NES VersionEditThe version released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, while not by any measure a rare game, is the rarest of the three Tournament Fighters games, and is considered an overall uncommon game. The game's storyline revolves around The Shredder challenging the Turtles to a battle, but are forced to fight amongst themselves and their allies to prove who is worthy enough to fight him.
The selectable characters in the game included:
The game's single-player Story mode has the player taking control of one of the four Turtles (Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello), as they hold a contest amongst themselves to see who is fit to take on Shredder's challenge. After defeating the first four opponents (including a clone of the player's character), the player proceeds to fight Casey Jones and then Hothead (a character based on the Dragon Warrior from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics) before the final match with the Shredder. In addition to the Story mode, the game also has two Versus modes (one against the CPU and another against a second player), as well as a four-player tournament mode. An option mode where the player can adjust the game's difficulty, continues, and speed is also available.
The gameplay follows many of the standard fighting game conventions. Battles consist of three-round matches and the first player to win two rounds is the victor. Each character has their own repertoire of basic punch and kick techniques, as well as command-based special moves. Game-play was minimalistic for a fighting game. Each of the Turtles were merely pallet swaps of one another, and did not use their signature weapons in combat, but had different fighting and special moves. The NES version allows the player to match any character against a clone of himself, with the exception of Hothead. Two players were unable to select Hothead under normal circumstances, unless a glitch was exploited in the game's "Vs. CPU" mode, due to technical limitations. The second Hothead will be colored differently, as with all same character matches in the game, but the game will also flicker due to the large size of both characters. Super Moves were attained as follows: at a point in the match, Splinter's head will appear on a floating monitor and drop a red ball in the middle of the stage. Collecting the ball will allow the character to utilize their Super Move by inputting the appropriate command, which will at that time also free the ball to be used again by either player.
The NES version of Tournament Fighters featured Leonardo and Hothead on the cover, and was the last third-party game to be released in North America and the PAL region on that console in 1994. This was also the only version of the game to not be released in Japan. Tournament Fighters was one of the few fighting games released for the NES during the fighting game boom.
The Super NES version is widely considered to be the most popular of the three releases. This version was known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Warriors in Japan. The cover featured Donatello facing off against Armaggon. The story of the SNES version has a tournament being organized and Karai kidnapping April and Splinter, and the Turtles must travel across the US in their Turtle Blimp, defeating other fighters and collecting information.
CharactersEditThe characters in the game included:
- Cyber Shredder
- Chrome Dome
- Fake Brother (Story mode character)
- Rat King (Unlockable boss character)
- Karai (Unlockable boss character)
Gameplay was similar to SNK fighting games, using a four-button control scheme consisting of two punch and two kick buttons, weak and strong. A particular feature is the possibility to use a super special attack. By filling a "Mutagen Meter" by hitting their opponents, players could unleash a Super Move on their opponents, by pressing the two strong attack buttons simultaneously. There is also the option of enhancing the speed of the game, making the fights more intense but also harder to follow.
In addition to the main and versus modes, there is a story mode in which the Turtles must rescue April O'Neil and Splinter. Only the four of them can be playable whereas the other characters (as well as a turtle clone) are the opponents. There is also no Mutagen Meter in story mode. There is also a watch mode, which basically makes the computer control the characters.
The Super NES version of Tournament Fighters was released in Japan under the different title of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Warriors.
- The voice of the announcer, as well as the four Turtles, are different. The voices of the Turtles in the Japanese version sound less rough, with attack names sounding more clear. Some voice clips were taken from the Arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.
- Some of character portraits are drawn differently in the Japanese release (such as Wingnut's).
- Some of the character special attacks have been tweaked, such as Aska's double-hitting uppercut.
- In Rat King's stage (Studio 6), the fighters can break the walls and expand the arena.
- Aska's sprites underwent several modifications. In the Japanese version, her leotard is in form of a thong, exposing her rear when she does a spin or a high kick. In the overseas versions, they were originally bloomers. Moreover, her victory animation and pose is different. In the overseas version, Aska stands with arms crossed while butterflies surround her (an animation recycled from one of her special moves). In the Japanese version, she raises her arm in victory while her breasts bounce.
The Mega Drive/Genesis version of Tournament Fighters was released in North America, the PAL region, and Japan around the same time as its SNES counterpart.
When four purple doppelgangers of the TMNT appear and kidnap Splinter on Krang's behalf, the Turtles team up with some of their allies and trek across the galaxy searching for their father. During their sojourn, they come across the clones of themselves and their friends, and eventually a Triceraton, Krang himself, and the real mastermind behind the plot, Karai. The control scheme of the Genesis (Mega Drive) version greatly differed from the other incarnations, as it included a Weak button, a Strong button, and a Taunt button. The Taunt button could also be used in conjunction with a specific D-Pad motion when the character's health was low to unleash a mighty Desperation Attack. The cover featured Raphael and a Triceraton.
Characters in this version included:
- Casey Jones
- Ray Fillet
- April O'Neil
- Clones of the Turtles and their friends
- Triceraton Unplayable boss character.
- Krang's Android Unplayable boss character.
- Karai Unplayable boss character.
The Genesis version uses the standard three-button controller, with only two buttons for attacking (punch and kick). To perform stronger punches or kicks, the player must hold the directional pad towards the opponent while pressing either attack buttons. The third button is used for taunting. Some of the stages in the game feature destroyable scenery that gives the player and their opponent access to new areas in the stage. As well as their special moves, each character has a 'killer' attack which is only accessible when they are close to death and the red part of the characters' life gauge at the top starts flashing. These moves nearly take out the other characters life gauge completely.
The game has eight playable characters, which includes the four Turtles and Casey Jones, as well as April O'Neil (whose active role differs from the versions of the character featured in other games), Ray Fillet (a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comics), and Sisyphus (an original character, named Musha Beetle in the Japanese version). The player can adjust their power and speed after selecting their character. The main single player mode features the turtles and their allies traveling to various planets in Dimension X, fighting against clones of themselves, as they seek to rescue Splinter from Krang. After defeating the eight clones, the player travel to the final three stages to fight against a Triceraton, Krang's Android, and Karai (in that order). The game has a two player mode, as well as a practice mode in which the player faces the computer in a 1-round match, and a "Tournament" where the player must defeat 88 opponents with one life gauge.
In 2010, a YouTube user by the name of Junanagou discovered a way to alter the game's data to allow the three bosses to be playable. Only accessible via a "Trainer" program directly from Junanagou himself, Triceraton, Krang's Android, and Karai are more or less full characters with second character palettes, complete move sets (including a Desperation move for Triceraton), and complete stability during gameplay. This, coupled with screenshots showing player 1 and 2 as bosses on the game's back cover and in the manual, offer evidence that the bosses were initially intended to be playable, and the method to do so was removed.