Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters

Go To
Box arts for the SNES, NES, and Genesis versions.

Turtle Combat!

A fighting game series by Konami based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's a series, not a Multi-Platform release, because even though there are three games with the same name on the NES, Super NES, and Sega Genesis, each one is a Reformulated Game. All were released in 1993.

The SNES version would be most familiar with Street Fighter fans, as it has the most Follow the Leader elements. The other versions had different mechanics, due to fewer buttons (the Genesis game has no special compatibility with the six-button controller).

Aside from the four Turtles themselves, who were in all three versions of the game, each game also had its own unique roster:

  • NES: Casey Jones, Shredder, Hothead
  • SNES: Cyber Shredder, War, Aska, Chrome Dome, Wingnut, Armaggon, Rat King, Karai
  • Genesis: Casey Jones, Ray Fillet, April O'Neil, Sisyphus
    • AI-only boss characters: Triceraton, Krang, Karai

The three games were included in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, which was released for all platforms in August 2022. This version added a few improvements to the games.

Compare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash Up.

Tropes of the games in general:

  • Ascended Extra: Various minor characters are actual fighters in games. This goes for April O'Neil and Casey Jones, especially the former in the Genesis version (who was a Distressed Damsel in all the other Turtles games up to this point).
  • Canon Foreigner: Aska (SNES) and Sisyphus (Genesis) are Konami-created original characters for the games, though Aska was based on Mitsu from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery:
    • In the NES version, if you beat Shredder in easy mode, Splinter won't congratulate the turtles but there's a message that encourages you to challenge the normal mode next time. If you do beat normal mode, Splinter does congratulates the turtles and have them celebrate their victory, but there's no staff roll and a message will show up and encourage you to challenge harder difficulties next time.
    • In the Genesis version, if you beat Karai in easier and normal difficulty, you don't rescue Splinter but Karai taunts you by saying that you only succeeded in destroying a clone of her, and she's still waiting for your challenge, followed by her evil laugh before the staff roll. After that, the text appears says "Challenge Next Level!!" and you were booted back to the title screen of the game. To rescue Splinter and get the true ending, you need to beat the game at the hardest difficulty.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: Each game features a different Ninja Turtle as its cover character. Since no fourth version of the game was ever made, Michelangelo was left out. Curiously, Konami never thought of promoting Radical Rescue (the third Game Boy game) alongside the Tournament Fighters games, despite being released at the same time and having Michelangelo as the default character.
  • Reformulated Game: All three games were promoted as different versions of the same game.

Tropes of the Genesis version:

  • Action Girl: April O'Neil is based more on her Took a Level in Badass self from the comics than the cartoon version. She wears a sports bra and miniskirt (an outfit very similar to her "Ninja Newscaster" action figure, or to Blaze from Streets of Rage) and hands out flying German suplexes.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • Play as Ray Fillet. Crouch. Use his strong kick. Win game. (He slides forward and the AI doesn't recognize the sliding part, so it never blocks).
    • April's Down-Up Charge move: A Backflip to Jump to Diving Elbow to Suplex move. This is very effective against anyone who doesn't have an anti-air move. You can button mash the attack to trigger the suplex move. For those without an anti-air move, it will either try to use a special move to dodge out of it or hold block. If you button mash for the suplex, the AI will likely block instead due to mashing your attack inputs, but leaves them open for the guaranteed suplex grab. Why is this important if certain enemies can anti-air out of it? Because the 3 bosses have no anti-air moves. Regular cast? You can just press start on the opposing controller (or unplug player 1 to plug in player 2) and defeat the regular cast to go against the 3 bosses. With this exploit, you can easily complete the game in the hardest difficulty in this matter, thus getting the true ending.
  • Canon Foreigner: Sisyphus the mutant beetle is an entirely original character to this game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: If you don't know how to perform an A.I. Breaker or how to game the computer in general, you're basically done for. Their attacks are frame-perfect and can move before you've recovered from your own, tend to have absurd priority, and are so spammable that it's entirely possible you might not even be able to get an attack in before they down you with hyper-aggressive play.
  • Darker and Edgier: The art style of this game is decidedly grittier, closer in style with the Mirage Comics one. The lighting is also darker compared to the SNES version. Plot-wise, instead of a seemingly innocuous tournament, the Turtles and other playable good guys have been cloned to kidnap Splinter, forcing the gang to go on a Rescue Arc that spans through various planets rather than 'having fun with tournament'. The clone turtles, in particular, have eerie mechanized voice filter that their "Cowabunga!" victory cries sound very distorted and disturbing.
  • Dub Name Change: Sisyphus is known as Musha Beetle in Japan.
  • Evil Knockoff: The AI opponents in Arcade mode up until the bosses are Palette Swap clones of the playable roster created by Krang.
  • Fanservice Pack: In addition to April's makeover, Karai went bare-thighed in this game.
  • Guide Dang It!: The desperation moves. There's only a vague hint in the manual stating they even exist, and to perform them, you need to use the taunt button, which serves no purpose otherwise and if you screw up the often-complicated motion, your character is now a sitting duck.
  • Lightning Bruiser: April flies all over the stage like a dervish. Her normal attacks do as much damage as anyone else's normal attacks, plus her German suplexes do quite a bit more and she's agile enough she can easily get close enough to execute them. She's by far the toughest non-boss character in the game when controlled by the AI.
  • Perfect Play A.I.: The biggest complaint about the game. Even on the easiest difficulty, many say that the game is way too hard.
  • Promoted to Playable: In Cowabunga Collection version, you can set the game to let you play as Triceraton, Krang's Android and Karai. All three were formerly unplayable unless you hack the game.
  • Scenery Porn: The stage backgrounds are very detailed.
  • SNK Boss:
    • Triceraton. His throw is spammable, much like the Turtles' A throw, and unlike when fighting AI Leo and Raph, AI Triceraton LOVES to spam it whenever possible, it's not rare that once Triceraton grabs you for a throw, you're 90% losing the round.
    • Karai, as the final boss, repeats Triceraton's strategy but with extra aggressiveness, and she usually camps in your place in case you get knocked down with anything just so she can start the throw death loop.

Tropes of the SNES version:

  • Action Girl: Aska and Karai.
  • Adaptation Species Change: War in Adventures was a Demon (and possibly a living puppet). In this game, War is identified as an alien in his ending and called a mutant during the story mode. Despite this, War's profile still lists his origin as "underworld".
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: In Adventures, War's powers consisted of making life-like illusions and firing off his spikes like missiles. In this game, War's super powers are jumping very high and turning into a yellow ball of energy.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: In terms of Street Fighter characters...
    • Leo is the "Ryu", having the same basic moveset and character ending.
    • Mikey stands-in for "Ken", with faster multi-hitting attacks, albeit with charge motion inputs rather than quarter circles.
    • Raph is the same as M. Bison (Dictator), having charge motion inputs with his "Power Drill" and "Chest Buster" being his renditions of Bison's Psycho Crusher and Scissor Kick respectively.
    • Cyber Shredder, oddly enough, plays like Balrog (Boxer). His standard special mimics Balrog's 'Dash Upper' and his Aura Crusher is the same as Balrog's 'Buffalo Headbutt'note .
    • Chrome Dome combines aspects of Dhalsim (extendable/retractable limbs) and Zangief ('Electric Piledriver') into one character.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The Turtles have deeper, gravelly voices in the American version. They go from sounding all like Don in the Japanese version and the arcades to sounding like Dean Winchester from Supernatural.
  • Animal Motifs: One of Aska's recurring motifs are butterflies - they appear as afterimages on her Kocho no Mai ("Butterfly Dance") special move, and they surround her as she performs her victory pose.
  • Arrowgram: Starts off its Story mode with one of these being fired into the Turtles' home, said arrow actually sticking into the brick wall.
  • Ascended Extra: War was just a Villain of the Week whom only appeared in four issues within TMNT Adventures as one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War wasn't even the leader of the group, which was Death, had little characterization and simply disappeared when the puppet Death used to control him was destroyed. In this game, War appears as a main character in a ten character roster, with the other Horseman nowhere in sight
  • Ass Kicks You: Aska's down+HK special normal results in an attack much like Yuri Sakazaki's hip thrust.
  • Attack Reflector: Cyber Shredder's Aura Shield repels standard projectiles.
  • Blow You Away: Aska's Rage Move ("Tornado Attack") involves her summoning a giant whirlwind with her ninja magic. Although it doesn't hit as hard as the other Rage Moves, it's fast, un-reflectable, and difficult to avoid.
  • Breath Weapon: Michelangelo and Armaggon both fire their projectiles ("Dragon Breath" and "Aqua Burst" respectively) from their mouths.
  • Bowdlerize: Aska wears a thong leotard in the Japanese version, and a full one in the other releases. Her victory animation in the Japanese version also has her breasts jiggling while she raises her arm in victory, whereas in the overseas versions, she uses the same animation pattern as Kunai Spin Attack. Funnily enough, the Japanese came out later making this an Inverted Trope!
  • Canon Foreigner: Aska is the game's only original character (although she was based on Mitsu from the third live-action movie).
  • Damsel in Distress: April, naturally (story mode only), although you also have to rescue Splinter.
  • Diner Brawl: Raph's fighting stage is a diner/pizzeria.
  • Expy: In the pre-release builds of the game, Aska was originally named Mitsu, who was a supporting character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, although the final version of the game treats her as a new character.
  • Free-Floor Fighting: Rat King's stage in the Japanese version featured breakable walls.
  • Final Boss: Karai is the Final Boss like in the Genesis version.
  • Hurricane Kick: Donatello does a headstanding hurricane kick.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Raphael, and Wingnut have the most proper forms of the attack, but many of the other characters have something close.
  • Leotard of Power: Aska wears one, with an uwagi jacket on top, as part of her fighting attire.
  • Limit Break: Available in Arcade and 2P Versus mode only, once each character's rage meter maxes outnote . They're all performed the same way: simply press HP+HK simultaneously.
  • Market-Based Title: The Super Famicom version was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Warriors.
  • Mirror Match: Every character has an alt color version for when the same characters are chosen.
  • Moveset Clone: While all four Turtles look about 90% identical, Leonardo and Michelangelo are the ones that fit this trope the closest; Leo is the classic Ryu-type fighter, while Mikey is more Ken-like with faster, multi-hitting attacks (albeit with charge motions rather than quarter-circles).
  • Murderous Thighs: Aska's "Facemask" special throw, which involves her leaping up onto the opponent's shoulders, grabbing their head between her thighs and forcing them over backwards, with Aska herself jumping off as they fall.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mikey's rage move ("Beat Rush") is essentially his rendition of Ryo and Robert's Ryuko Ranbu. From its fullscreen dash, to being unblockable.
  • Promoted to Playable: Cowabunga Collection allows to unlock Rat King and Karai for use in the campaign. In the original SNES version, they could only be played with a code and only in 2 player VS mode.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs:
    • Leonardo's rage move ("Millennium Wave") floods the screen with a cone shaped, high-speed barrage of blue energy fists.
    • Karai has two variations, her (jump) down forward+HP special normal results in a multi-hitting downward spiral attack. While pressing LP+HP together causes her to auto jump away from her opponent before unleashing a rapid-fire barrage from above.
  • Razor Wind: Leonardo's "Shining Cutter" and his Flash Cutter.
  • Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: Wingnut's in-game profile states his hobby is playing "Castlevania 2095".
    • If interpreted as a Numbered Sequel, Castlevania is very far from having 2095 games.
    • If interpreted as a Title by Year, back at the time of the game's original release, the latest year the Castlevania timeline has reached then is 1792 (Castlevania: Rondo of Blood). By the time of The Cowabunga Collection's release in 2022, with Castlevania video games having gone dormant in real life, its timeline has only gone up to the year 2036 (2005's Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow).
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Mikey's fighting stage is set atop a skyscraper, overlooking Manhattan.
  • Roundhouse Kick: All the Turtles have the same standing HK.
  • Shark Man: Armaggon.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shock and Awe: Chrome Dome's "Chrome Spark", Cyber Shredder's "Lightning Crusher", and Karai's "Dark Thunder".
  • Shoryuken: Michelangelo and Aska have the purest forms. Others have moves that come close.
  • Spam Attack: Donatello's rapid bo attack, Michelangelo's super move is a series of rapid kicks and punches up close.
  • Spell My Name with an S: It's widely assumed by fans that there was a localization screw-up with Aska's name, which should have been spelled "Asuka"... except that it really is spelled "Aska" in the Japanese version.
  • Spin Attack:
    • Leo's "Endless Screw" causes him to spin toward the opponent with both his katana extended. If the first hit connects, it does a modest amount of damage and knocks the opponent down. But if the first hit is blocked, the remaining 3-hits only inflct chip damage.
    • Raph's "Power Drill" is the same as Bison's Psycho Crusher. If blocked, Raph hits the opponent multiple times as he corkscrews past them. But if it connects, it only hits once and knocks them down.
    • Mikey's 'Rolling Bomber' is a multi-hitting version of Blanka's Cannonball attack.
    • Aska's "Hayakuzan" ("Quick Slash") is a multi-hitting, safer, version of Leo's Endless Screw. Like him, she spin attacks using her kunai.
  • Spirited Competitor: Unlike the others, Leo doesn't care about the tournament prize money. All he wants is the chance to test himself, then continues his training afterward.
  • SNK Boss: Rat King and Karai. The latter even has a one button infinite.
  • Take Over the World: Used for Shredder and Armaggon's endings. In Shredder's case, the tournament was simply a way getting rid of the Turtles, so there'd be no one to oppose him. Meanwhile, Armaggon uses his prize winnings to finance his global takeover.
  • Take That!: The tagline on the US box art goes "No street fighter has ever seen fighters or fighting like this!" Its back cover blurbs double down, calling this game's roster "the greatest street fighters" and claiming that "you've mastered many street fighting techniques. But until you've confronted the new Ultimate Attack Move, you might as well have been fighting your little sister."
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: If Leo unleashes 'Millennium Wave', your best bet is to duck and cover, as blocking it from a standing position can shave off nearly ¼ of your life meter. But if he actually connects with it, it will rapidly deplete 90% of his opponent's health!
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Rat King in the 1987 cartoon enacted his evil schemes by mind-controlling rats. Here, he's a straight-up brawler and professional wrestler.
  • Traintop Battle: The fight against Karai takes place atop a moving elevated car.
  • Unblockable Attack:
    • Michelangelo's rage move, as noted in the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown entry.
    • Thanks to a Good Bad Bug, you can make any move an overhead... including low attacks, making them unblockable.
  • Unwilling Suspension: In the Story mode, April and Splinter, although, April is more distinctly Bound and Gagged.
  • Whole Costume Reference: In the concert stage, the singer is wearing Madonna's pointy bra.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Rat King's "Rat Bomber" and "Rodent Suplex" moves. Chrome Dome's piledriver, Raphael's German suplex, and Aska's Facemask/Shermie Spiral count as well.

Tropes of the NES Version:

  • Breath Weapon: Hothead has a breathing fire attack.
  • Chromosome Casting: All characters in the NES version are male due to Karai's absence.
  • Covers Always Lie: Leonardo is depicted on the cover with his katana swords, but in game, he and the other Turtles forego their weapons in favor of fighting barehanded.
  • Draconic Humanoid/Our Dragons Are Different: Hothead, whom originated from the Archie comics, though his nickname originated from the toyline.
  • Final Boss: Shredder is the game's final boss.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: A type of Covers Always Lie. Hothead in-game has yellow skin, but the cover art (like his the action figure) gives him red skin. There is a red Hothead for the second player, but it goes unused due to the game not allowing two HotHeads to appear together on screen.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Relegated to a powerup that can be acquired during a match from an item dropped by Splinter, although Shredder has constant access to a ground variant.
  • Minimalist Cast: The NES version has 7 characters to choose: the 4 Turtles, Casey Jones, Hothead and Shredder.
  • Mirror Match: Averted with Hothead. When the game is played normally, the Watsonian explanation given in the game's manual is that the dragon spirit inhabiting the character wouldn't permit such a battle to take place. Using a Game Mod to force it will reveal the Doylist reason is because it causes a helluva lot of flicker in the sprites.note 
    • However, The Cowabunga Collection not only lets you activate a mode that lets you have the fight of two Hotheads, it also includes an option to remove the flickering outright.
  • Moveset Clone: The 4 Turtles have almost the same sprites with different palettes, and their basic movesets are the same.
  • Playing with Fire: Hothead can breathe fire.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: The only game of the three having an all-male roster (The Genesis version has April, the SNES version has Aska, and both have Karai).
  • Truer to the Text: In regards to the appearances of Casey Jones and the Shredder: