Why am I the one who should review the new Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles computer game? I'm 35 years old, I don't have kids, I'm
not a comic book collector and I have a favorite Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtle - that's why. My favorite is Donatello and I love
the trademark symbol after the name - we ain't talking no
fifteenth century Italian sculptor - we're talking a little
amphibious cash cow. I've read the TMNT comic books, I've seen
the TMNT cartoon, I saw the TMNT movie, I even own some TMNT
action figures and a TMNT toy blimp (sold separately). I am the
one to tell you about TMNT - The game.
Wiggle your joystick around, jump and shoot, that's the game.
There's no text to type in, and there's no pesky thinking to do.
You just run around hitting things until they die and what could
be wrong with that? The wit of the original TMNT story has
fallen away. Maybe people don't even remember that the words
"Teenage," "Mutant," "Ninja," and "Turtle" are funny. The game
retains a few of the original ideas - our protagonists eat
nothing by pizza, they're lead by a Zen rat named Splinter and
they're fighting Shredder, the Darth Vader of comic book ninja.
In the game you're trying to rescue April O'Neil, their
electronic journalist buddy. I wasn't skilled enough to rescue
her but it didn't bother me much. As far as I'm concerned all TV
journalists should be pulled into the sewers and killed by
mutated mystics. The graphics on the game are good, you can
visually tell the Turtles apart, which is more than I could say
for the movie. It has music, not inspiring music but, jeez, it's
a video game. It's a one player game but you can change Turtles
in mid sewer to use each Turtle to his best ability. Of course,
I couldn't tell their abilities apart (one of them had a bigger
stick but whether that matters or not, I've been told, is a
question of taste).
The game really has little to do with the TMNT. It's just a run,
jump and shoot game and the fact that they're Ninja Turtles has
nothing to do with the game. Twenty-six years ago it would have
been The Beatles video game. A friend of mine in LA has a
Pin the Tail on Mickey Mouse game. It's really old and it's printed
on newspaper. It cost about a nickel to make. My friend paid 35
bucks and it's now worth a couple hundred. He's a Disney
collector and says he loves Mickey Mouse. He doesn't really love
Mickey Mouse. He doesn't think Mickey Mouse is funny. He's not
going play the stupid Mickey Mouse party game. But Mickey is
part of his culture. It's reminds him of his youth and it's an
antique. So, if you like living in a time of "Heros on the Half
Shell" - buy the game. Play it if you want, It's fun. But it
might be better to just keep it sealed in the box and sell it to
a TMNT collector in 40 years. It'll be worth a lot of
money . . . and I have a beta test copy.