I, like most children of the 80s, was kind of a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series. Though I never really got more into it than that, they would frequently intersect my entertainment medium of choice, and I was obligated to check it out.
The first game for the NES to bear their name was a bit of an oddball. It was an adventure-type game with some action-type… um… action thrown in.
See, it happens that April has been kidnapped and you, as the titular teenage turtles, have to go find and rescue her. You have this giant overhead map to explore in your quest. Dotted around the map are areas that you can enter that will change the perspective to the action portion. From there, you make your way from one end to the other slaughtering robots, bugs, guys with boomerangs, and the occasional boss fight. The hook is that you can switch between the four turtles at any time. The differ in attack strength and range, and have separate life bars, and if any of them run out, they’re ‘captured’. Lose all four and it’s game over.
You eventually rescue April and move on to disarming bombs strategically placed around a dam. Then you move on to trying to rescue Splinter, who was captured while you were busy saving the dam. And those last few stages are pretty difficult.
This game is pretty fun in spite of its difficulty. I guess that’s because I know that it’s at least possible to win, and the game’s not just being unfair. Each time I would play I would get just a little bit further. I even managed to make it to what I felt was the last level, but never managed to quite get to the end. I would later consult a map and found out that I had managed to make it to the final corridor before the last boss when I temporarily shelved the game. Had I realized that I was that close, I might have pressed on and tried again a few more times, but since it took me about two hours or so to get to that point, I just didn’t have the energy to do it. That was about two years ago, and I haven’t quite regained it in the interim.