Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or Hero Turtles, if you were living in Europe) for the NES is a game that is recieved with mixed feelings nowadays. While every kid loved this game, since it simply is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game (not taking the gameplay, graphics and music into consideration), these kids grew up eventually and got to play other, arguably better TMNT games that radically changed their stance on this game. And that’s especially when you take into consideration that these kids would later play the game as grown ups and expect too much of it because of nostalgia (guilty as charged).
I’d say that the game is decent at the least. A lot of the problems comes from you having to master the controls and grind your way to victory, which wasn’t the case with games like Super Mario Bros. where you picked it up and played immediately (after first having perished against the first Goomba, or maybe even perish in the first pit). When having learned the controls well and developing your own strategy as to when to use each turtle, the game will be immensely fun. I managed to get to the second last boss on my first playthrough without too much of a problem, since I luckily found the Technodrome in the first manhole I descended into. The two things that I found to be real flaws is The Dam level (though it’s not much of a problem after a few playthroughs) and the part where you have to avoid getting crushed by the walls. There the mechanic that allows you to walk over narrow gaps on the floor, which really comes in handy earlier, will become the bane of your existence as you race against the crushing walls to the bottom of the screen and will have a 50% chance to fall down the gaps. And you have to make it twice in a row!
One of the more problematic stages, that in contrast to the others can become a breeze through practice.
I use him pretty much all the time, as he’s the second best after Donatello and has a good reach and a good hitting power. He’s the standard Turtle to use,
A bit slow with his bo (heh, you see what I did there?) but with the excelllent reach and awesome power behind each of the strikes, this is the Turtle you’ll use the most, especially against the bosses and especially against the more resilient enemies on the later stages.
He has a pretty weak attack, though he’s great when using Shuriken or Boomerangs. When his HP falls to half a glitch will kick in and give his attacks a strength equivalent to Donatello’s, so he’s still awesome and very useful in the game. I wouldn’t throw him to the cannon, at least, as he really is helpful.
Meh. His Sai are more like their derivative, that is Japanese gardening tools. They have a poor reach, give poor damage and he usually manages to get damaged before he even can land a hit. He’s the perfect cannon fodder, and the main swimmer in The Dam. Though you could equip him with Boomerangs and then he’s be good to go and try to be helpful with almost infinite Boomerangs (if you catch them when they return, that is, or they’ll get lost in the glitchy void).
Image from: https://averagejosh.wordpress.com, ain’t it amazing? Maximum nostalgia!
If Raphael didn’t manage to get the Boomerang (which has nothing to do with Ninjutsu, by the way, but was radical in the 80’s) but another Turtle did instead, make the Boomerang-carrying Turtles throw three of them and switch to Raphael who will recieve them in his inventory. Repeat to stock up on them and make Raph useful again.
The Giant Mouser is a cakewalk if you pause and unpause, and use any Turtle, especially Donatello, to hit the now revealed orb in his mouth. It’s so easy that it’s unfair.
There was a wave of violence and whatnot in the UK, and Ninjutsu and the weapons that are used in it were considered harmful and bad for the society, especially with the surge of Nunchuks amongst both model citizens and criminals, and thus they tried to remove as many Ninja and Nunchuk references as they could, hence Teenage Mutant “Hero” Turtles. And that’s why Michelangelo doesn’t use his Nunchuks that much, and is equipped with a pitiful grappling hook later on in the cartoon, at least in Europe. This view on violence, and the surge of popularity for the TMNT, led to the Turtles not using their weapons at all in the second movie. Parents complained when taking their kids to the first one, and the movie companies obliged. The parents make the money after all!