Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan was the first game to feature the shelled ninjas on a portable cartridge-based system. It was released in 1990, at a time when both the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Game Boy were immensely popular. As Konami had the rights to the franchise and produced Turtles games for the home systems and the arcade, a Game Boy adaptation seemed like a no-brainer.
The end result feels like it was rushed to the market. It’s not actually a terrible game, it just doesn’t feel like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. Some video games feel like a popular franchise was jammed into a pre-existing prototype. This is one of those games. It does have all four ninja turtles and they do have their signature weapons. When one turtle is out of health, they are captured and a new turtle has to be selected. However, unlike the other Konami Turtles games released in the same time period, the turtles don’t seem any different outside of their weapon animations. They all have the same reach, and the striking power is identical. Even the animations, especially Donatello’s bo staff, seem like they have been shrunk in order to strike within the hit distance of the others. This leads to some animations looking weird, and all of them just don’t look right.
On the plus side, the game does have all of the expected aspects of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. There are basic enemies such as Foot Clan ninjas and Mousers to defeat. Plus, the boss characters consist of staples of the 1987 television series, including Bebop, Rocksteady, and Baxter Stockman. The final battles, of course, are with Shredder and Krang.
Another positive is that the underlying game mechanics are actually quite good. The jumping feels tight and precise and the weapons hit their targets as they should. It’s obvious a lot of work went into the platform game engine.
What makes the game feel rushed, besides the squished animations, is the slowdown. This was common with many games of the time, as developers pushed games beyond the limits of the platform. That doesn’t seem like this is the case here, as the next Game Boy game in the franchise featured much more detailed sprites and innovative fighting scenarios. In fact, both of Konami's other Game Boy Ninja Turtles games don’t suffer from the slowdown problem, despite them offering much more in every aspect, pointing towards the slowdown being a problem with the game’s code rather than the Game Boy system. Granted, the slowdown isn’t constant, and it isn’t game-breaking, but it is distracting.
Unfortunately, even the Cowabunga Collection, which provided options to remove most of the slowdown in Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for the Nintendo Entertainment System, doesn’t offer an option to reduce the slowdown for this game.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan would be a decent game if the weapon range and slowdown issues were addressed. As it stands, it is a mediocre platform game from the 1990s among a sea of mediocre platform games from the 1990s. On the plus side, the game did work well as a learning experience for the staff at Konami. Luckily, the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles platform game for the Game Boy was much better. This game is one I can't recommend unless you really love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or if you want to get the achievement for completing it in the Cowabunga Collection.
2½ out of 5