The Origin of Brawlers – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Although usually thought of as a Japanese import, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a comic book published in New Hampshire. The videogame, however, was developed using the story of the popular 1987 TV series and was intended to reach a wide audience. It was originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989 in both the U.S. and Japan, where it was called Fierce Turtle Ninja Legend (激亀忍者伝). It came to Europe the following year under the title Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.

In this game, designed in the style of the original 1984 comic series, the turtles Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael must rescue April O’Neil, kidnapped by Shredder. To find her, the player must travel with the turtle team through six areas, including the Technodome. Each Turtle has his own special abilities based on his weapon(s) and skills, all playable.

The game is classed as extremely difficult and is actually impossible to beat on the PC. Rushed to release in time for the holiday season, the game has a porting error that makes game play appear cartoony and out of proportion, speeds side scrolling, and makes it overall exponentially harder. The Sewer Level is an excellent example of this warped play and has become famous for its extended jump, in which a small jump in previous versions was greatly lengthened and the ceiling lowered. Players cannot beat this level and must use a password to skip it.

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Gift of Ben Rog-Wilhelm, 2013.021.006