Hack Showcase: TMNT: Return to New York & TMNT 2: Arcade Game Options Mode

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with additional content, dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. Non-rpgs I try to give a full run to, or at least enough for a solid review. Rpgs I will stick with titles that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, show parts later in the games where more differences appear. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream fully in the future or play on my own. Reviews are open to later revisions due to bug and content updates or me playing them and finding anything new I wish to bring up.

TMNT Return to New York by guitarpalooz is a rebalance and remastering of the first TMNT game for the NES. This hack fixes a number of the problems with the game since it’s well known for the difficulty, overpowered Donatello and janky gameplay. Each turtle now has different abilities to progress throughout the game, meaning you’ll want to switch turtles throughout the game.

  • Leonardo, as the leader, is the best all around ninja
  • Raphael, the brawler, does best one-on-one vs strong enemies
  • Michelangelo, with his agility, works well for crowded areas and tricky jumps
  • Donatello, with his intelligence, excels in special situations and attacking from a safe distance

Notable features include:

  • New stats for each turtle including attack, 1/2 health boost, speed, jumping, special weapons, and defense (see readme)
  • Turtles can be swapped on the fly by pressing Up+Start to cycle through
  • Nearly all enemies have been redrawn to better match the source material
  • All turtles have been given unique palettes
  • In-game save feature that saves progress on each new world map
  • Almost all game text has been rewritten to reflect the characters, plot, and NYC setting
  • Minor gameplay changes to increase the challenge in some areas
  • Minor level changes to accommodate turtles with reduced jump
  • Boss fight changes to eliminate camping spots
  • Low health warning only beeps once

SO HOW IS IT? This is a game that needed a hack. The first TMNT game is tough and quite unfair at times. Rebalancing the Turtles so each has their own stats and abilities was a good start. You got Leonardo as the well-rounder, Raphael as your strongest and tank, Donatello was nerfed so he’s a bit the weakest, and Michelangelo is your high jumper for those big jumps across gaps and things. The Turtles each have slightly different coloring to match their appearances in the comics and later media too. being able to change your Turtle on the fly by hitting up & start is a game-changer too! Check the readme file with the hack to see the Turtles new stats! The improved graphics also make the enemies look a lot more like ones TMNT fans are familiar with from Foot Soldiers, Mousers, Roadkill Rodney’s and more.

The difficulty was made easier at times, but there are still tough moments in the stages. Yes, the swimming level to defuse the bombs still sucks though. Some enemies will take more or less damage to you and received depending on your Turtle. There are spots where in the vanilla game you can respawn weapons or pizza to replenish your health easily, but in the hack some of those spots are infested with enemies or more enemies now. There is a safe spot for health before the end of level 3 and the start of level 4 at least. With Donatello made weaker, you’ll need to use each Turtle instead of plowing through with Donatello and his bo staff. Camping spots during boss fights were removed, so no camping to take no damage fighting Rocksteady anymore, and same with the Giant Mouser in Stage 4. Also with each Turtle’s different jumping abilities, extra ledges were added to those spots needed for higher jumps. The added saving ability is much needed in this if you don’t want to finish this in one sitting. The save kicks in after each level and saves your Turtles, their health, and weapons (The save also changes the tunnel where you fight the Technodrome in Stage 5, just like if you use a continue). So you may still find yourself starting a level in a weakened state. Thankfully restarting your saved game is pretty easy too.

I recommend this hack, don’t go into this thinking it’s a much easier build of the original game. The added differences between the Turtles was a needed addition. I’m gonna revisit this!


TMNT 2 The Arcade Game – Options Mode is another great hack by Nesrocks. This one adds an options menu for changing the game’s difficulty, amount of lives and continues, a stage select and even a sound test!

  • Changed the Ultra logo to the Konami logo on the title screen.
  • Added “Mania” difficulty setting.
  • Added “Fighting” setting. Old = original game, New = rebalanced hp for enemies. Set “new” as default.
  • Made it so enemies don’t have invincibility frames when attacked when using the “new” fighting setting.
  • The special attack does 50% more damage in the “new” fighting setting.
  • Redesigned the options screen.
  • Moved the “nesrocks.com 2021″ credit into the options screen.
  • Difficulty settings now also affect the enemies’ aggressiveness.
  • Difficulty settings now also affect enemies’ starting hp if using “new” fighting mode.
  • Improved how scrolling works. Standing on the right side of the screen causes an auto scroll to take place. The point at which a manual scroll happens has been moved slightly to the left for a better experience. So now the screen is divided into 3 areas, as far as scrolling is concerned, instead of the original 2. No scroll, manual scroll and auto scroll. Originally it was just no scroll and manual scroll.
  • Added compatibility to the “TMNT II – The Arcade Game Revamped” and to the “TMNT2 – Bugfix & Polish” hacks. First apply the revamped patch, then the bugfix patch, and then the options mode patch.

SO HOW IS IT? Nesrocks hit it out of the ballpark with this hack! An options menu with all kinds of options to change, a sound test, and being compatible with 2 other TMNT 2 hacks makes this the best of them and combining the 3 will give you the ultimate TMNT 2 experience! The change to the fighting style between the old game and new is much needed and puts the HP of enemies more in line with the easier Japanese counterpart to the Arcade Game. The Japanese version of this the Turtles had stronger attacks and enemies with less HP. Your special attack does 50% more damage in this new setting so you can really spam it all the way to the Technodrome if you wanted. Though with your stronger basic attacks you can still do quite a bit of damage along the way.

The new difficulty settings is another spot this hack shines. Difficulty affects how aggressive the enemies and bosses are, and their starting HP. Normal mode is still pretty tough though, easy you can almost bulldoze your way through everything including bosses, good for practicing or if you just want a quick game. Hard and Mania things get really rough! Enemies will surround and keep piling on top of you, bosses will deal more damage and environmental obstacles will take a lot more life from you! The bowling balls in Stage 1 in Mania will wipe a good chunk of your lifebar!

The other changes like how scrolling and autoscrolling works is a nice touch, along with removing enemies I-frames in the new fighting mode. I highly recommend this, and I haven’t personally combined this with the other 2 hacks (yet), but putting all 3 together will kick shell all the way to the nearest corner pizza shop!



https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3486/ – RHDN link TMNT: Return to New York
https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/5855/ – RHDN link TMNT 2: Arcade Game Options Mode

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