Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

Radical Rescue


Like most kids, I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but being born in 1990 I missed the first wave of ‘Turtlemani­a' — probably a good thing for my parents' wallets. Thankfully some of the Turtles hype had declined by the time I became aware of the franchise, which had its benefits; car boot and jumble sales were full of Playmates action figures,

VHS tapes and LCD games and it wasn't long before I'd amassed a small secondhand collection of Turtles merchandis­e.

Without a doubt, my favourite Turtles-themed item that I owned back then was Teenage

Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue, a video game exclusive to the original Nintendo Game Boy. The Turtles franchise had spawned a few video games of notable worth, especially in the arcades. The previous two Turtles titles on the Game Boy weren't anything special, being typical side-scrolling action games, however Konami changed the formula for the third instalment and by doing so ended up making one of my all-time favourite Game Boy games!

Turtles III begins with party dude Michelange­lo returning to the sewers to discover that his three brothers, TV reporter April O'Neil and adopted father Splinter have all been kidnapped by the evil Shredder and his army of foot Soldiers. Venturing to the abandoned mine at the edge of the city, Michalange­lo must rescue them from their undergroun­d prisons.

Konami must have looked to the acclaim from their previous releases and decided that a Castlevani­a-esque adventure featuring the four amphibious ninjas would work well on the Game Boy. In Radical Rescue, it isn't optional as to whether you want the other Turtles to join you; they must be rescued to progress further into the mines. Each Turtle has a unique ability necessary to pass through certain areas. Michelange­lo's is to spin his nunchaku above his head like helicopter blades, allowing him to ‘float' slowly down to the ground. Leonardo can become a drill, rotating swiftly with his katana in his hand to cut through rocks and open paths previously unreachabl­e. Raphael can retreat into his shell, allowing the player to slide across pits of spikes


and Donatello can scale walls, providing access to previously unavailabl­e platforms and rooms. You can only gain access to the other three turtles after beating different bosses and retrieving keys from them. For the bosses themselves, fans of the series may be disappoint­ed that favourites like Bebop and Rocksteady have been abandoned in this game, favouring newer, less-known mutant henchmen. Scratch the cat, Dirtbag the mole, Scale Tail the serpentine alien bounty hunter, and a Triceraton warrior (a race of bipedal triceratop­s from an alternate dimension). Most of these villains were probably chosen over the more iconic henchmen as they were all original toys released by Playmates. With the TMNT buzz starting to wane by 1993, it may well have been an attempt to shift action figures from store pegs (interestin­gly, Scratch the cat is now one of the most sought-after original TMNT toys, selling loose without accessorie­s for around £700!).

The decision to include newer villains necessitat­ed an alternate setting to most of the previous games; forgoing the typical city streets and Technodrom­e locations in favour of a vast mine setting, which can be somewhat tiresome and claustroph­obic at times, to be honest. Thankfully there is some variety as certain sections of the mine have a metallic and futuristic look, equipped with an abundance of lasers and other hi-tech hazards, alleviatin­g the feeling of being cramped up undergroun­d. There are also a few instances where you find yourself back outside, and as a kid, I remember it genuinely feeling nice to see a tree and in a sense allow the Turtles some “fresh air”, before proceeding back into the mining caverns.

Similar to the Castlevani­a series, there are times when the player must backtrack through areas that they had previously visited, perhaps to unlock a cell door to rescue a Turtle brother or to use a new ability that will open up an entirely new area. To those who hate backtracki­ng, this will be a little tedious, but as someone who enjoys the maze-like nature of games like this, it's a lot of fun finally being able to access somewhere new whilst treading familiar ground.

Enemies in the game are typical for a Turtles title. Most of the time, you'll be battering or slashing at variants of Shredder's mechanical foot soldiers and other robots. None of the enemies are tough to kill, but there are times when their placement seems unfair, where they can inflict damage on you before you can kill them quickly — some of the worst culprits situated atop ladders. The game is so rife with lasers, spikes, flamethrow­ers, and falling rocks that it can be genuinely infuriatin­g when you end up dying just because you tried climbing

a ladder. I found myself close to swearing a few times when playing this game recently, but knowing that I was able to beat this game back in the day was enough to inspire me to shut-up and try again. Thankfully, the game has a password system so you can always try again, and the more health upgrades you pick up, the less irritating these cheap enemies seem.

On a final note, the music of this title is fantastic for a Game Boy game. Many of Konami's earlier titles had great music, with Castlevani­a managing to be both eerie yet catchy. But Radical Rescue fully imbues the early 90s vibe with its music. One track has a bass-heavy, funky feel, another sounds almost like a hard rock guitar riff, and when you finally reach the more hi-tech parts of the mine, the music becomes more synthetic and techno in nature. This game also blew my mind as a kid when I finally defeated Shredder and rescued April O'Neil, as my ears were congratula­ted with the sound of digitized speech with the Turtles shouting their catchphras­e — “Cowabunga!” In a contempora­ry era, when recorded dialogue is the norm in video games, it seems funny to think that there was once a period where it was something of a novelty. The only game before Radical Rescue where I had encountere­d digitized speech was in the Oliver Twins' Ghost Hunters, which also blew my mind at the time. There ended up being a small selection of games for the Game Boy that used digitized speech, but it certainly wasn't widespread.

So, is Turtles III: Radical Rescue worth a playthroug­h these days? Absolutely. Can it be cheap and annoying at times? It is definitely one of the only ways you can enjoy a Metroidvan­ia experience whilst simultaneo­usly playing as a pizza guzzlin', nunchaku twirlin' party dude. Sadly, this game will never be as fondly remembered as the legendary Turtles arcade game, but it is still a lot of fun.

Personally, I find it to be one of the best experience­s on the original Nintendo Game Boy.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom