The Return of Talking Time

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Old 02-01-2017, 06:50 AM
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Default Turtle Power! Let's Play TMNT for the Game Boy

So, I’ve been plagued by my perfectionism when it comes to LPs (and oftentimes projects in general). I don’t want to start anything I’m not going to finish, I don’t want anything to be less than amazing, and I don’t want to leave out anything that might be important. But in turn, this means that I don’t actually manage to produce or post anything, because it seems too big to actually complete and therefore I never get started. (Or, I get started, put together some notes and scans, and then leave them on my hard drive for years but don’t do anything with them.)

And so, this is my attempt to DO SOMETHING. The “Let’s Play Beowulf’s Game Boy Youth” series presents:


The year is 1990, and the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series is awesomely popular. For those of us who want to smash the Foot Clan on our portable gaming system, Konami graces us with this.

The thing is, okay, I’ll be frank up front: It’s not actually a great game. It’s very short, it doesn’t have a lot of variety or strategy besides remembering when to press the attack button, the turtles aren’t particularly distinct, the plot is an utter joke…but hey, I was nine and I took what I could get, and nostalgia is a powerful thing. So I’m going to share it with you.
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:52 AM
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I can't wait for Michelangelo's famous catch phrase!
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:52 AM
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Default Post #1 – Intro and Stage 1




The game actually has solid options for this or any other era: You can switch the buttons to suit your playstyle, and you can actually jump straight to any stage right from the start. You only get the full ending if you start from Stage 1, though, so that’s what we’re going to do.


So, for our first stage, we’ll play as Leo. There are five stages and four turtles, so this should be pretty straightforward.


I’ve gone with a selection of color close to the original Game Boy look—grayscale for the backgrounds, but greenscale for the sprites. This game, as you might expect, is best played in the original green hues.


We have eight life bars, a standard attack, and the ability to walk back and forth. Jumping and attacking allows us to jump-kick, and crouching and attacking throws shuriken.


It’s generally accepted that the jump-kick is stronger and the shuriken are weaker than normal attacks, but that’s rather moot, as virtually everything in this game dies in a single hit.


The game makes an occasional effort to use “setpieces”, like these parking meters. Attacking them causes the top half to fly off.


Most of the enemies we fight are garden-variety foot soldiers, which is to say, totally useless robot ninjas. Hitting them once will make them disintegrate. If they touch you, it causes one box of damage. They like to jump down at you from the side of the screen, not unlike George Reeves pretending he’s flying by jumping into the frame wearing a Superman costume.


Here’s a good shot of the shuriken attack.


Walking into hidden areas warps you to a bonus minigame. There are three different types, and all three can be found in the first stage. This one is found by attacking and destroying the barrel here and walking into the spot.


The first type of bonus game is a higher-lower number game. You get ten chances and are trying to guess a number between 1 and 999.


Like so. Succeeding at a bonus game restores your health to full.


We then fight through a few more waves of Foot to reach the end of the first segment, where our turtle leaps into the air and lands in the next area.


The second segment is in the sewers.
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:53 AM
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Among other things, it introduces Mousers, which like to jump up out of the floor and also die in one hit.


Giant rolling/bouncing balls are also common. These are invulnerable.


And there are bats, as is common to giant spacious sewers everywhere. They hang out in set places on the screen and can often be killed with shuriken before they start moving.


Certain enemies (the same each time—there’s no randomness) drop pizza. Pizza slices restore two health boxes. Full pizzas restore four.


Walking into this little nook reveals another bonus game.


This is a classic puzzle where you can remove as many of the connected shuriken as you want, and are trying to force your opponent to take the final one.


I can’t help but think this is a “solved” puzzle with an optimal strategy, but I’m lazy and never tried to figure one out.


A few more waves of enemies, and then jump to the next segment. The first stage is kinda unique in that it has four real segments: Street, Sewers, Street and then more Sewers.


The second street area is the kind of stage you can memorize and likely play blindfolded (and nine-year-old Beowulf would have tried that if you suggested it). Foot soldiers jump out at set intervals, and the motorcycles blaze through at set intervals and a set speed (and always proceeded by a “vroom-vroom” sound).


The only difficulty is the width of the motorcycles vs. the length of your jump—you need to timing when you jump so you don’t come down into the motorcycle and take a hit. (Coming down on a foot soldier is less of an issue, because that’s what jump-kicks are for.)
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Old 02-01-2017, 06:54 AM
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Back to the sewers for segment four.


Walking under this pipe into the corner gets us another bonus game.


This is a shooting game, where you need to use the box to aim at the balls that float onto the screen and press attack to shoot them.


A perfect score nets you a points bonus. I was always better at this game than either of the others.


Getting out afterwards can be annoying, as now there’s a party going on above you, and the turtles can’t attack upwards. You need to wait for a hole and jump out.


Introduced in this segment are falling bricks, which show up and rumble for a second before dropping on you. You can hit them to destroy them, before or during their fall. An amusing bit is that (and this is more obvious in later stages) they aren’t actually attached to the ceiling. They float in mid-air until they fall on you.


At the end of the fourth segment, rather than jumping out of frame, you need to attack and smash down this wall.


That leads to our first boss, Rocksteady!


He’s actually a joke of a boss, because there’s only two dimensions to move in, he suffers knockback when you hit him, and his projectiles can be knocked away with your attacks. If you stand around mid-screen and just press the attack button over and over, you win.


The stage ends with a cutscene, and I’ll see you next time!
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Old 02-01-2017, 09:11 AM
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Man, I loved the shit out of the Gameboy TMNT games as a kid, although even as a kid I thought that the sprites took up way too much screen real estate. It made the whole thing feel very claustrophobic. Also, the jump height is kind of ridiculous.

I was floored when I found the mini games, though. I loved those.
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:25 AM
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This game had very large sprites for Game Boy and also is total poop.
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:29 AM
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The first two mini games are kind of counter intuitive; the description kind of means nothing for the latter and Tiny Octo was livid that the Bigger Smaller hints were referring to your guess and it the actual answer.
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:59 AM
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There's a good amount of split-level parallax, too, and even that slanted text in the cut scenes is kind of a "Look what we can do!" flourish. This one definitely feels more like a Game Boy tech demo than a game to be played for enjoyment.

I'm afraid that palette you're using is wreaking havoc on the poor cut scenes.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
This game had very large sprites for Game Boy and also is total poop.
Oh, entirely. I'm not arguing that point. But that doesn't decrease the nostalgia value in the slightest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime
The first two mini games are kind of counter intuitive; the description kind of means nothing for the latter and Tiny Octo was livid that the Bigger Smaller hints were referring to your guess and it the actual answer.
Tiny Beowulf had the same problem. This was actually one of my first exposures to Engrish translations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi
I'm afraid that palette you're using is wreaking havoc on the poor cut scenes.
Yeah...that goes along with the whole, "I'm gonna do this and try not to freak out that it isn't perfect" thing.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:29 AM
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Default Post #2 – Stage 2 and Stage 3

Random thing it occurred to me I didn’t mention in the first post: The game only has a couple of music tracks: The sewer “spooky” track, the boss fight track, and the TMNT theme song played in midi quality over and over and over and over. Which then gets stuck in my head for DAYS.


For our second stage, we’ll play as Raph.

For the record, the four turtles are all virtually identical in this game. Donny has a slightly longer reach, but that’s about it. (It’s hard to claim that one turtle is “stronger” when everything dies in one hit, or that one turtle is “faster” when the game has a set walking/scrolling speed. Which doesn’t stop anyone from defending their favorite, of course.)


Stage 2 has two distinct segments, Sewer and then More Sewer.


These little helicopter drones are a common feature of this stage. They float across the screen, circle in one corner for a few seconds, and then drop down and zoom at you in a straight line.


The first segment features these pillars that move up and down. They can’t crush you; they’re mostly just there to annoy you and make it more likely for enemies to run into you.


There are also bonus games hidden in the top corners next to them.


The shooting game requires more hits to restore your health each time you play it. I get another perfect, so that doesn’t really matter.


A slice of pizza and a second bonus game (hidden in almost exactly the same way) follow shortly thereafter.


This game doesn’t change as you play it.


Foot soldiers, helicopters, rolling balls and falling blocks all make appearances.


And that clears out segment one. Segment two is just additional sewers, but they’re trickier sewers.


So, um, don’t fall in these holes that the Flame Freak is popping out of. There’s fire or something at the bottom of them. Now, it only does one box of damage each time you land down there, but jumping out and smashing your head on an enemy will knock you in a second time, and, well…you can tell I’m not using cheat codes. (It’s hard to play this via muscle memory and also take screenshots!)
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:30 AM
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This game gives you exactly four lives: Each turtle. Once they get captured, they’re gone. I’ve seen places claiming that you can free captured turtles via the bonus games; I’ve never seen that happen ever.


So anyway, we’ll try this again with Mikey. Flame Freaks jump out of the flame holes. This is noteworthy because there are two blind jumps where the monster is your only indication you need to jump rather than just stepping down.


Most of your pizzas come from enemies, but occasionally one of these flying pizza boxes will appear. It’ll float back and forth a couple of times, and if you hit it, it reveals a full pizza.


More stairs, more rolling balls, end of segment two.


Our second boss is Bebop. He’s an actual boss with actually challenge. Granted, his attack pattern isn’t that different from Rocksteady’s: Stand and shoot, run across to the other side, stand and shoot, etc.


But if you hit him, he doesn’t suffer knockback, but will instead, after a brief pause, punch you in the face. Also, while you can still knock out his projectiles with your weapon, he shoots three rings instead of 1-2 bullets.


Fighting Bebop requires some amount of jumping to avoid attacks. Challenging, I know.


Completing this stage gives us an animation of the turtles jumping out of a manhole and seeing the enemies retreating via car.


We’ll keep Mikey for stage 3.


You can’t really tell from screenshots, but the background here is moving, to give the impression that you’re riding on a series of trucks that are zooming along a freeway.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:31 AM
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There’s a basic pattern to this game which is never actually broken: Foot soldiers jump at you from the left and right, and you turn one way and then the next to kill them in a single hit each. That’s it, that’s the game.


Here, foot soldiers rise out of the pile of bricks (?) and throw a tetrad at you. Hitting it knocks it back, though enemies can’t be hurt by the ricochet. The foot solider will then do a funny punching dance for a few seconds before jumping at you.


If there was a bonus game in stage three, I’ve forgotten where to find it.


The stage only has a single segment. Reaching the end leads to the boss.


The cartoon fly-man version of Baxter Stockman! (I get the impression that in reboot cartoons he spent a lot more time as a human mad scientist than as a useless fly-man.)


Baxter hovers in a corner, shoots a spread of bullets at you, and then swoops in a U-shape to the opposite corner. If you’re feeling crazy, you can try to time the bullets and jump-kick Baxter into submission.


Alternately, you can stand a little off-center, swing your weapon to destroy the bullets, and hit Baxter as soon as he swoops at you. He gets mercy invincibility when hit, but during that time he can’t hurt you either, so he’ll just pass right through your character.


So really, it just takes a little patience and down he goes.


The next stage will involve a river! And chasing!

See you next time!
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:41 AM
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Default TRANSLATION: I AM VERY EXCITED TO READ THIS LET'S PLAY.

♬♪ CLICKIN THE BIG TALKING TIME BAAAAANNER... TO RETURN TO THE MAIN PAAAAAAGE... LIKE A PIECE OF GARBAAAAGE... ♪♫

WOAH WHAT THE FUCK



TURTLE POWER YOU SAY?! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, TALKING ABOUT TELEVISION GAMES, I WILL INVESTIGATE THIS BOLD CLAIM...

A LET'S PLAY?!

A GAMEBOY TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES LET'S PLAY?!?!

FUCK YES.

Last edited by BEAT; 02-02-2017 at 09:43 AM. Reason: THANK YOU FOR TAKING ON THIS TASK, BEOWULF. YOU ARE DOING EXCELLENT WORK AND I AM ENJOYING IT VERY MUCH.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:10 AM
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I played the shit out of this game as a kid.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:48 PM
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I... vaguely remember this game when I was a kid. I had a game boy but I had very few games for them (I only remember Tetris and Tiny Toons), so I must have borrowed this one. But that counting games and little pizza icons are softly tapping a nostalgia trigger in my brain.
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post

This game doesn’t change as you play it.
I feel like this image would be an OK choice for an "Um, actually" meme. (Um, actually Krang?)
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:10 AM
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Default Post #3 – The Instruction Manual

Partially because the game is so short and partially because the manual is so fabulous, I’m giving it its own post.


Everybody else remembers buying the game, and pouring over the manual in the car on the way home, right? That wasn’t just me?


I bet you didn’t realize we were playing the Cowabunga version of the game, eh?


I’d say something like, “whoever wrote this probably drinks themselves to sleep every night,” except that I know that isn’t true. This was written by some hack (a term I use with affection; my mother and my uncle are both very successful hacks) who wrote four other manuals in that same day and probably had never seen a copy of the game or an episode of the TV show, but did know that no one would EVER complain about the quality of the writing.

Note that the BIGGER/SMALLER thing is specifically called out. I’m guessing playtesters complained about that.


Did you know that back in the days of Game Boy, there were people who had never played a video game before? It’s true!


…presented without comment.


Is “karate” still a catch-all term for martial arts, like the way all role-playing games get called “D&D”? I feel like my social circle (which includes practitioners of several martial arts, none of them karate) isn’t representative of what the average person knows.


Calling Baxter a queen bee is only vaguely accurate, in that he’s a fly, not a bee, but he is certainly a queen.

Also, the “Techodrome Tower” doesn’t, at any point, travel vertically. It’s more like the “Technodrome Tube,” as you’ll see next post.


I would have noted that the pizza box was a flying box, not that it was edible, but what do I know about important adjectives?


I should start a “grime syndicate.” We could fight Mr. Clean!


I feel like the way that manuals named enemies is always my favorite part when I look back at them. “Torpedo Timmy” who doesn’t appear in the water level and is, in fact, clearly Missile Mike. “Tubular Transport” which does not and cannot transport anything. “Winged rabid bat,” because there are so many rabid bats that have no wings.

Next time: Back to the game!
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:15 AM
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Is the Shell Shocker's description the first recorded use of clickbait?
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:26 AM
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old manual copy is the best
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:05 AM
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I am a fully grown adult human man reading an instruction manual for a video game intended for little tiny babies and I got a chuckle out of "They are of no value to society".

Also, I kind of loge the term "Super high karate guy"
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
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Also, I kind of loge the term "Super high karate guy"
Well, I love it!
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Old 02-06-2017, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
I am a fully grown adult human man reading an instruction manual for a video game intended for little tiny babies and I got a chuckle out of "They are of no value to society".

Also, I kind of loge the term "Super high karate guy"
I'm pretty partial to Vincent Van Vanquish, myself

(It's good to see you back doing LPs again, Beowulf!)

Last edited by Soren Highwind; 02-06-2017 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 02-06-2017, 06:45 PM
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Oh man, I remember this instruction booklet. I spent a lot of time staring at those villain pages, and the image of Shredder wielding a scimitar (for some reason) in particular really stands out in my memory.
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Old 02-06-2017, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
Partially because the game is so short and partially because the manual is so fabulous, I’m giving it its own post.


Everybody else remembers buying the game, and pouring over the manual in the car on the way home, right? That wasn’t just me?
Nope. That was Standard Operating Procedure for me upon getting a new game. (But not this specific one.)

edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
I see Splinter wants to join in the "Um, Actually" train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
Is “karate” still a catch-all term for martial arts, like the way all role-playing games get called “D&D”?
No, but it was in the late 80's / early 90's. (And it was interchangeable with Kung Fu. Neither of which were practiced by the Ninja Turtles.)

Last edited by Torzelbaum; 02-06-2017 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:19 AM
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Default Post #4 – Stage 4 and Stage 5


Stage 4! Time for my favorite, Donatello!


Visually, stage 4 is exciting because you’re wading in a river.


Play-wise, it’s exciting because there are actual options besides “go right” and “stop”. The logs scroll across the screen, but you and the foot soldiers can stand on them. Or, instead, you can go underneath them.


Both options have hazards: Above, there’s a moving floor and foot soldiers.


Below, there are these little black balls that periodically fall from the ceiling and roll towards you. You need to duck to actually hit them.


There are also piranhas, which, though I didn’t get a good screenshot of it, will bite your arms and stick there until thrown off.


Little graphic touches really matter: When underwater, bubbles will periodically rise from your turtle.


Reaching the end leads to a jump to the second segment.


The second part of this stage, in stark contrast, is a mostly-empty cave.


A bonus game can be found by jumping into the corner just after the stage transition.


These little robot-fire-light-whatevers move in an L-pattern towards you.


The Mousers jump out of the floor, and they’ll also cling to your arms and need to be shaken off.


Piles of enemies from every direction!
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:20 AM
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In the end, though, it’s not terribly notable.


The boss of stage 4 is The Shredder. I always thought it was interesting that the original cartoon series couldn’t decide whether Shredder or Krang was the “big boss”.


Shredder will walk slowly forward and swing his sword down at you. This is to lull you into a false sense of security, because whether or not you hit him before taking this hit, he’ll teleport behind you and slash you again.


The proper strategy is to jump over Shredder while he’s walking, and hit him from behind. Apparently “turning around” is an advanced ninja move he never learned.


Technodrome: Let’s Kick Shell!


Stage 5. I’ll be keeping Donny.




This stage opens with an incredibly useless bonus game: It serves only to restore your health, but at a point when you can’t possibly have anything less than full health.


These missiles are new to this stage. They hover at the side-middle of the screen and shake for a few seconds, then launch at you. One hit bats them out of the sky.


Here we meet Roadkill Rodney, who has the dubious honor of being the only non-boss enemy in this game with more than one hit point. He has two. If you stand in front of him, he’ll shoot out an electric whip to shock you.


Also featured are these electric traps, which move up and down after a brief charging time, and zap you if you touch them.
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:21 AM
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Lotta Rodneys here.


And a reversed version of the electric traps that shoots out of the floor.


The only Rodney I like shows up here: It jumps right into your range of attack if you just stand at the end of the ledge.


Like the second half of stage 4, the second half of stage 5 features a sparser environment and waves of things jumping out at you.


Right at the beginning is a number-guessing bonus stage. I’m going to admit that I used save states to get the health refill, because I keep taking hits trying to get screenshots.


This area introduces these spike-carts.


They come in three varieties: Short, tall, and upside-down. Keeping in mind that foot soldiers and Rodneys are bugging you while you’re trying to dodge them.


Right near the end, a full pizza drops. That’s your indication the final boss is coming.


And that final boss is Krang, in his cartoon mech-suit. He comes through the portal from Dimension X and proceeds to jump around trying to wail on you.


Like Bebop, when you hit him, he’ll pause for a moment but then try to kick you in retaliation.


When he reaches one side of the screen, he’ll leap to the other. Basically, you want to hit him and then jump away, and just be careful to duck under his jumps.
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:23 AM
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He disappears back into his portal after you beat him.


April is saved!


The Technodrome sinks into the earth!





And the credits roll.




Here’s my score, if anyone wants to try to beat it.

So, one more hot tip, if you were still considering playing the game: If you pause the game and enter the classic Konami Code, it refills your health. This works once per stage. When I was a kid, as I quickly stopped needing that boost to actually get through the levels, I discovered that you could enter that code as your life was counting down into points after beating each stage boss, so you could actually juice up your score by adding an extra life bar to it at the end of each stage. I didn’t do that here, but I figured I’d point it out.


And one bonus that I forgot at the beginning: The attract mode cutscene.


And that’s the end. Like I said, this game is really short—you can take it down in under 20 minutes. Which is why it’ll be continuing this LP with the sequels. Next time!
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:43 AM
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madhair60 madhair60 is offline
Video World 13 is out!
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cambridge, England.
Posts: 13,883
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More short LPs like this please.
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game boy , let's play

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