Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

by Alan Tomkins, David Perry, Nick Bruty, Sound Images
Image Works
Crash Issue 84, Jan 1991   page(s) 66

Image Works

It's those heroes in a half shell (as if you didn't know with all the hype going on) in their own computer game! Take control of either Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael or Michaelangelo and have a right good bash at Shredder and his army of maniacs.

Your job is to rescue the lovely April O'Neil, captured by Shredder. This means venturing through the sewers of downtown New York and doing battle with various nasties, collecting weapons as you go.

The game is split into different sections. You start off by running around the streets of the city, viewed from overhead, and have to dive down the nearest sewer or pop into a nearby house. Then you move onto the main part of the game with the turtles spinning and dashing about, killing anything in sight. Here the graphics are great - colourful and very fast. If you successfully fight off Bebop it's into an underwater scene where you have a set time to defuse a collection of bombs.

The variations in viewpoint and gameplay between the sections will keep you interested for ages, you just can't help having one more go to see if you can get a little further.

There are loads of mutated animals everywhere: deformed turtles, rats, rhinos and frogs to name but a few! This game of the film of the cartoon of the comic isn't bad. It's a kind of Dan Dare III with green blokes running about! Graphics and playability are its strongest points. Full colour sprites are perfectly animated over the parallax background, making it hard on the eyes at times but much better than resorting to monochrome. The main disadvantage is having to repeat the same monsters in the same sewers every time you play. This makes it repetitive and if you keep getting stuck in the same place you'll soon get fed up.

Playing the game can be a very frustrating affair. You get so wound up when you keep getting killed in the same place you'll rip your hair out! Still, after a short cooling-off period you'll definitely be coming back for more because the gameplay is sooooo addictive. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles is the best fun I've had for ages. However, after just a day's play I completed the game so a few more missions wouldn't have gone amiss. Nevertheless, Turtles is still highly recommended.

NICK [80%]

Yo dudes, the pizza-munching turtles are here, Heathcliff, Arthur, Frederick and George... er, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Donatello. I'm slightly miffed that the arcade coin-op scenario wasn't used, but this game is very playable. The different missions are tough and very challenging, but they start fairly simply with the rescue of April O'Neil. The evil creatures are difficult to kill and you can lose a lot of energy on the first few levels, but if you change turtles as soon as energy levels drop, capture is avoided. If you aren't totally sick of the blasted things, purchasing Turtles is a smart move - it's fabuloso!
MARK [80%]

Presentation: 87%
Graphics: 83%
Sound: 79%
Playability: 82%
Addictivity: 82%
Overall: 80%

Summary: Order your pizzas because it's going to be a long night, playng this non-stop!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 61, Jan 1991   page(s) 30,31

Image Works
£12.99 cass/£16.99 disk
Reviewer: Matt Bielby

Despite what you may have thought, feared (or even hoped) Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles is actually jolly good. There, I've said it. (The rest should be easy.)

It's very, very (very) colourful for a start (but you've no doubt spotted that from the screenshots), very well put together, and if the simple gameplay seems more reminiscent of a console game than a classic Speccy product, well, that's probably ideal for the younger Spec-chum they're aiming at here. Put any prejudices you might have aside - if you ignore the Turtles, you're actually ignoring a rather snazzy piece of Speccy programming.

Okay, so you've bought the game and loaded it up. What's the first thing to strike you? Well, its the graphics, isn't it? They really are very (very) pretty indeed. The turtles themselves are green and yellow and look exactly how you think they should (unlike many licenced characters depicted on the Speccy who end up looking like, well, anyone). They can't do that many fighting moves, it has to be said - there's no crouch or duck for instance - but what they can do (attack with whatever that turtle's particular weapon is, jump by curling up into a spinning shell) works very well indeed. Even when they're climbing up ladders - normally a graphical disaster in most games - it all looks okay, possibly because they're such cartoony characters and so easy to animate.

In fact the whole thing looks very much like a cartoon - the baddies aren't the ninja assassins of the upcoming film or original comics, but big, bright and colourful monsters like in the TV show. The first level features giant jumping eyeballs, mutant flies, some sort of fiery yellow characters who look like they're made out of lava and a purple Tasmanian Devil-shaped end-of-level chappie who's an absolute bast to kill.

In fact, they're all very reminiscent of the colourful mutants from Dan Dare III - no surprise when you realise the Speccy Turtles has actually been done by the same programmers. These are the guys (Dave 'Code' Perry and Nick 'Graphics' Bruty, both of whom freelance for Probe) who've been responsible for a goodly number of the really bright and colour-packed Speccy games of recent years. Including Savage, Tintin On The Moon and their more personal project, Extreme (which is reviewed this ish). From these results I'd say they were an ideal choice for the Turtles - you can't imagine the 'heroes in a half shell' (whatever that's meant to mean) looking any better on the Speccy.

As is perhaps fitting with such cartoony characters. gameplay is on the same simple (but very well thought-out) sort of level as cutsie arcade games like Super Mario Brothers. This really does come across as the sort of thing you might play on a Nintendo or Sega console - lots of platforms, lots of baddies, lots of collectable extra energy doobries (in this case bits of pizza) and even backgrounds built up largely of massive bricks. Perhaps it's got a bit more of a beat-'em-up emphasis than many similar games, but then that's only fitting considering the fact that the turtles are meant to be (whisper it) ninjas and everything.

So what do you have to do? Well, our heroes must take part in a series of missions, most of which consist of some running around on a big overhead-view street map (on which each Turtle is the tiniest green speck) before popping down one of many available sewer entrances. Suddenly you find yourself in a split-level platform-and-ladders environment (the cleanest, driest and - it must be said - reddest sewer I've ever seen in my life).

As you were no doubt hoping, this is packed with baddies to duff up, and isn't likely to be particularly long - reach the end and one of two things happens. Either a) you reach a ladder to the outside world (indicating that you've been down the wrong entrance and should search around for the right one) or b) you come across your objective.

In the first mission, for instance, your job is to try and rescue your girlie reporter friend April O'Neil from the minions of the evil Shredder. It won't take that long to come across her (she's down the sewer entrance nearest the end of the dock) but oh no! just as you find her this purple devil thing attacks (and he's much harder to beat than most of Shredder's, erm, 'men'), Beat him (if you can) and by the time you get back to where April was it's too late - the rest of Shredder's hench-things have come along and whisked her away! (Time to move onto the second mission, methinks.)

And so it goes on. Later levels not only see you having to do a lot more searching around on the surface (where you've got to avoid tiny hazards like men and oddly trucks) before you can find the right platform-and-ladders bit to enter, they also feature longer and more complicated platform bits. One mission (set in a warehouse) sees you running around on a series of conveyor belts, while another has you actually swimming through a network of underwater tunnels, trying to defuse bombs which are set to blow up the Hudson River (or something)! This is slightly less successful than the platform levels (mainly because the turtle sprite looks rather ridiculous in swimming mode) but it's quite well done nonetheless.

What else is there to be said? Well - though it's not really got all that much to do with the game - it's rather strange that considering how cuddly and friendly they've made all the turtles, they've left them with all their various bits of martial arts weaponry. The Image Works packaging cleverly 'forgets' to show Raphael's Sai (a sort of big knife with hand guards) or Michaelangelo's Nunchukus (those things with two bits of wood joined with a chain) - the two most obviously ninja-like weapons - though it's perfectly happy to depict the more normal sword and stick. (Presumably these are less likely to put mums off buying the game.) All four oriental weapons still appear quite distinctly in the gameplay however - and worse too. Take the shurikens (those throwing star thingies) which you can collect - they're rather brutal for a cartoon game, aren't they?

Anyway, enough of that. What else is there to say? Well, I've not yet pointed out (or not properly anyway) that extra energy can of course be got from pieces of pizza left lying around the sewers (yuck!) while ropes (for climbing from building to building), missiles, temporary invulnerability and other collectables are to be found dotted around the place. Each time a turtle dies he actually 'gets captured' and you get to pick another one to continue the mission - not impossible that you may come across the captured one and rescue him a bit later however.

You want more? Well, how about the bit where you're invited to 'party down in the party wagon', which apparently involves firing missiles from a modified VW Microbus at the Foot Clan (Shredder's lot)? Sounds good. though unfortunately I haven't got to that bit yet.

So what's the verdict? Well, for me Turtles has been a very pleasant surprise. Rumours had been circulating around the industry for ages that the game was really bad - apparently the American Nintendo and Amiga versions are absolutely terrible or something, and this game is based on them - but no, Probe have modified it rather a lot, and the finished Speccy thing only bears them a slight resemblance. In fact, its really rather nifty. Don't expect the most in-depth game of all time - but for what it is, it's more or less perfect. I think it's excellent fun. Hurrah! (There you go - an entire Turtles review, and not one mention of the dreaded word "Cowabunga!") Oops!

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Life Expectancy: 75%
Instant Appeal: 90%
Graphics: 93%
Addictiveness: 86%
Overall: 90%

Summary: A jolly colourful platform-and-ladders romp - simple but fast and very professionally put together.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 106, Dec 1990   page(s) 14,15

Label: Mirrorsoft
Price: £10.99
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

Cowabunga! The Fab Four are here! Bigger than the Beatles those Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles are ready to shell out some punishment as they go up against the foul Foot Clan, in their quest against bad guys and late pizzas with anchovies.

Yes, Mirrorsoft have brought the whole gang together, as Splinter, April O'Neil and the half shell heros, Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael, all try to stomp out the Foot Clan and the evil Shredder.

The game comes in five levels, and an opening sequence has Shredder throw down the heavily metal gauntlet, which flushes our boys out into the sewers of New York.

Movement is as you would expect - apart from up which has the boys withdraw into their shells as they leap onto ledges or dodge the attentions of Foot Clan soldiers as they try to find their way through each of the full colour levels. You begin with all four of the guys, with full energy. Don, Raph, Mikey and Leo all have their favourite weapons and you can change the character that you control at any point in the game - especially useful for conserving your turtle's power. In fact, you can eat off the floor in most places, with various sizes of pizza awarding differing levels of energy boost for the tired turtle. At various points in the game, pickups are lying around - weapons, ropes even boomarangs.

Gameplay and graphics make a game and in this case, a little bit of Spectrum history. The graphics are turtlely brilliant, with colour clash down to a bare minimum and a true depth of gameplay. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles is brilliant. So, what're waiting for dude? Go get it!

Graphics: 91%
Sound: 88%
Playability: 93%
Lastability: 89%
Overall: 94%

Summary: This is THE game for Turtle dudes and anyone who wants to play a great game!

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 110, Jan 1991   page(s) 80,85


Image Works
Spectrum/Amstrad £12.99

Like a total schmuck, the villainous Shredder has kidnapped the very wonderful news houndette, April O'Neil. He's carted her off to his secret hideout to brainwash her into joining his Foot Clan, and only her four amphibian pals, the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, can save her!

The game starts above ground, with the player in control of the Turtle of his choice Foot Soldiers and Shredder's Steam Rollers are on the prowl, so the best thing to do is to quickly duck into a nearby manhole and cross the town via the sewer system.

But things are even more dangerous underground! Foot Warriors and a variety of other weirdoes are running all over the place, and contact with any of them knocks the Turtle's energy bar for six! Luckily, if one of the gang is running out of energy, you can take him out of action and immediately replace him with a fitter Turtle. This sort of Teamwork is essential if you're to defeat some of the bigger baddies, such as Bebop and Rock Steady, who make appearances early on in the game.

Each Turtle is armed with his favourite weapon, but they vary in effectiveness. There are, however, long-range weapons such as shurikens and boomerangs are available, but you have to find the respective icons first!

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Overall: 85%

Summary: This version (and the Amstrad version, actually) were programmed by the team behind Savage and Dan Dare III, so it uses lashings of colour very well. The sprites aren't quite so nice as the Amstrad version's, but the gameplay is just great. Guaranteed to please Turtles fans across the nation!

Award: C+VG Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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