Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Review #342: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tournament Fighters(NES)

 We need a modern TMNT fighting game!
 The story behind Tournament Fighters is a bit interesting, as it was a TMNT fighting game released on three different consoles, with different mechanics and character rosters. As a matter of fact, a fourth Gameboy version was planned, but never released, and each different turtle would star on each different console's cover, Leonardo being the NES' mascot. As Expected, the NES version is the most limited version of the bunch, while Virtua Fighter is proof that you can make an in-depth fighter with only two buttons, the NES was a more rudimentary machine, so the lack of depth is understandable.

 The game offers four different game modes: Story Mode, in which you play as any of the four different turtles and fight your way through the six opponents, ending with Shredder. The ending for each turtle is almost the same, so it's not worth it to play it again with the other characters, but at least it's something. VS Player and VS CPU are self explanatory, and then there's Tournament Mode in which you pit four fighters, CPU or Players, towards the top, it's very simple, but, you know, considering it's a NES game, it's rather a welcome mode.
 There's a total of four stages and seven characters: The mandatory four turtles, Casey Jones, Hothead and Shredder. All four turtles shame the basic sprites and moves, with only their throws and one-two different special moves to set them apart, and, amusingly, they all fight with their bare fists instead of their weapons. Movesets are very limited, there's punch, kick and both crouching and jumping versions of each, blocking is done by holding back on the joystick and throwing by pressing punch and a direction on the digital pad next to the enemy. Each character also has one or two different special moves, and periodically a flying screen with Splinter's head will pop in and drop a ball, grabbing the ball will allow the fighter that picked it up to perform their ultra move.

 There's no combo system, and for all intents and purposes, all characters might as well play the same, but, y'know, considering the console, it's completely and totally understandable, so it's unfair to look at this game from a 'competitive' viewpoint. And all things considered, the game is fun. Combat might be simple, but there's certain fun to be had in its simplicity, and it helps that the presentation is gorgeous, so what it lacks in substance it makes up in style, and in this case, it works. The character balance is a bit iffy, Hothead moves cover a lot of ground and deal a lot of damage, and Shredder has some of the best specials in the game.
 As with most fighters of this era, the AI is cheap, but exploitable, so fighting the CPU is a matter of learning how to force them onto certain patterns and abuse them. For whatever reason, you can't have Hothead mirror matches, but, there's an exploit to fight a Hothead CPU as Hothead, if you are so inclined.

 When stacked up against other fighting games, modern and past, the game falls flat on its face. But if you manage to look at it with a non-competitive viewpoint, the game isn't half bad. All of its shortcomings can be attributed to its age: It's a fighter that's played on a two-button joystick that was released on a very archaic machine. Konami did the best they could with the tools they had at the era(Well, considering the SNES and Genesis were out at the time, the best they could on the console) It's a fun little game that could keep you occupied for 10-30 minutes.
 5.0 out of 10

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