Totally Turtle Games – Radical Rescue (Game Boy)
With the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still rolling in popularity (even though the animated series was beginning to wane), Konami wanted to make full use of the characters it had access to, and that meant even more totally turtle games being brought to fans and players everywhere. 1993 saw another addition to the handheld universe, giving everyone a new adventure for the heroes in green – and one they could take on the go.
A sequel to Back from the Sewers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue saw the return of Shredder’s horrid hijniks, with a brand new cavalcade of villains to keep the turtles at bay. The game begins with Michelangelo out for pizza, and the others impatiently waiting back at the lair. So when April O’Neil’s newscast is interrupted yet again, the three brothers go to her rescue without Mikey. When the youngest turtle returns, he finds the others gone, and an evil voice says that he must come save them if he wants them back.
The game gets underway with the player controlling Michelangelo, which is a marked departure from previous games. In all other games (both handheld and platform), players are able to pick whichever turtle they want from the very beginning. Here, however, the choice is made for them, and then as Michelangelo the player must rescue the other turtles to use them. Once accomplished, each turtle has his own signature move: Leonardo has the spinning katana drill; Donatello can stick to and climb walls; Raphael is able to enter small passages by hiding in his shell; and Michelangelo has the spinning nunchaku helicopter.
As players proceed through the levels and save the turtles, they will face down numerous villains, including Scratch, Dirtbag, a Triceraton, Scale Tail, and Shredder/Cyber Shredder. While Dirtbag appeared in other games and the Triceratons were mentioned, this was the first appearance for Scratch and Scale Tail in the TMNT video game franchise. Notably missing are staples such as Bebop, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, and Krang (who were still in jail from bad acts prior). Instead, the game let the players experience brand new villains, making this game truly unique in yet another level.Also showing considerable departure from previous games, Radical Rescue was made as a side-scrolling game, much like successes such as Metroid, Castlevania, and others. The game received overall positive reviews after its release, with AllGame giving it a 3/5, and GamePro giving it 4.5/5.
While Radical Rescue was not amazing on its own, it was a great step up from previous handheld games. Fall of the Foot Clan and Back from the Sewers were both very simple in terms of story, playability, and entertainment value. There were so many new elements that had not been used or even present in past games (like a real story), and that alone made this one far and away better than its predecessors. However, the number of levels was still small, and that meant the game could be completed rather quickly. Of course, having special techniques for each turtle that were actually special and could be used in various situations added real depth to the game’s strategy. Before, the only decision a player had to make was whether or not to use Donatello the whole time.
Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue showed amazing progress for its genre and its franchise. It addressed a lot of the issues with previous games, and made sure to include some new and unique aspects to keep fans interested even after the game was beaten. If not for these improvements, the handheld TMNT games as a whole may have never amounted to much of anything. However, Radical Rescue made sure that for any fan, these games were worth playing and remembering.