Thursday, January 8, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The Manhattan Project for NES (1992)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The Manhattan Project for NES advertisement
Original print ad published in the March 1992 edition of EGM (no. 32)

Historical Background

The late eighties were a time of rampant consumerism that reached its peak with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phenomenon. This was time of convergence: electronic media were starting to display its full potential and became the defacto medium to promote every kind of useless crap for television-addicted kids. Now the Turtles already had a solid comic book background, which was very good indeed. Their TV and film efforts, not so much. The NES and Super NES games released around this time-frame were a mixed bag. And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The Manhattan Project (1992) for NES was almost irrelevant.

The third itineration NES game of the Turtles arrived after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV. Turtles in Time (1991), now considered a Super NES classic. This particular game was a good port of the arcade machine of the same name. As you can probably guess, the NES effort was a shameless cash-in that took advantage of the massive installed user base the NES had in the early 90's. It was better than the original TMNT game on the NES, a frustrating pixel vomit from 1989 that disappointed me and millions of kids back in the day.

Graphical Analysis 

As for the print ad itself, you can see that Konami tried to rake every last cent of the franchise with a two-page spread in the C2 and C3 parts of EGM no. 32, the second and third most expensive advertising spaces in any print magazine. These come just after the cover and are only superseded in price by the back of the magazine (C4). (Check out Magazine Designing to better understanding of print media). The illustrations of the Turtles and the layout is very well displayed, with lots of space for whites and a logical "Z" reading pattern that takes you from the headline, to the illustrations to the cover of the game without having read the copy. Try doing this in reverse "Z" motion: exactly the same pattern appears and applies in a logical manner. This is a marketer's dream because all your attention is centered around the important aspects of the message. If done well, that means more sales for your product. Sadly, this was not Konami's best game to market.


Original print copy:

The Turtles have taken new steps to fight crime. 
Splinter has taught the turtles some most excellent new moves that'll have Shredder's mob babbling for weeks. And for the first time ever, you can practice your new ninja warfare on each other in the two player modes as you face never before seen eight level test of turtle power for your NES. 
Battle for survival on surfboards, battleships, blimps, star destroyers, and in the seediest parts of Manhattan where even a respectable reptile wouldn't wander. 
Fortunately, when the going gets tough you can change turtles in the heat of combat, just like the tastiest of tag teams. It'll take all the fab four to shred a slew of slugs like Leatherhead, Rahzar, Groundchuck and Tokka.  
So team up with the Turtles and stop Shredder from holding up three million dudes and dudettes. 
  1. Raphael decided to start using his head when he fought. So after a year of gruelling training, he has hard.core head butting down to a science with his power drill attack. 
  2. Splinter taught Leonardo that the best defense is a sharp offense. So Leo learned to get the edge with a cyclone sword spin that slices Shredder's soldiers down to size. 
  3. The inspiration for Donatello's devastating attack move came to him while at a late night Bowling for Pizza Party. Now he enjoys striking with his gnarly knockout roll. Spare no one, Don. 
  4. The Turtles always told Michaelangelo that his smelly feet were lethal weapons. So he put them to use with an awesome kangaroo kick that knocks foot soldiers silly. 
Manhattan's crime rate is up. Two thousand feet to be exact. Because Shredder has ripped the island from the face of the Earth.

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