Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers (Game Boy)

I’m on a role beating games from my childhood, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers included.  Though truth be told, there needs to be an asterisk next to the previous sentence.  I used a Game Genie code for Infinite Health to get to the end of the game.  Back from the Sewers is a thoroughly challenging game and I’m not sure it’s possible to beat without cheating.  It’s fun until the end of the second level, after which, it becomes too difficult to even fathom.

The first level is great.  You’re being attacked by foot soldiers in the sewers from the front and the back, and the level has sort of a rhythm game quality to it.  The level takes place on a strictly 2D plane, and you need to hit the enemies with split second timing or else you take damage.  Making it to the end without taking any damage feels like an accomplishment.  The second level follows suit above ground, with a second platform you can jump on and manhole covers you can fall in.  It ceases to be fun by the second level’s boss, who’s supremely unfair, shooting bullets and jumping at you, while a foot soldier in the windows above drops pots on your head. 

There are any number of things that can damage you from this point on, including robots, robot dogs, rolling barrels, rolling boulders, and fire rising from the ground.  To get it exactly right where you hit / avoid all of these things and more through the remaining four levels is nearly impossible, not to mention the bosses remain unfair.  To the game’s credit, if you die as one turtle — or get “captured”, as the game says — you can start back as another turtle who hasn’t been captured.

The game actually has really great music, of all things.  It’s sticks with you after you’re done playing.  On top of that, there are voice samples, which must have been quite a feat to get out of the Game Boy’s limited hardware.  You might want to check out a GBS file of the game’s soundtrack.  It’s quality chiptune music.

Back from the Sewers can probably only be completed with Game Genie, but I’m glad I saw the ending, and can consider another game from my youth beaten.  It’s not very long, and the soundtrack keeps you going most of all, but don’t expect much from this title.  Surprisingly enough, it came out the same year Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time was released for the arcade, considered one of the best arcade games ever made.  The console port of Turtles in Time came to Super Nintendo the following year.  Try that instead.

2/5

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