I think most people know about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It started as a comic book and became a cartoon show, a live-action movie, and many video games. Unlike other licensed properties, it had a bunch of excellent video games! Even the one that was on AVGN isn’t a bad game.
I’m not here to talk about those games. I will be talking about the first Game Boy game, TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan. This is a game that I’ve had since the mid-90s.
While it’s not as complex as the NES games and nowhere near as good as the arcade games, it’s still a fun little game. It’s an easy game, but it does a great job of bringing the same experience of the first NES game to the Game Boy. It also cuts out the frustrating parts of the NES game.
TLDR: This is a great game! It looks good for a Game Boy game, and it plays great!
The game was made by Konami and released in North America under the Ultra Games label. I guess they wanted to keep the branding as the NES games were also released under Ultra. Japan and North America got the game in 1990, and Europe got it in 1991.
This does make me wonder how the licensing deal worked for North America. For consoles, companies could only release a handful of games a year, and to get around this, shell companies were made. Ultra was Konami’s, and Acclaim used LJN.
There were two sequels. TMNT II: Back from the Sewers, which was released in 1991, and TMNT III: Radical Rescue, released in 1993.
It’s a simple side-scrolling game action game. You just walk to the right and occasionally jump over stuff while killing members of the Foot Clan and little Mousers. Oh, and there are also bats because there have to be bats!
I think it was a requirement in most video games back then. Like you send your game off to Nintendo, and the only note you would get back would be “add bats!” Sorry, I just thought that was odd. I’m sure there was some villain who was a bat. Or maybe Baxter Stockman somehow mind-controlled the bats?
Anyway, the gameplay is good. The controls are very responsive. I never thought the game was screwing me over. All of the mistakes I was making happened to be my fault.
You can also select which stage you want to play. It’s something I like, especially if I’m not very good at the game. They also included all four of the turtles in the game, which should be expected. It would have been weird if they weren’t there.
You won’t see a lot of enemies on the screen. This has to do with the Game Boy’s hardware. You just couldn’t pull off the same things that arcades, computers, or home consoles could. This also makes the game a lot easier.
I think the graphics are pretty good! It’s a Game Boy game, but it does look like one of the better games. Given the technical limitations of the hardware, the sprites are nice, the backgrounds look good, and I think the sound effects and music are nice.
I was playing this on the Game Boy Pocket. This made it look closer to how I would have played it back in the 90s. However, this means I didn’t see what it would look like on the Super Game Boy or one of the modern handheld clones.
You aren’t presented with a story when you start the game. I’m guessing this was done because Konami either thought kids would read the manual, or they just said to themselves, “you know what the deal is,” and no story was needed.
You figure out that you need to save April as you play the game. This should have been obvious to me, but it would have been nice to have known that. Either way, it’s not that big of a deal. You know that you’re the good guy, and the bad guys need to be beaten up!
There are a bunch of games like this on the Game Boy. Not all of them are as good as this one. It feels like they worked with the hardware to make something fun.
That being said, here are a few games that I think are as good or better:
- The Super Mario Land Trilogy – I could have split these out, but I didn’t want to. These are all great! We’ll get to them someday, but they are great alternatives to Fall of the Foot Clan for now.
- Gargoyle’s Quest – This is an excellent game that is a spin-off of the Ghosts and Goblins series.
- BurgerTime Deluxe – I know this is an arcade game, but I love BurgerTime, and this is a fantastic version of the game.
- Revenge of the Gator – This was a game I didn’t know about. It’s an excellent game and is a wonderful alternative.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – This is another one of those games that’s an alternative to everything.
Overall pros and cons
The game is easy to pick up and play. Granted, the controls are straightforward; it’s a Game Boy game, but still.
It looks good, and it plays very well. This does tie into the only bad thing I can think of.
The only bad thing I can say about it is how easy it is. There are only two-three enemies on screen at a time so that you won’t feel overwhelmed. If you’re looking for something challenging, this might not be the game for you.
This game, the first NES TMNT game, and the arcade game were the ones I was the most familiar with. I was a big fan of the more family-friendly versions of the turtles. I had no idea the comics existed or that they were what all this was based on.
This is a great game. It’s probably not the most well-remembered because it’s on the Game Boy. Most people remember the other games on the NES, SNES, and the arcade game. I liked going back and revisiting it because I remember playing the game when I was little.
I remember playing it at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. I had to turn the volume off so no one would hear me. I have no idea how people would hear me playing my Game Boy or how my parents knew I was awake.
Anyway, if you get a chance to play this game, give it a shot. I’m not sure if it’s on the Switch, but the ROM is probably out there somewhere. I wish Nintendo could release their Game Boy games on the Switch. There might be some licensing issues because Konami probably owns the code while someone else owns the TMNT property.