As the first Turtles game for NES, released in June 1989, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sold copies mostly because it was based on a popular television show. TMNT has gained a reputation for being a brutally difficult game due to the hordes of enemies you fight, and the fact you never gain life after beating a stage. As a team, you begin by rescuing April O'Neil, and you end up infiltrating the technodrome in an attempt to defeat Shredder.
Best time with deaths: 0:19:32 by Blake 'Spider-Waffle' Piepho on 2006-04-24.
To begin training for this speed run I did my usual routine of playing on an emulator and developing strategies. Through the use of save states I would fine tune and practice various segments of the game until I was really good at everything.
The biggest hindrance to a speed run this game offers is that the stage 5 boss, the technodrome, randomly spawns in 1 or 3 sewers. to achieve a good time I gamble that it will be in the fastest sewer and restart my run if it's not. The odds are that it will be in slowest sewer 50% of the time, and the medium and fastest sewers 25% each. I ending up not seeing the technodrome spawn the first 11 times I got to it. After that I saw the technodrome about half the time.
My first completed run I timed at about 19:43 but I wanted to improve it. I got another run at about the same time. Then I got a run about 7 seconds faster; I still wanted to do better. I followed up with 6 more seconds of improvement to get the run featured here.
This run didn't have any large slowdowns and did a pretty good job at everything. I was able to keep leo at high enough health after the water part that I didn't need to switch to him to get a half pizza in the sewer of level 3 which saved about 4 seconds. I didn't kill the stage 3 bosses particularly fast, in fact I deviated from my intended strat, this cost roughly 4 seconds.
I find the hardest parts of this game in level 4 if your trying to go through it fast, level 6 also can be fairly hard but not so bad if practiced a lot. The jump to the missiles in stage 3 can be costly on your time but I only wasted about 2 seconds lining it up. The boomerang guys can throw a boomerang early which sometimes causing a sequence of significant damage and slowdown.
I still think I can do better with some more risky strategies involving less turtle switching, less room for error and more potential for pseudo-randomness to end a run.
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