Video Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
"Anyone unfortunate enough to have a Nintendo device in the house will be familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who star in one of the most insidiously addictive Nintendo games. The turtles live in the subways beneath Manhattan, where, exposed to radiation, they have grown into teenager-sized, intelligent creatures, and have absorbed such items from the culture as surfer jargon." — Roger EbertA side-scrolling platform game released in 1989 (1990 for the PAL region) for the Nintendo Entertainment System and 1991 for computers. As you could tell by the title, it was a video game adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which had become a cash cow franchise towards the end of The Eighties thanks to the hit cartoon. While it did borrow some elements from the cartoon, such as Master Splinter being a human-turned-rat and the villainous duo of Bebop and Rocksteady, the art style was heavily influenced by the comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, which a lot of people don't know said cartoon was based on, even to this very day. Perhaps due to brand recognition, this game was one of the best selling NES titles published by a third-party company. It also has the distinction of being the fifth game reviewed by James Rolfe's "The Angry Video Game Nerd" character, then known as the Angry Nintendo Nerd.The four eponymous characters—brothers Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael—are in hot pursuit of the Foot Clan, the most dangerous criminal empire New York has ever seen. Their babe-licious human friend, Channel 6 News field reporter April O'Neil, had just been kidnapped by the Shredder, the deadly leader of the Foot. To give you an idea of how deadly he is, the instruction manual describes him as "a villain more vicious than an army of mind altered Bruce Lees." That's deadly. His plan? Brainwash April and train her in ninjitsu so she will become part of the Foot! The Turtles must save April, storm the Shredder's Technodrome lair, and steal his
This game provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer
- All There in the Manual: It's only in the instruction book that it's mentioned that the Turtles are after Shredder's Life Transformer gun; as a result, those who don't have the manual are of course confused by Splinter turning human at the end of the game.
- Beef Gate: If you try walking around the building from the starting area, a roller (One-Hit KO) will approach as an attempt to guide you into the sewer. However, you can walk around it as it approaches by keeping to the left or simply hit it with your weapon.
- Big Dam Plot: Area 2, which has you trying to stop the Foot Clan from blowing up a dam.
- Completely Different Title: The Famicom version's title, Geki Kame Ninja Den, roughly translates "Fierce Turtle Ninja Legend". This was before the Japanese dubs of the cartoons and films were made, since the later games kept the original American moniker in Japan.
- Difficulty Spike: Area 3, and it only gets worse from there.
- Down the Drain: Area 2.
- Eternal Engine: The Technodrome.
- Guide Dang It: Area 4's correct hatch sequence. Area 5 has the Technodrome, which is mentioned in depth below.
- Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The further along in the game you get, the easier the bosses get. Shredder in particular has a very predictable movement pattern and can be defeated without the player taking a single hit.
- High Voltage Death: One of the most notoriously annoying levels in the game is an underwater level where you have to swim through obstacles that can zap the turtles with electricity if you don't time your movements right. There are many of them, they're hard to avoid, and they will kill you over time if you're not extremely careful with timing your movements.
- Luck-Based Mission: In Area 5, the boss of the Area (The Technodrome) can be at the end of one of three caves. You have no way of knowing which one it'll be in short of trying each one and hoping it's there. Making this even worse is the fact that it's most likely (A 1 in 2 chance) to be at the end of the furthest, most difficult cave.
- Marathon Level: Areas 3 and 4.
- Also, the final area.
- The Maze: The third (where you rescue Splinter) and fourth (the Foot Clan air base) areas have a maze of some sort.
- Never Say "Die": The Turtles are always 'captured' upon losing all their health.
- Justified, in that you have a few chances to rescue captured turtles later, clearly still alive.
- Non-Standard Game Over: If you fail to diffuse the bombs in the underwater portion of Area 2, the bombs explode, causing an instant game over, regardless of how many turtles were remaining.
- Nintendo Hard: Area 2 is the infamous swimming stage, level 3 is a maze to find Splinter (though once you have the missiles, you can go right to where he is if you know the way obviously. Level 4 is a "choose your path" with different roads to take to get to the end and towards the end are instant kill traps like fire pits and sliding spike walls. Level 5 is full of tough enemies and has a randomly placed boss who is difficult to defeat and level 6 is FULL of tough enemies. The jet pack equipped laser troopers will make you tear your hair out. This game is TOUGH. But it is certainly NOT impossible.
- Oddball in the Series: A rare first-installment case. All of its successors were Beat Em Ups that are held up as quality licensed games. This installment was a Platform Game best remembered for being Nintendo Hard.
- Super Drowning Skills and Super Not-Drowning Skills: The Turtles know how to swim in Stage 2 but they suddenly lose that skill afterwards. Justified in the latter case as the currents are too strong to swim in. If a turtle falls in the water, they aren't "captured". They're simply carried back to the beginning of the level.
- Totally Radical: The instruction manual is full of flip lingo, dude.
- Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: There's a gap between two platforms that is about as wide as your character and impossible to jump across, as the ceiling is too low and you end up hitting it and falling. The solution is to simply walk over it.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: The North American MS-DOS port features a jump that can't be made unless you cheat. Is it any wonder why this version's considered a porting disaster?
- Many people think this refers to the one-square gap that you have to walk over instead of jumping it. Nope. It's a jump in the sewer that was inexplicably modified from the original version to have a wider gap and lower ceiling. The UK Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles release corrected this by extending the platform.
- Luckily, there is a Good Bad Bug that allows you to bypass this problem, as seen on the YMMV page. 
See Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the information on the franchise in general and similarly named works.
Yoshi's Island UsefulNotes/The 16-bit Era of Console Video Games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
Tecmo Bowl UsefulNotes/The 8-bit Era of Console Video Games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game