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Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 The Manhattan project for the NES, why this is one of the best brawlers for the system

Updated on February 13, 2015

the TMNT 3 NES cart and artwork.

TMNT 3 NES cart
TMNT 3 NES cart

My youtube review of TMNT 3

TMNT 3 the Manhattan project was developed by Konami. I took the pictures seen in this review using a video capture device.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 the Manhattan project (nuclear name isn’t it) was a game made by Konami in 1992 between the releases of the NES Turtles 2, and just a short time before Turtles 4 turtles in time. Often times consider the red headed stepchild of the classic Turtles games lets go take a look and see how the game has aged.

Manhattan island is lifted up in the sky

in the opening story scene of the game.
in the opening story scene of the game.


The Ninja Turtles are on the beach in Florida taking a vacation (how did they get there, why are they on a beach in broad day light? This is based off an 80’s kids cartoon show don’t ask such stupid questions) when they stop to watch Aprils news report from New York the screen goes fuzzy for a minute (which we all know means Shredder just kidnapped April) and Shredder appears announcing he has kidnapped April but he also does one better he manages to lift up all of Manhattan island up into the sky. He taunts the turtles if they want their home and April back they are going have to face him. The turtles grab there weapon and start making their way home.

Like most brawlers of the NES era there isn’t much story or dialogue. I will complement Konami on having a few small cut scenes; however the real title of cinematic NES Ninja still belongs to Ryu Haybusha of the Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Still the areas connect better than your average brawler and it comes out enjoyable finding out what your next area will be like.


Has far has the graphics go it’s pretty good for NES standard there are some scrolling effects some of the outside areas. The enemies especially the bosses are nicely detailed. Each turtle has some of their own unique animations. And the areas you go through all look unique going through the bridge, a battleship, or even the technodrome it all looks fantastic. An occasional flicker appears but it’s far from being a deal killer.


Outside of the laughably bad 8-bit Cowabunga you hear when you start the game, the games music is pretty good. It’s catchy and it also sounds really nice. They don’t use the classic turtle theme in this too much like they did in the arcade game, but none the less the original music does feel like it would come right out of the original cartoon series.


The gameplay in this game is pretty much your standard brawler at the time. You go right and battle enemies, once there done go right some more and a few more bad guys pop up for you to beat up. Addictive if just a bit repetitive. Turtles 3 is wise though to mix up the enemies a bit, even though they do recycle the foot soldiers a bit too much. Still when you have foot soldiers with giant ninja stars, foot soldiers that can throw sand, foot soldiers that run out of the screen then do a giant jump attack back in, and then foot soldiers with anvil’s you never quite run out of different kind of enemies even they do look the same.

On default difficulty it takes two hits to kill most enemies and 3 or 4 to kill some of the larger enemies. There is a code that will allow you to change the difficulty. It is Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, right, AB on the control pad before you start and you will be able to adjust your difficulty and the amount of lives in a secret option menu.

The options menu that appears when you enter the code

You can skip stages, change your difficulty and even increase the amount of lives.
You can skip stages, change your difficulty and even increase the amount of lives.

While the enemy’s attacks may be varied each turtle has been given a different feel for the combat. While they still stick true to the other games Don being the slowest with the longest range, and Raph being the fastest with the shortest range they now each have their own special super move which can be done by pressing B and A on the controller at the same time. Leo spins in place, Raph does a drill move that covers a good chunk of the screen, Mikey does a powerful kangaroo kick, and Don does a slow summer sault with his bo out that does decent damage. Each turtle’s special move is powerful and useful in various situations. However you don’t want to rely on these new moves to much there is a one HP taken off your life every time you use one of these moves. If you’re still looking for one hit kill move pressing down and B allows you to pick up and throw an enemy. A standard foot soldier dies in one hit if you use technique however you get less points for it, and the more points you get the quicker you get 1-ups. There is enough strategy in the points and special moves system that you want to figure out your attacks and think strategically if you want to get through this game.

Leo does a spin attack for his special move.

While it is powerful it takes away unit of health, however you can spam it if your down to one unit left.
While it is powerful it takes away unit of health, however you can spam it if your down to one unit left.

The bosses can vary there attacks and change there strategy so watch out.

Finally let’s talk about the bosses, with the exception of the first boss Rocksteady which fights just like he did in Turtles 2, all the bosses are different and use different strategy. The 2nd boss charges 3 times every time he runs at you but he manages to get stuck in the corner of the screen when he’s done, he also pulls out a pipe for the 2nd part of the fight. Bebop now has a ball and chain attach to his head making it impossible for you to jump kick him unless he is also attacking you with the chain. There are even a few bosses from TMNT 2 Secrets of the Ooze. Toka and Rahzer both make an appearance in this game. And they are both really hard . Super Shredder also makes an appearance has the final boss and all I can say is that he’s way cooler here then he was in the movie. He is able to throw out lightning bolts and even teleport around.

The final battle against Super Shredder is truly epic.

He has the ability to teleport and even throw thunderbolts at you.
He has the ability to teleport and even throw thunderbolts at you.
5 stars for TMNT 3 the Manhattan project.

Final Recommendation.

TMNT 3 the Manhattan Project is one of the best NES brawlers that was ever made in my personal opinion. The turtles are all different, they each have their own special moves, the enemies are the most varied, the story if you can call it that actually arcs bit between different levels, and the bosses each are different and varied. Overall I really enjoyed playing TMNT 3 and think that anyone who has an NES (or a clone console that can play NES games) should check this game out at once it is a fantastic play through.


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