Thursday, August 7, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (GB) Review

Written: August 3rd-7th, 2014
(As played on Super Game Boy)
Alternate Names: Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan [|O|] / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [|O|]
Year: 1990 | Developed and Published by: Konami
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit... unless I'm talking about something else.  You know one of the things I love?  Ninjas!  =)  Well,...
except for the ones from Seiken Densetsu 3; now they were just a pain in the ass>=(  All the other enemies from that game are awesome, though.
Seeing as we're in August, it is with a sad heart to report that Summer will be nearing its end.  =(  I've done plenty of fun things during the season, one of them being watching a lot of fun Summer movies in theatres (especially the recent Guardians of the Galaxy, which may be the best MCU movie since Marvel's The Avengers two years ago).... errm, mostly fun.
Sorry Godzilla (2014), until I see something worse you're the weakest out of the nine (so far) movies I've seen this Summer.
Yes, I'd say that 2014's Summer was full of must sees overall; but you know what I will not be watching this season?  The newest reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  And it's not because Michael Bay and Megan Fox are involved that I won't be watching it (I'm not that childish).......... rather, it's the Turtles themselves the reason I won't be watching it.  }=>
Image from Rotten Tomatoes
From the first time that I saw one of the first trailers (on my laptop) I was just grossed out by their appearance (talk about fugly).  They are humanized live action/motion captured/CGI monstrosities, and seeing the trailers in the big screen absolutely does not help its case (even the most recent ones).  This maybe would've worked if it was a movie inhabited by live action/motion captured/CGI characters (like those live action/CG-motion capture Robert Zemeckis movies), except the human characters are played by actual human beings, so it doesn't work.  And if that's not the reason, then it's because it just doesn't look good to me judging from what I've seen from the trailers.  I don't care how awesome the new Shredder looks, this one I will consider a pass.  =<
Ah, that's more like it!
If people are going to watch it, then they are entitled to do so; more power for them.  Personally I will not even bother (at least, not willingly); different strokes for different folks.  Still, it's incredible how far these guys have come in the past thirty years: from their debut in the (former license holder) Mirage Studios comics in 1984, to the animated series from 1987, to the early '90s live action movie trilogy (the first directed by Steve Barron, second by Michael Pressman, and the third movie by Stuart Gillard), to the late '90s live action TV show (including crossing over with the Power Rangers at one point), to the darker 2003 animated series, to the entirely CG-oriented 2007 theatrical movie, to the .... 2012 Nickelodeon-based ..... series?  Oh, come on, are you kidding me?!  How many reboots does this thirty-year old series need?  That's just ridiculous!  And 2014's version is not even the first theatrical reboot?  Curious.  =/
Well whatever; since the newest TMNT-based movie is coming this week, I figured I would take the time to talk about a Turtles game from their golden days..... (that is, before the '00s).  How about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time=D
Don't have it.
Oh,.... well, the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game then?  <=|
Didn't beat it.
................ 3=  The SNES adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Figh---?
Never played it.
Dammit!  I don't really have a great TMNT game with me, so I'll settle with what I've got: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan.  The first of the three TMNT games for the Game Boy, this game was one of the first licensed titles that Konami made for Nintendo's first mainstream handheld.  But has it stood the test of time well?  Let's find out as we--- wait; the third movie was directed by Stuart Gillard?  That name sounds so familiar; what other movie did he direct?
Ah, bats!
So being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game the plot is very straightforward.  News reporter April O'Neil has been kidnapped by the Foot Soldiers, and the four mutant Turtles (all named after Renaissance artists Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello) all go out to save their yellow jumpsuit-wearing news reporter friend.  Gee, didn't see that coming.  =|  Meanwhile, they must contend with the Shredder's forces the Foot Soldiers as well as other enemies out to get them, such as bats, fish, fire, secondary robots, motorcycle ambushes, Mousers, and Roadkill Rodneys.  They will also be facing their foes Bebop and Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Shredder, and Krang.  Will this quartet succeed in their endeavors?
"Good thing I'm a turtle and
can breathe underwater."
You take control of either one of four Turtles, each with their own weapons: Leonardo's got his katanas, Raphael with his Sais, Michelangelo with his nunchucks, and Donatello who has his Bo staff.  They can also walk very slowly, do midair kicks, and even throw shuriken while they're ducking.  One thing you'll find evident right from the get-go is that it doesn't appear that you have lives; actually you do.  The four individual Turtles are each worth your four individual lives, and unlike most platformers where you can get more lives they cannot be reclaimed.  Should you lose all your health the Turtle you were playing as will be captured, and you'll no longer be able to play as that Turtle.  If you lose all four of your main protagonists, the game is over; not that you'll have to worry about that happening much, but more on that later.
Roadkill Rodneys attack
The controls are fairly decent by themselves, even though the default controls might feel a little backwards at first (luckily you can flip the commands of the buttons before starting the game; that way you don't have to necessarily jump with the B button and attack with the A button).  Like the Game Boy version of Parodius Da! -Shinwa kara Owarai e- you can decide whether to jump to a later stage or play the whole game from the beginning; but if I were you I'd strongly suggest that you stick it the whole way through otherwise the full ending will not be played.  Midjumps can be controlled, and even though it may not seem likely: the midair kicks are stronger than your weapon and your shuriken.  Weird, I know.  The walking speed is slow, but that's all right since every other step the enemies will try to ambush you from both sides.  It's kind of like X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse in this regard; in that it's a sidescrolling beat'em up that is only viewed on a singular plane (even though the controls really aren't that complex for this game).
The original Game Boy wasn't known for its impressive graphics capacity, but it does have a reputation of sometimes turning in some grand visuals despite its limitations.  For the most part Fall of the Foot Clan looks really good considering it came out in 1990, for each area has got its own background décor and feel; more than half of these stages even have segments of line scrolling, which is a feat that you rarely see in titles for this handheld.  The first area takes place in very detailed slums with the skyscrapers looming in the background; then there are the sewers which have got heavily bricked walls and sewage (the sewage even scrolls, which is neat).  Another example is the fourth stage where you're perusing above or below the river, and when you're above the river you see a nice mountain in the backdrop (and when you're below the river the breath bubbles will sometimes emerge from the Turtle's mouth; you can't help but appreciate small details like that).  Another high point is the cutscenes, which look faithfully replicated from the animated series at the time (albeit as still shots).
Oh no, my kick made part of
Rocksteady disappear! O=
But with the good must also come the bad.  =(  As nice as the visuals look, you find yourself appreciating the amount of detail that Konami put in there (in particular the wall décor in most areas); but when it comes to the couple sections that just have a solid blank background (with no detail given it whatsoever), it leaves a lot to be desired (the framing foreground is fine, but you wish that they could have come up with more backgrounds).  Another aspect is the characters and enemies; they all look fine (even though the four Turtles are one big palette swap, save for a few animations signaling they're not the same), but the animation is really stiff (still, slightly less clunky than ActRaiser's character and enemy animations).  Even the bosses don't display smooth animation when they perform their actions, which is very disappointing, because their designs are very nice (and the bit for when they get damaged is priceless, but it's solely one elongated flashing frame).  Another issue with the visuals comes from the fact that there are cases of flicker from time to time (sometimes coming from the enemies or even you, usually when a lot or little is going on), and while it doesn't break the game by any means, it can be distracting.  These low points end up making what is otherwise a good-looking game into something that fits in the line of adequate.
"The enemy must be near.
April is screaming."
Despite its limited capacities, the Game Boy has been known to turn in some very memorable and quite good soundtracks (mostly).  Fall of the Foot Clan is one of them, and the tinny composition sounds don't detract the quality really.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme has been replicated faithfully in the transition to the Game Boy, and the melody sounds just right.  The other songs are spot-on too, especially the third stage with the truck which is my favorite in the game.  =)  The music was done by two composers, one of them being Michiru Yamane (yes, the same Michiru Yamane that would eventually craft the fantastic music to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), and I must commend these composers for doing a job well done.  If you've played Detana!! TwinBee you'll recognize some similarities in terms of composition, and that's no coincidence as she's contributed some music for that game as well (along with two other composers).  The boss themes are all right, though I wish I could hear them in their entirety because by the time you're done with the boss fights the music is still in its loop (especially the final one).  =(

Crap, I'm surrounded!
The sound effects are serviceable but they're nothing to write home about.  Each Turtle's weapon makes different sounds when they're being used, and fortunately for the most part while the music and sound volumes are about on par with each other they don't do anything to obfuscate the music or the melody much, so that much is a plus.  Fall of the Foot Clan is a very straightforward game in that exact sense of the word.  The paths are linear and do not deviate to alternate ones, and each section is quite short.  Along the way you'll fight enemies that come at you left and right, usually after every other step, and while there may be moments when the enemies will seem to overpower you, it's not as overwhelming as it sounds (and I'll explain why soon).  In most areas there are secret bonus games that can be accessed (either by walking towards one wall, jumping in the upper left corner in the in-door area, or even jumping on either corners of certain solid spikes coming down in one area).  Once you've found it, the Turtle will flash and will be taken to any one of three bonus games.

In the first bonus you'll be given ten chances to correctly guess the number that Master Splinter is thinking of between zero and nine-hundred ninety-nine.  You'll be given hints as to whether you've gone bigger and smaller.  The second game requires you to go against Krang as you pick up as many shuriken as you can; the game is over when the winner gets the sole remaining shuriken.  The third and final bonus is a more interactive oriented one as you guide the crosshairs and shoot the balls that are being thrown in the blank field; you must get as many as Splinter tells you in order to qualify, but there's no shame in getting all of them for a perfect score.  These are completely optional bonuses, but if you do manage to win any of these bonuses you'll get a real big score and your health will be replenished in full.
A kick to the face oughta do it
Your health is comprised of eight squares, which can be replenished through the pizza power-up.  Some pizzas (whether slices or full circles) will appear through small winged aircraft or some may show up after having defeated certain enemies.  Aside from that, those are really the only power-ups you'll find in the game.  I said the overcrowding of enemies as you peruse is not as overwhelming as it sounds, largely because they're easy to get rid of.  Another reason is because they have their own patterns which are easy to avoid, and several of them you'll be wanting to get rid of with your midair kick attack (since it's twice as strong as the Turtle's main weapon, which doesn't really make sense).  And that's the key term about the handling of their demise: easy.
Truck ridin'
Fall of the Foot Clan is a very easy game that poses little in terms of challenge, which is especially true for the boss battles.  And that's a shame because the final one Krang actually has got a cool entrance, but since he's not that challenging the battle is over as quickly as it got started.  =(  The pattern against them really is just attacking them (with your kicks) and then moving out of their way once they attack, up until they're down for the count.  It's not exactly exciting, and the lack of challenge really hurts it.  But what really drags it down is that aside from the fact that are secret optional bonus games and the fact that you can play as any one of four Turtles, there's no replay value once it's over.  Sure the Turtles have different weapons, but enemy patterns are not random, and with each replay you know where they're coming from.  Very experienced gamers will be able to beat it without losing a single Turtle, but even if you flub once in that regard it's not a difficult game.
I first played this game with a couple other Game Boy titles after I bought them at former retro game store GameCrazy back in late 2006.  Having enjoyed Turtles in Time on the SNES a lot when I was little, I wanted to try another game based on the old animated series.  It's not quite as good as that classic, and technically speaking Fall of the Foot Clan isn't really all that good, but despite the grievances I've given it it's actually a very harmless game.  Yes, it is short (takes about eighteen or twenty minutes without accessing the bonuses, a few minutes longer if you do), it is easy, and it could've benefited from much substantial replay value.  But I'll give it credit where credit is due: as a visual and sound tech demo it's really good.  =)
Cool cave, boring background
For being the first Turtles game that Konami made for the Game Boy, they did a fine job capturing the look and charm of the series.  I appreciated all the detail they tried to put in to the areas to give them their own distinct feel, it's too bad that they don't pull through for every area (specifically the ones with the blank backgrounds, plus all that flicker).  The Turtles look fine, even though they have the same expression on their faces (unless they're hit).  The soundtrack does a good job of capturing the spirit of the series, and gameplay-wise it's okay.  It's clear that Konami wanted to aim bigger here, I just wish they could've made it more enjoyable in the process.  Still, at least it's not a cheap cashgrab like some of their last Turtles games from over a decade ago for the Game Boy Advance (it was clear at that point that Konami truly gave up on them).
Turtle (sorta) Power
I know some hold this game in high regard (partly due to nostalgia for some), and I understand why.  There's nothing wrong with liking Fall of the Foot Clan, as it's got a lot of likability going for it.  While I don't quite think it's great, I do appreciate some of its qualities.  While there are much better games you could be playing on the original Game Boy, you could do far worse than this as it's harmless to play in short bursts.  I don't hate it, but I don't regret playing it either.  =)  If you're curious about this game, you may want to give it a go to see what Konami could pull off in terms of visuals and sound for the Game Boy at the time; if you expect this to be awesome, you're bound to be disappointed.  If you want to play a game with replay value, try something else; if you want to play a game that takes about a half hour to beat, then this is not a bad choice.  If you're a Turtles fan there's a chance that this game might be right up your alley; just don't expect too much of it and you'll be fine.  It's likable but not without its flaws.
But hey, if you didn't like Fall of the Foot Clan, there's the Turtles' second Game Boy venture Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Back from the Sewers, which was..... oh wait, I never played that one either.  .....  Crap.  -_-
<(^.^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^.^)>
P.S. I know what you're thinking, and no I didn't select the green color scheme on the Super Game Boy due the fact that this was an early monochromatic Game Boy game.  That is just coincidence.
P.S. 2 Screw you, Harland Williams, you profaned "When You Wish Upon a Star" with your ceaselessly annoying stupidity; emphasis on annoying.  God, I hate Rocket Man!
P.S. 3 Thus far the only movies I saw in the Summer of 2014 are The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla (2014), X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, How to Train your Dragon 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Hercules (2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy.  Hey, at least all those other movies had characters I actually cared about more than the ones from 2014's Godzilla=<
P.S. 4 At one point I would've given this game a much lower score, but I decided to be generous towards Fall of the Foot Clan in the end as you could do worse.  And besides, it's bound to be better than the Michael Bay treatment we'll be given this Friday anyway.
P.S. 5 I like how in the river stage any time a Turtle jumps in or out of the water there is a neat splash effect.  Where were all those neat splash effects in ActRaiser, hm?  I swear that game deserves its nines and tens as much as Ecco Jr. deserved that 2 on NintendoLife; in that, it doesn't>=P
Thank you for reading my review, please leave a comment and I hope you have a great day.  Take care!  =)
In speaking of Konami, recently the European version of TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure, Pop'n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures, has been rereleased for the first time ever on the European Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console.  That's great news, and I recommend you Europeans play it.  =)  Of course by that I mean: buy yourselves a Japanese Nintendo Wii U, download the game, and you'll play the superior version of this fun platformer.  Go TwinBee!!!  =D


  1. This was my very first video game so it holds a special place in my heart. I still go back and play it every few years.