Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan Game Boy Review

Based on the TV series of 1987, Fall of the Foot Clan focuses on another of the Turtle’s efforts to save their damsel in distress April O’Neil from Krang, Shredder and the Foot Soldiers. And in my opinion, this game makes for quite possibly their most exciting adventure yet.

To me, Fall of the Foot Clan represents the pinnacle of what the Game Boy was capable of producing in terms both conceptual and graphical design. There’s diversity in not only level design, but in the enemies and bosses too. There’s also a very stable balance of both sprite size and level size; an issue overlooked in other Game Boy games such as Metroid II: Return of Samus. Fall of the Foot Clan also has one of the most stellar 8-bit soundtracks I have ever heard; if not, the most stellar. Besides all this, I’ve also encountered merely minimal glitches, playing it on and off for almost 20 years. To achieve all this on a monochromatic system in particular, was a hard feat to achieve, but with this title, I think Konami hit the nail on the head in terms of visual presentation.

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I also believe Konami hit the nail on the head in terms of gameplay too. To play this game is to feel excited and exhilarated, as well as challenged. Though it is a testing game, it isn’t overly hard, like many other 2D side scrollers around at the time. Although there aren’t many side quests, having only two bonus stages to undertake throughout the game, there is still a great deal of satisfaction to be had for a game of its kind; as much as the likes of Super Mario Land or Duck Tales.

I’m also happy to be able to say that there are no issues with the control scheme at all, which I believe has a lot to do with why it plays out better than most other challenging 2D side scrollers, such as Castlevania or Mega Man. A lot of the time with games like that, the controls tend to be pretty sketchy, and it takes away a great portion of any legitimate sense of challenge. But in Fall of the Foot Clan, I think Konami got the balance between challenge and controls right.

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The game’s lifespan, to me, is where it drastically falls short of what it could have potentially been. It’s the same reason why I was partially disappointed with Super Mario Land when I played it for the first time. Though there is enough in the game to make players want to it play it on multiple occasions, I have always wished that the level structure could have been a bit more attuned to perhaps resemble a Mario game, whereby there are multiple levels making up multiple worlds. I think adopting an idea like that would have brought much more to the table.

As I mentioned, Fall of the Foot Clan follows the four turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello in another attempt to save April O’Neil from Krang and Shredder. I think it’s about as imaginative as most games were at that time in regards to story, and there’s nothing overwhelmingly special about it. Although some developers tried to put more emphasis on story at around that time, like what Nintendo tried with EarthBound, this was a time before video games were accepted in the mainstream as a viable art form. And consequently, all Fall of the Foot Clan’s story does is a half-decent enough job of adding to the overall atmosphere of the game.

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Although the game plays out like most games of that era, indeed 2D side scrolling was the dominant genre of the third, and fourth generations of gaming, this game to me stands out as being one of the best for a few reasons; because of how exciting, challenging and intense it is, and since it also does a very good job of presenting a pre-existing license through the medium of video games. Especially in a time closer to the video game crash of 1983, that was inevitably going to be a much harder feat to accomplish, and since, there have been few games to do this.

Overall, I think anyone who owns a Game Boy should own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan. It’s a very entertaining title, and although it does have its flaws, it is certainly worth far more than merely one playthrough. This game came out back in 1990, and it still very much holds up to this very day, in my opinion.

7 out of 10