As a kid growing up in the 80s, I was a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had played the first two 8bit Nintendo Ninja Turtles games a lot, even though looking back, The first one kinda sucked while the sequel was just a port of the much better arcade game, but who's judging. When I Purchases the third game of the franchise, I was surprised at how incredible this was over the previous titles. TMNT3: The Manhattan Project is no doubt the best of the NES TMNT games!

Plot in a nutshell: The Shredder has ripped Manhattan Island from the ground and skylifted into the air. As usual, the police are baffled so it's up to the Turtles to save the day, and of course save the damsel in distress, April O'Neil, who (like usueal) has been captured somewhere along the line.

The game actually starts down on the beaches of Florida, since the Turtles are technically on vacation. The first two levels are just about the turtle's journey into getting back to New York City. After completing the beach, surfing through the ocean and fighting on a battleship, you're taken to the floating island itself. Eventually you'll come across the Technodrome and defeat Shredder and save April. But that's not all! Shredder gets away and heads toward Krang's spaceship  Of course, you follow him, defeat Krang and fight Shredder once again (this time becoming SUPER SHREDDER) before Manhattan returns to its spot down on the Earth.

The game actually plays much like TMNT2: The Arcade Game, which both satisfies long time fans and welcomes new players to the series. It's a linear beat-em-up type game, with a constant barrage of enemies that much be defated before you move onto the next wave. You have a new move, accomplised by pressing Down and B which stabs a foot soldiers and send them flying over your shoulder. Finally, the jump n' slash attack (wich was done in the previous game but hitting both A and B buttons at the same time) has been replaced by a special move for each of the Turtles. In order to give variety, these moves change depending on who you're controlling: Leo will spin with his katana blades held down, Don will do a somersault, Raph will execute a flying drill spin and Mike does a backward handstand/Mule kick. Each time you use this, you lose one bar of life, limiting the amount of times you can do this. When you're down to one bar of life though, its use is unlimited until you die. You have a score that increases depending on what method you use to kill each enemy...jump kicks and impalings give less points than using a normal attack, giving you an incentive vary to attack.

The enemies are pretty much the same: different types of foot soldiers that do various types of attacks (some baddies in the first level even throw sand in your eyes.) There are tons of bosses too, either appearing at the end of a level or somewhere in the middle. From the fan favorites such as Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang and Shredder, to newly introduced baddies as GroundChuck, Dirtbag and Movie baddies (it was released after the 2nd TMNT film, secret of the ozze) Tokka and Rahzar.

The graphics are very nice, typical of the last generation of NES games. The music is amazing, and we have composers Yuichi Sakakura, Tomoya Tomita, and Kozo Nakamura to thank for that. I would say it is the most perfect soundtrack to have blasting on loud while you kick some foot soldier butt.

The game, I believe, is one of the best games the NES had to offer in terms of 2-player action and should be in your Nintendo game library if you do not already have it. Totaly Amazing, and a fun gaming experience for someone who's looking to have some amazing old school 8bit fun. This is one NES game that is definitely worth a look, especially if you're an old time Turtle fan. Now you are playing with POWER... and that power is spelled T.U.R.T.L.E POWER!!


There's a hidden option menu (input the Konami code, just reverse the B and A button presses) that allow you to choose an easier difficulty mode, choose lives, and change your starting level.


About the Author

Edgar Velasco is the host of The Retro VGM Revival Hour podcast (, as well as a lover of video games, music, and Podcasting. He also spends too much time on Twitter hyping his podcast and giving away free retro games -  find him @MoonSpiderHugs