Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project
By Jason Vincion Tuesday, 13 Jan 2009

I remember avoiding this game when I was younger, thinking that it was a cheap rip-off of the 2nd TMNT game. My avoidance ended during the summer of 1999 when I was on vacation in Seaside, Oregon. A store that sold a large assortment of miscellaneous things had a loose copy on sale for eight dollars, so I picked it up on a whim. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in the throes of TMNT nostalgia and decided to spend some time playing it. I must say that the game turned out a lot better than I thought it would.

In this installment of TMNT, the plot finds the heroes enjoying a vacation in Florida. They turn on the tube and see that Shredder has kidnapped April O’Neil and is threatening to take over Manhattan. Of course, the Turtles go after Shredder to stop his plans and get April back – they wouldn’t be good Turtles if they didn’t. While “stealing” Manhattan Island is an interesting idea, it’s a rather basic plot otherwise.

The controls for TMNT 3 are rather good, and it’s easy to tell that Konami improved them since the last game. B is attack, A is jump, down and B is a strong attack that wipes out the Foot Soldiers in one blow, A then B is to do a jump kick, and B and A together are a wipeout attack which also drains a bar of your energy. Knockback is a little on the long side, but you can’t get hurt while knocked back. Overall, I don’t have any big complaints as far as the controls are concerned.

The game is fairly difficult, but it has a standard learning curve. There are eight stages that are jam packed with enemies and the bosses are somewhat difficult to defeat if you don’t know the pattern. Basically, if you want to play this one to the end, you’ve got to grit your teeth and go for it. It’ll take a while, but it’s not impossible. Fortunately, you have four lives per continue and three continues. You also get an extra life for every 50,000 points you accumulate, which isn’t an amount that’s too difficult to get.

Like I said earlier, it’s a hard game, but it works out if you don’t mind playing through it in one sitting, as the game doesn’t have a password or save system. One or the other would be handy, as each stage takes about 15 minutes to get through without using a continue. I can’t say it ruins the gaming experience by not having one, though.

The graphics in the game are rather colorful, if not a little bit washed out. The Turtles are a rather light shade of green, but that’s just nitpicking. The backgrounds are nice and really add to the atmosphere of the game. One thing that bothers me about the graphics is that if you get more than three characters together in a line, the graphics fade and blink out on the characters. It actually becomes very distracting, as it occurs rather frequently.

In the audio department, Konami is known for their good music and the tunes for TMNT 3 don’t fail to please. While the music is nothing extraordinary, it keeps the game moving along nicely and never gets annoying. The sound effects compliment the music nicely – the thuds, explosions, and digitized cowabungas are all great.

All things considered, TMNT3 is probably the best of the series and one of the better latter-day NES games (1992-94). It plays rather similar to TMNT 2, but it improves on nearly all the problems with that game. I definitely like the fact that you can change between Turtles after you lose a life, and that all of the bosses in this game relate to either the comic book, the movies, or the cartoon show. It’s definitely a fun game that anyone should give a try, especially if they were a Turtle fan as a youth. I know that I was and that definitely hasn’t changed over the years! Cowabunga!


3 Responses to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project”

  1. Andrew Raub Says:

    Ah… I too avoided this game in fear that it would not live up to TMNT2. Well, it assuredly does. This is definitely one of those games that is a little better if you’re a 10 year old with 2 hours to waste.

  2. Charlie Goodrich Says:

    2 hours of this game is no waste, Andrew.

  3. Zach Patterson Says:

    while i’ve played the TMNT NES sequels, i never really fell in love with any of them like i did the original arcade brawler, and later, Turtles in Time. this is still a solid game though. i think i was just spoiled by playing the prettier, more recent ones before this and TMNT2.

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