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Apr 222015
 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is the newest movie version of the franchise that’s edgier than ever before.

It starts with news reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) who is focused on getting the scoop on the Foot Clan that’s been terrorizing New York City. Unfortunately she’s always stuck with lighter news stories, even though she wants to be a serious journalist.

April’s cameraman is Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett). He likes April, but isn’t real supportive when it comes to achieving her dreams. The last time Vern Fenwick was featured was in the 80s cartoon series as an egotistical rival news reporter. This version of Fenwick isn’t as funny, but he is more helpful in the long run.

Now we get to the turtles themselves, who don’t actually appear until much later in the movie. As regular turtles 15 years earlier, April used to care for them, along with a rat named Splinter, by feeding them pizza. The turtles were also test subjects in her father’s science lab for something called Project Renaissance. That does explain how they got their names, Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello.

I remember in the earlier movies when the turtles were made from animatronics and puppetry. Now they are graphical with a very edgy presence. It’s creepy at first, but once you see the turtles in action (in the style of the Transformers movies) it gets better.

Splinter is also very graphical. He taught himself ninjitsu before teaching it to his sons, but one thing that’s very different is that he has a punishment chamber called the hashi. He makes the turtles balance on different things for long periods of time if they disobey him for going up to the surface without permission.

Of course the turtles’ archenemy is the Shredder (Torhu Masamune). This time his ambition is to spread a deadly virus throughout the city with the help of scientist Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), who used to work in the same lab as April’s father.

The mutagen that created the turtles and Splinter was made to be a cure for the virus and Sacks intends to sell it after the virus is spread so he can become rich. It’s up to April and the turtles to stop him. The story plot may seem rushed, but at least that keeps it entertaining.

This movie was good, providing a new angle to the franchise. But what will become of April, now that her news career is in jeopardy from keeping the turtles a secret?

Sep 032013
 

TMNT

I never thought it would happen, but at these past two Anime conventions, I got to meet two of the voice actors from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version).

The first was Michael Sinterniklaas at Anime Festival Orlando 2013, who was the voice of Leonardo. He was awesome. When Michael autographed two of my TMNT DVDs, he mentioned that he grew up watching the Ninja Turtles and that he liked the newest version that is on Nickelodeon.

The second TMNT voice actor was Sam Riegal at Mythicon 2013, who was the voice of Donatello. He also grew up watching the turtles and was thrilled when he got the role.

I wonder if any other voice actors from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version) will come to Orlando in future conventions. I’d sure look forward to that.

Mar 232012
 

With the huge success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Play Station 2, I had no doubt that it would have a sequel. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Battle Nexus is much different from the first one. The story line starts where the first one left off. If you’re highly familiar with the 2003 TMNT series, this game covers many points throughout season two.

There are a lot more levels and tougher enemies and bosses. Once again it also features footage from the various episodes and anime cut scenes, which are still just as enjoyable.

This game can have up to four players, but in the one-player mode you can change turtles at any time during a level. That’s very helpful because each turtle has a special skill that can get you through many tough situations. Leo can damage an enemy with his dash attack, which is very helpful against a group of enemies or a tough boss, Raph can move large boxes, Mikey can descend over large gaps, and Don can deactivate computer systems.

Each turtle also has a special attack skill. Leo has a sword slash, Raph has a fire shield, Mikey has a fire blast, and Don has a mini force field, which is helpful against those annoying bats.

The life meter is a bigger concern in this game. Although you don’t die after falling in a hole, you only get one life and the life meter is only ¾ of a circle. That can get frustrating at times, I’ll admit. Thank goodness for cheat codes.

Among the new items featured are multi-colored crystals that can increase your powers and how many throwing stars you can hold. That’s why it’s good to search all around each level if you can.

To help perfect your skills, there’s a tournament mode. All you have to do is defeat a large group of different enemies ten times in a row and win a prize, like a crystal.

And as usual, the Shredder is the final boss. You actually have to fight him several times throughout this game and he is as powerful as ever.

I liked this game, but what I looked most forward to was unlocking the original classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. I heard that many fans would think, “It’s about time it came to a video game console.” I’d have to agree.

You can’t choose which turtle to be because each one is set to a certain controller, controller 1: Leo, controller 2: Mikey, controller 3: Don, and controller 4: Raph. However, my bigger concern is that the game doesn’t pause and if you stand in one place too long, a missile drops down out of nowhere and kills you. At least you have unlimited “quarters” in order to play all the way through.

Nov 302011
 

When the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series premiered in 2003, so did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the Playstation 2. It’s definitely different from any of the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games I played, not only with graphics, but game play control as well. I don’t like the vibrating joystick very much though.

You can choose between any of the four turtles. Their fighting skills are all the same except for their jumping attacks that you unlock after the first level. Leo has a split kick, Raph has a rushing sai attack, Mikey glides with his nunchukus like a helicopter with rapid kicks, and Don swings his Bo staff down hard, which is great at a distance.

If you’re highly familiar with the first season of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series this game is based on, you’ll see that it’s almost completely accurate to the line. The main reason I say “almost” is because some of the anime cut scenes between levels were not featured on the series, but I still found them just as enjoyable. If you’re not familiar with the series, that’s okay. The story line is still easy to keep up with and that’s always a good thing.

The various enemies are a bit harder than in the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games and, as usual, you have to defeat them all in each pathway in order to continue forward. At least there’s a map that will show you where each enemy is and where they are, with a slight exception to the Foot Tech Ninjas that turn invisible and like to jump on your head. I am a bit concerned that you’re only given six lives with no way of getting any one-ups. At least the lives all reset after each level.

There are a total of six stages with about six areas each, including three challenge areas to increase each turtle’s skills. Every stage has a big boss, but there are some areas with a mini boss. However, only certain turtles face certain mini bosses. For instance, only Raph can fight Casey Jones, only Mikey goes up against Hun, and only Don faces Baxter Stockman in his exo-suit. A little strange, don’t you think?

I’d have to say that the most fun boss to fight is the big boss of level two, who is Nano as a giant. He was difficult to figure out at first, but once I understood what tactic to use, Nano became more of an exciting challenge.

The digitized voices are also a great addition. It’s so much more interesting for each character to have a different voice, which are the same voices from the series, than to have the same voice for all four turtles as before, if there were any.

Of course the final boss is the Shredder once again. I must say that he is harder to beat than ever before because he will eat you alive with his massive combo attacks and speed if you get too close. That’s why I think Don is the best turtle to fight him.

This is a good game. Unlike the others, you get a save file and a different ending with each turtle. You’ll have to beat the game with all four turtles to unlock more of the secrets it has to offer.

Sep 302011
 

One of the most popular types of warriors in pop culture are ninjas and video games provide excellent stories about these highly skilled assassins in action, whether it’s the path of the hero or not. Here are my most favorite video games with ninjas.

#10) Red Ninja: End of Honor (Playstation 2): I only briefly knew about this game, but I found it interesting. Kurenai, a hot female ninja, shows amazing skills like wall running, wire swinging, and sneaking through tight places. Kurenai is quick as she is deadly, but makes it look good with that skimpy outfit.

#9) DOA Dead or Alive (Playstation 2): Like most fighting games, there are many different types of fighters to choose from. This one has several ninjas. They include Kasumi the Shinobi warrior, her brother Hayate, and Ryu Hayabusa the hero from the Ninja Gaiden franchise. These characters made more sense in the movie version, but what’s amazing about this game is that if a fighter gets knocked down a flight of stairs, or off a high bridge, the fight doesn’t end there. It resumes from below. None of the other fighting games I played ever did that before.

#8) Mortal Kombat (Super NES and Sega Genesis): The two ninjas in this classic fighting game are twins Scorpion and Sub-Zero. At first I thought they were just clones with different colored suits, but there’s more to them than that. Sub-Zero can freeze opponents in order to defeat them easily, and Scorpion is a specter with a scorpion stinger in his hand, which grapples opponents helplessly. He also shouts, “Get over here” when he does it. Is that weapon voice activated, or what?

#7) Street Fighter 2 (Super NES): The highly popular trend of fighting games started with this classic from the early 90s. There were many different types of fighters featured in this franchise. In the earlier versions, the only ninja in the group was Vega the Spanish cage fighter. I must say that Vega is one of the toughest to go up against because he’s fast and can climb upon the cage before using his dive attack. Personally, I think Vega is a showoff, but a deadly one.

#6) Simpsons Arcade Game: I know this sounds very unlikely, but there is a level where the Simpsons fight enemy ninjas in a TV station, followed by a ninja master as the boss. He’s a cool character, but it’s very distracting when other ninjas continuously join in the boss fight. As skilled as these ninjas are, I’m surprised that the Simpsons would be any match against them at all. Then again, the Simpsons fought their way past gangsters, zombies, and wild animals like that angry bear boss. So why not ninjas?

#5) Ninja Warriors (Super NES): I remember playing this arcade game years ago, which was about ninjas fighting commandos. It looked interesting, even though I didn’t understand the story line. Of course my favorite was the female red ninja Kunoichi. However, the Super NES version is different, but still interesting.

#4) TMNT franchise (NES and Super NES): Of course, the ninja turtles are long time favorites in the ninja category. Unlike most, these young ninjas are more laid back as they battle crazy enemies like robotic Mousers, Stone Soldiers from Dimension X, robot Foot Ninjas that pop in from all kinds of places, and tough mutants like Bebop and Rocksteady who attack with guns. Let’s face it. Ninjas never use guns, but they always fight with honor.

#3) Bad Dudes (NES): In this old game, tough guys Blade and Striker must rescue the President from enemy ninjas. The action level is tame, but challenging. The ninjas are fast and attack from all sides. The only thing that concerns me about this game is that after succeeding, it has the corniest ending I’ve ever seen.

#2) Ninja Gaiden (NES): Iconic ninja warrior Ryu Hayabusa makes his debut in this game. He is a smooth fighter. Along with his sword, Ryu uses items like windmill throwing stars and fire wheels to fight numerous enemies. Ryu is also a smooth jumper. He can jump off walls and fight enemies when he has a jump & slash weapon. Every time Ryu jumps he always flips forward in midair several times. I’ll tell ya, he makes it all look so easy.

#1) TMNT franchise (Playstation 2): In case you were wondering, these versions are much different than the ones for the NES and Super NES. The quests are more based on the modern animated series and contains the same edginess when the turtles battle enemies and bosses. Not only do these ninjas fight street punks, robots, and aliens, but also stick to their roots as they fight human Foot Soldiers and bosses like Karai and the Ultimate Ninja. Now this is my kind of adventurous ninja action.