There's no understating how huge TMNT was for me back in 1987. I mean, even to this day TMNT is pretty huge. But by the time this NES game rolled around in 1989, the Ninja Turtles were the biggest thing on the planet for me. So having a a Nintendo game to play was kind of a big deal.
This was one of those games that "everybody" I knew had a copy. Heck, I had it on NES and somehow we also had a DOS copy on our PC back then as well. It was one of those classic games where you'd tell your friends on the playground all the tips and tricks you figured out. I guess all I'm trying to say with all this is that the NES TMNT game was a bit hit with my circle of friends. And as a fan of the franchise to this day, the game still means a lot to me.
And yet I recognize it's not perfect. It's actually far from perfect. I could sit here and nitpick it all day. It's that far from perfect. I could talk about the weak range of Raphael and Michelangelo's weapons. Or the crazy slowdown that results from Ultra throwing a million enemies at you at once. Or the poor hit detection. Or certain jumps that require such precision that you'll have to retry them over and over. But alas, nostalgia blinds me on this one. And I'm willing to let that happen.
I've been using a SNES controller to play games on my Retron 5 lately, and this feels really good on old NES games like this. I love that overhead map music in this game by the way. Sorry, random. Anyway, I pretty much coasted right on over to the dam level and then of course I hit a wall. Ugh. That level's always been brutal for me. There's one part where I can't seem to make it through without touching the electric grass stuff over and over. It's bad. I had just the last bomb left to defuse - I could SEE IT - and zap. Ugh.
That's my biggest takeaway from the original NES game. The game is damn difficult. Like probably unfairly so at times. But I really do still enjoy it and appreciate it. Don't get me wrong, there are far better Ninja Turtles games out there. But also, there's way worse ones. Or at least less interesting ones.