TMNT: Tournament Fighters || Konami 1994
Original Post Date: April 25, 2019
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters — As one of the select few fighting games available on the NES, Tournament Fighters was the 8-bit companion to two 16-bit fighters of the same title. Don’t let their names fool you, the NES, SNES, and Genesis editions of TMNT: Tournament Fighters are three completely unique games.
The NES iteration is most notable for its ambitious execution of a genre seldom seen on its console, as well as its late release which had led to it being among the rarest NES games.
Its gameplay is very much in line to what Street Fighter veterans have grown to expect from the genre – each match is played in a best out of three rounds fashion, with the basic goal being to deplete your opponent’s health bar in the given time limit.
There are a number of quirks unique to this game, however, such as the inclusion of a “power orb”, which will spawn on the battlefield, at which point either player can pick it up, then throw it as a powerful projectile via a QCF + P motion.
When used properly, this system can serve either as a comeback mechanic, or a tool to press one’s advantage, and helps to make the game more dynamic.
There are a number of options to choose from, the most important being the turbo setting that boosts match speed. The game can be played against a friend in versus matches, against a group of friends in the “tournament” mode, or played alone in either a single match format, or the story mode.
The story mode allows only for the four main turtles to be playable, while Hothead, Casey, and Shredder serve as boss characters.
All characters are playable in the versus settings, and have their own unique set of special moves, normals, throws, and stats. Considering the NES controller has only two buttons, thus you’re given only a punch and a kick button to work with, it’s remarkable that they managed to squeeze so much out of the hardware, creating a competent competitive fighter that even Capcom likely thought to be impossible to create.
While practically unrivaled as an NES fighting game (unless factoring in the Famicom-only Joy Mech Fight), TMNT: TF is an outstanding fighter in its own right.