNT Hyperstone Heist is deeper in gameplay due to the inclusion of the Dash button and added attack animations. TMNT represents the series faithfully, and definitely lives up to the traditional quality that the previous two TMNT games set.




Teenage Mutant Turtles - Turtles In Time is not only my favorite TMNT game, but also my favorite Konami side-scrolling action game. The best of side-scrolling action. This game pushes weight in more areas than one. First of all, it's the turtles, so I almost instantly like it; and second, it's a side-scrolling action game from Konami. With this deadly combination, I was sold on this motherfucker right away. Konami did a great job of animating the turtles and at the same put each of their unique respective personalities into the animation as well. There's nothing better than beating the shit out of foot soldiers, and the great thing is that in this game you can carry out that task in many, many ways. You can really really rock their shit in this game once the action gets thick. This is the first Konami side-scrolling action game where you can grab an enemy (foot soldiers) by the arm, fling them side to side, bashing them repeatedly, taking out any others sorry enough to be in proximity. The turtles have at their disposal large array of ground and air attacks to use against the forces of Shredder, in addition to a Special Move unique to each turtle. The turtles have several attacks in TMNTTT, including kicks, dashing shoulder rams, multiple jumping attacks, a dashing slide, standing attacks, and even a back hit that quickly disposes of enemies behind you. Of the attacks, the most notable and coolest is by far the ability to throw foot soldiers toward the screen.

Definitely one of the best things about the game is the fact that you can do this move, and to go with it the turtles have two different animation sets for it. The green heroes have some nice attack animation and each have their own individual special attack that does a load of damage. TMNTTT has a generous array of moves for the heroes, and while not completely hard to perform, the moves still take practice to use efficiently. Sure, they don't bring anything completely revolutionary to the table or anything like that, but the fact is that the moves give the game a certain factor of intricacy not found in Konami's other side-scrolling action games. The stages in this game are also the best of all in the TMNT series (nice details can be seen in every stage); easily the best of Konami's side-scrolling action games. Every stage is so completely unique because in this game the turtles travel through time; in "Prehistoric Turtlesaurus" Foot Soldiers ride dinosaurs, in "Bury My Shell At Wounded Knee" battling takes place on a moving train as Foot Soldiers jump onto the train from horses. By far though, the best stage in the whole game is "Neon-Nightriders", a futuristic stage (see right) with a city skyline of ethereal beauty to view while fighting the forces of Shredder on a freeway.

The action in this game is great, with lots of big fights, explosives, and stage interaction (just as in the other TMNT games). The action gets frantic, with the turtles, foot soldiers, and rock soldiers, or those bastard machines on wheels that electrocute you, all battling it out on the screen at once. Combine this havoc with the stage obstacles and you've got hell on your hands. Every stage in this game is chock-full of explosions and other environmental obstacles like ice floors, giant wrecking balls, tumbling barrels, and falling ceiling spikes. Obstacles in each of the stages make the action thicker; sometimes giant cannon balls are shot directly at you while fighting, or wretched beams shoot from the walls. The Foot Soldiers are in much larger variety and have more attacks in this game than in TMNT; Foot Soldiers throw shurikens, swing nunchakus, wield axes, use swords, fly mini helicopters, throw boomerangs, heave bombs, and shoot arrows. The Foot Soldiers in the first TMNT game were a sight to see in all the different animations they had, and in this game there's even more animation as the Foot ride dinosaurs, drop from the sky, jump kick, and stand in various fighting styles. An aesthetically great thing about the foot soldiers in this game are the many ways in which they make entrances - some foot soldiers jump over fences, appear through the floor in liquid form to solidify, while others appear through teleporting in some stages.

There's just something so great about eradicating Foot Soldiers that I had been fond of since the first TMNT action game, and tearing them apart in this game is just as fun; Foot Soldiers are not only a cool enemy to beat up on, but they are just a cool enemy in general (oh, believe me, it can get worse). It's just great when you are surrounded by foot soldiers in this game, and then, in the blink of an eye, you let out a special attack then sends all of them in different directions to certain death. As if fighting against varieties of foot soldiers wasn't enough already, the game also pits you up against various rock soldiers, those bastard machines on wheels, laser machines on rails, and pizza monsters. The bosses in this game are also good, with the typical Krang fight, as well as some fights with Leatherhead, Metal Head, Tokka, Razar, Baxter Stockman, and Shredder. The best, most intense boss fight in the game is probably when you fight Krang in his ship - he drops out laser spitting floor enemies while teleporting and flying across the screen, encasing the turtles in giant bubbles - awesome. The sounds in this game are good and fit the turtles just as well, if not better, than in the previous TMNT entry, with loud explosions, hits, battle cries, and the beautiful sounds of machines.





The music is a very strong point of this game, and every stage has good, upbeat tunes to keep the battling intense; the best is by far the music of "Neon-Nightriders" - it's the best sounding stage and has a more resonant tune than the other stages. The cinematic scenes in this game are another shining aspect of this game, with a cool intro, good cut scenes, and a signature funny turtles ending. A cool cinema is at the beginning when Krang jacks the Statue of Liberty - definitely a shocker and an epic scene indeed. TMNTTT delivers also in presentation, and anyone who has read my other articles knows that I like good presentation - and Konami did a good job with the overall style of the game. From the vibrant and colorful stages and good animation, to the sounds and music, to the cut scenes, the game was designed well. All in all, the best of Konami's side-scrolling action games. Why? Well, because this game just seems to have something that all of Konami's other action games somehow lack - it is unique but at the same time retains the original feel of an action game. I was stunned by TMNT when Konami released it, and I was completely blown away when I saw TMNT Turtles In Time and what they did with the game. The stages are cool, boss selections are great, the enemies are even cooler than they were in the first game (due to how in TMNTTT they relate to their stages), and if it seems at all possible, the action was definitely pumped up.

The first game stayed on with the TMNT theme we are all familiar with, but TMNTTT went beyond the original story and Konami used all of the TMNT universe's theme and character potential effectively. The story in this game is unique - the idea of Shredder sending the turtles through time to battle - what an innovative story it is. Any gripes with this game? Well, about the only thing that I would even honorably mention is how the turtles jump a lot slower than the heroes in Capcom or SNK's action games, and the execution of the throws is a bit touchy, but these are minor things and can be adjusted to once the game is played enough (or if you are already used to other Konami action games). How does it hold up against the monster that is X-MEN, or against the large following of The Simpsons? In actuality, I think the game has more animation and is more intricate than the Simpsons, but X-MEN comes very close to TMNTTT because it too is deep and features some nice stages, good animation, and some great enemies and bosses. Though X-MEN may be somewhat deep in its own right, TMNTTT seems a lot deeper and takes more practice to completely plow through. The lush, ethereal beauty of TMNTTT make it my all time favorite Konami side-scrolling action game. Hands down, this game is a must-play.