While sitting back chilling with the tube on, the teenage foursome; Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello notice the announcement of a martial arts tournament. When they pay special attention to the entries, they notice their arch-nemesis Shredder is among the participants. Immediately sensing that he's up to no good, the turtle gang decide to enter and stop him, as well as test their skills against each other. -summary
There was no way Konami was going to continue sitting out the fighting game era of the early to mid 90's, even though their first attempt in the 90's arcade scene, Martial Champion, ended up as a major flop. This time, they went straight to the home consoles in their attempt to compete with Capcom's Street Fighter II. Even though their latest fighting game creation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, had some stiff competition in the forms of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II. The game held up pretty well against them on the Super Nintendo in my view, and despite giving off the feel as another SF clone, the game had its own charm and a sick difficulty, along with the story mode which made it a tough one to compete against. This was definitely one of those overlooked titles from back then that delivered the goods.
Here's the line up:
Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, Cyber Shredder, War, Chromedome, Wingnut, Aska, Armaggon, Rat King(must be unlocked), and Karai(must be unlocked)
TMNT: Tournament Fighters is a two player fighting game, that features 10 characters and two bosses. Each of the characters have several special moves that can be performed, and as these moves along with regular moves connect; a secondary bar which is underneath the health bar will gradually increase. When this bar is full, it will allow the character to perform a super special move by pressing the buttons at the same time. The character will unleash a devastating move which will cause massive damage should it go unblocked. These attacks can range from a single energy burst that is hurled by the likes of Donatello and Cyber Shredder, multiple energy projectile attacks from Leonardo, or a rush in combo attack by Michaelangelo. There's someone for everyone, and some of the characters use different strategies to fight. The robot Chromedome is very similar to Dhalsim of SF, in part to his stretching limbs. Some of the characters have quite a bit of a resemblance to SF characters, you can see the influence almost all over.
The matches are decided in two out of three falls, and there are two bosses to fight against towards the end, who happen to be The Rat King who is similar to Zangief, and Karai, a female ninja who is sort of original. The fighting engine is ok at best but has its faults. For one, the AI is pretty tough and you will be smashed quite often. You will have to spend time developing your skills, and understanding the characters strengths and weaknesses. Also, the game spent so much time trying to imitate Street Fighter's fighting engine it left its own feeling uncooked. Perhaps it should have taken a page out ofMortal Kombat II, by expanding on the juggling system or even Fatal Fury II: Special, where the special does max damage no matter how it hits you. Although deadly, most of the special moves can have their damage reduced, simply by jumping into them and taking a small portion of the attack, thus, letting the entire attack pass them by, which can result in a wasted move. In some cases, this does far less damage than blocking. This game left lots of room for improvement. There's also a pretty bad balance between some characters specials. Leonardo's projectile barrage attack does far more damage then Raphael's air fireball stream, while Wingnut's special when in the right position, it can do up to an amazing 100% damage and end the fight at any point.
There's also a more difficult secondary game with a different story. In this mode, Splinter and April O' Neil are captured, and the player can only choose one of the four turtles. The rules are still the same with the 2 out of 3 rounds. However, the special attack bar isn't present, and you will be forced to rely solely on your skills. This part of the game is excellent, as it teaches you how to fight against non cpu opponents without running to your special for everything. But I think it would have been far better had it been possible to use the other characters in this mode, in any case, it's still fun to play and it adds that bit of variety. The two player vs mode is fun, and it's nice being able to choose your own stages.
No real complaints here, and I give points to Konami for at least being creative. The control set up features two weak buttons and two hard buttons. It's possible to pull off some good combos here and there, and the engine utilizes the SF half circles and charge motions, which performs flawlessly to me. The easy access for the special moves is also a great addition, especially if you had experience with the Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting series around this time. It sucks struggling to get out a special move, and then find yourself being pummeled because the controls would never respond. In any case, I think they're on point here.
The graphics feel a little too child friendly to me, but they get the job done with some nice sprites and animation. Special moves like Michaelangelo's rush can be spotted for each move, and it flows really well. Cyber Shredder's Lightening Crusher and Chromedome's Self Destruct look really cool. TMNT fans will get a kick out of the backgrounds as they feature some familiar faces like Casey Jones, Mouser robots, and some Foot Soldiers. The action arenas are cool too, taking place in junkyards, cafes, and alleys. I enjoy some of the music which has a nice BGM for the battles, and perfectly fits the personality of the game. Some songs like Aska's theme with the flutes in the background sound really nice. But I have an issue with Shredder's theme, because it really doesn't seem dark and menacing for him at all. Especially when compared to his tracks found in TMNT: The Arcade Game for the arcade, or TMNT: Turtles in Time. Rat King's theme is just atrocious casino music that doesn't fit with him at all. The sound effects have their good points to it, like Cyber Shredder sounding more like a cyborg, or a futuristic version of himself to me. But the turtles were handled rather poorly to me, they just seem to be lacking some type of personality to really separate them.
Even in this day and age, in the land of 3D with over the top air combos and button schemes; TMNT: Tournament Fighters is still a solid retro fighter. It's nothing to run out and grab, but if you ever come across it, and you consider yourself a die hard fighting game fan. It won't make a bad experience.
Pros: -Two game modes -Tight controls -Graphics and sound
Cons: -2nd mode can be real difficult for some -Minor issues with Sound FX and music
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May 22, 2011
Jun 15, 2013 08:21 PM UTC
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A tournament has been organized and many fighters have entered, Shredder being one of them. The Turtles decide to participate in order to stop their nemesis as well as proving their strength in the tournament. This game's controls uses a four-button scheme (two punches and two kicks, weak and strong). A particular feature is the possibility to use a super special attack. In order to achieve this, the player must fill a green bar under the life bar, by hitting their opponents. Once full, the player must press the two strong attack buttons simultaneously. There is also the option of enhancing the speed of the game, making the fights more intense but also harder to follow. In addition to the main and versus modes, there is a story mode in which the Turtles must rescue April O'Neil and Splinter. Only the four of them can be playable whereas the other characters (as well as a turtle clone) are the opponents. There is also a watch mode, which features computer controlled characters. There are ten characters available, and two bosses. Aside from the Turtles and Shredder (who goes under the name of Cyber Shredder in this game), these characters are also available:
War - A monstrous purple creature with big claws, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics published by Archie. The game version of the character is said to be an alien in the games ending as well as a mutant by the Turtles in the games story mode.