Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters and a hypothetical roster

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters was released between 1993 and 1994. The Konami-developed title was given three releases over three different consoles, resulting in in three very unique experiences with three different stories across the NES, SNES and Sega Genesis consoles’ respectively. Look to the future, a Tournament Fighters reboot could benefit from the latest in gaming technology by increasing the amount of playable characters found in the game. Since more and more fighters nowadays are prematurely judged by the amount of characters found within the roster, I would propose to NetherRealm Studios a roster of twenty six fighters along with four DLC guest characters, resulting in a thirty-man roster that (hopefully) wouldn’t feel bloated at launch. With this first article of a hypothetical NetherRealm Studios developed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, I will break down the roster I would hope to see in game. Enjoy.


Leonardo would be a well-rounded character ala Ryu from Street Fighter, or Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat; the “easy” character that almost anyone could pick up and feel like they could master him easily. He would have to strike a balance between both speed and strength, while not overwhelming the player with too many combos or special moves to remember.






Since Donnie does machines, his tinkering ways should come through in his fighting style. He could be comparable in strength and speed to Leonardo, but should differentiate himself by the multitude of potential gadgets and weapons he could bring to the fight. Relying on tech to win the fight, it could also be a fun way of referencing the history of the TMNT comics with gadgets like the gravity gauntlet or the dimensional transporter to teleport around the arena.





While all four Turtles could have similar fighting styles, Raphael could be the tank of the team, able to take more damage, deal more damage, but be a bit slower than his brothers when it comes all the fisticuffs. Raph could also have a parry ability after a hit or two is taken, allowing him to break his opponents combos a start one of his own.






While he may be a bit weaker than his brothers, Mikey would be something of a speed demon allowing him to mix up hand-to-hand tactics with his trademarked nunchucks. Also, taking Injustice 2 into account, his skateboard would be a great way to introduce some special moves to his combinations making him visually distinct from his brothers.






There have been TMNT video games for over thirty years now, and to my knowledge, we have never been able to play as Master Splinter before, and now is the perfect time to take control of the man who trained the Heroes in a Half-Shell. While Splinter should have some special moves, the developers should move away from the traditional fireballs and focus on Splinters pure skill. The funny thing about this rat is that he is so experienced in battle that he always finds a way to defeat any opponent that stand in his path.



Casey Jones

Casey would be a great way to introduce some variety of fighting styles and separate himself from the pack by being able to pick different weapons before or during a fight. Want to be quick, use a golf club. Favor high combos with decent damage; use a pair of baseball bats. Fancy some heavy damage; break out a cricket mallet or a goalie stick. Or maybe you’re old school and you just want to go for some bareknuckle action, the choice is yours.




April O’Neil

You know what, maybe April’s tired of being kidnapped all the time and she learned how to throw a punch. Maybe we should all remember the action figure released back in ’88 that came packaged with a friggin pistol. While she may not be the strongest member of the roster, April could rack up some quick combos and overwhelm an opponent through sheer speed and some self-defense gadgets courtesy of Donatello.





How the hell has this guy not shown up since 1991? As a fighter, Keno was able to infiltrate the Foot Clan with a little help from Raphael, and that is bad ass. While Keno seemed to prefer using his fists and feet instead of relying on gadgets, Keno could be more of a grappler character, relying more on taking opponents to the ground working a joint or two. If nothing else, he could always run over someone with his pink moped.




Ace Duck

Ace would be a great way to mix up the gameplay and keep it from feeling stale by allowing players to get up in the air and pepper their opponents with rapid fire shots from whatever military style pistol or rifle Ace may have up his sleeve. Ace would be a projectile heavy fighter with an emphasis on keeping a good distance between him and the opposition.






Mona Lisa

Given Mona’s relationship with Raphael it could be argued that her and Raph would have a very similar fighting style, minus the inclusion of weapons on Mona’s side. But her reliance on being more of an unarmed combatant could open up her move list to focus on joint manipulation or literally throwing her opponent around, making her one of the very few, if not only, female tank-builds in fighting games.






Want to see Donatello’s gadgets get turned up to eleven, then look no further than Metalhead. While often seen as something of a villain in past Turtles games, Metalhead can make up for that by being an imposing threat that overwhelms the opposition with his size and projectile. Think of the Sentinel in the Marvel vs Capcom games, and you’re halfway there.






Mondo Gecko

While Mondo could play similarly to Michelangelo given that they would have similar attacks and projectiles with a rocket-powered skateboard, I kind of like the idea of Mondo Gecko being in the game from a narrative standpoint. I always viewed Mondo as the youngest of the Turtles extended group of family and friends, and given his close friendship with Michelangelo, the party dude cold be something of a mentor figure to Mondo, who would act as a Robin to Mikey’s Batman.





I am a massive fan of the Turtle comic from IDW Publishing and they deserve some representation, and I can think of no one better than Angel/Nobody. I think Angel would be best implemented by emphasizing some alternate play-styles with this character. Perhaps some kind of variant system could be implemented for characters like this, giving her two styles for the player to choose from Either maker her a striker with the “Angel” variation, of maker a gadget/projectile user with her “Nobody” variation.



Krang, making his presence known in an updated version of the iconic robot body from the ’87 cartoon, Krang would actually be the final boss of the game that is unlocked after beating the story mode. Krang would arguably be the most powerful fighter in the game ala Shao Khan or Akuma. Which would mean that he would be lovingly and arguably cheap and OP while also being automatically eliminated from tournaments like EVO. Also, narratively speaking, he would supply much of the opposition to the Turtles thanks to a small army of mutants and aliens.




Wyrm would be a great distance character thanks to the hundreds, if not thousands, of worms that make up his person. Just imagine the multiple weapons and projectiles that he could use in a fight by commanding his worms to for a hammer or a dagger. This ability could be tied to a meter of sorts that could decide the damage output or rapidity of attack.







This master thief could control the fight by manipulating the projectiles or weapons of his opponents by “stealing” them as they are used and reversing them against a hapless fighter. Also, he could be a faster than average fighter that relies on agility over pure strength.







Another brute character that could be designed to mimic the best skills of all four Turtles to turn their very advantages in battle against them. This ability to emulate the Turtles fighting styles could be coupled with the raw power of a character like Krang making Slash the rare tank character that has a level of speed that could rival some of the quicker characters like Michelangelo or even April O’Neil.






Sticking with the bad guy’s pension for brute strength is Leatherhead would be another strong and slow type that could make up for this hindrance by having multiple projectile attacks ranging from shotgun blasts to gator traps. He could also employ the use of close-up edge weapons like knives or machetes, and just for fun, let’s give him a long chain that can cause anti-air combos or would allow him to break an opponent’s combinations in their tracks.






This robot ninja given sentience would take up the garb of a Foot Clan ninja as a way of implementing psychological warfare on the Shredder by reminding him of the clan he lost. This fighter would mimic the various moves of not only the Shredder, but also Splinter while using various hi-tech methods of attack through the use of projectiles offering a great mix of styles to allow for an easy to use, difficult to mast type character that would allow bother newcomers and experts to handle this character with ease.


The Shredder

Given his history as a leader within the Foot Clan, as well as a former friend of Splinter, his playstyle would often mirror Splinter while offering up a much stronger and aggressive move set thanks to his signature bladed armor. In lieu of projectiles, Shredder could have a couple of variants to his fighting style depending on the player choosing to use his blades, a sword or even going choosing to go into battle with a staff, but sans armor. Shredder could offer many styles of play through seemingly cosmetic attributes.





While she may have a fighting style similar to her father, the Shredder, Karai would have a heavy emphasis on weapons-based projectile attacks ranging from swords to shuriken and smoke bombs. Each type of shuriken and smoke bomb could have different effects, like a corrosive or dizzying effect, that could result in different damage outputs r even slowing the character down for a brief time to allow for Karai to set up some massive combos equating to an early victory f implemented correctly.



Yes, another tank character, but this one would force the player to focus on combinations and control of their opponents distance as he would have no projectiles to speak of. However, given Hun’s nature as a street fighter, he could come equipped with a lead pipe or a broken beer bottle that could be found around the stage and would be specific to his character, thus making him unique amongst the roster.






Taking influence from past NetherRealm characters like Noob/Smoke or Triborg, the real dynamic duo of comics could offer a nice mix of strength and speed. With Bebop being a quicker character that could lean more on projectiles with guns and grenades, while Rocksteady could be a tank with an emphasis on combos thanks to his immense strength and patented sledge hammer. Also, you should be able to switch the characters on the fly during battle with the push of a button, offering up more combo opportunities than virtually anyone on the entire roster.



Given that this is a remake/reboot of Tournament Fighters, we should take this as an opportunity to revisit a character that has only appeared in the SNES version of TMNT: TF. While Aska had the noble aspirations of starting a dojo in the OG Tournament Fighters, let’s make her a bad guy here hellbent on restoring the Foot Clan to their former glory with or without the help of Shredder or Karai. Her first mission, take out the Turtles. To do this, she should be very combo heavy, offering a balance of strength and speed that leans a bit more on the side of muscle. Considering her respect for training, she should have limited use of projectiles and weapons, relying on her skills as a fighter to control the pace of a given match.


Rat King

A true neutral in terms of the story, Rat King would be the only mystical character in the game that relys on the fact that he is a spirit. He could summon an army of rats to stun the opponents without hurting them, while leaving them open to combos or projectile attacks.







DLC Fighters

We all know that nowadays, there’s going to be fighters made available after the games initial launch. With that being said, I would like to introduce five fighters that would have no impact on the story found in-game, but instead would expand upon it in many fun and hilarious ways.


Venus de Milo

Honestly, you should’ve seen this one coming. If a deal with Saban Brands could be reached, Venus would off a great mixture of speed, swordplay and magical projectiles given her nature as a shinobi. She could also offer an interesting point of view on the game’s story mode reacting to the Turtles and their ilk hopping across the multiverse (more on that in a future article).


Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi could be a great foil to a character like Leonardo or the Shredder, offering a good mix of bot strength and speed. Usagi could also have a different sword for every occasion, being about to absorb, deflect or even redirect projectile attacks and offer a great way to parry and break an opponent’s combos.






Savage Dragon

Finally, the good guys have a tank. While the TMNT comics from Image may be somewhat infamous, it should be noted that the Turtles first appearance was in the pages of the Savage Dragon, how great would it be for him to be the first dlc character released for this proposed reboot? The Dragon named Kurr could offer up a lot of projectiles thanks to his multiple police-issued firearms as well as overwhelming his opponent’s due to his great, unrivaled strength.





Since Warner Bros. owns NetherRealm Studios, Batman’s inclusion would be simple. If you’ve played either of the Injustice games, or even Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, you should already know how Batman will handle in this game. He would over an almost unfair mix of the holy trifecta; strength, speed and projectiles. Batman would also be a great foil for the Shredder having armor that could deflect chip damage slightly.



Kevin Eastman

Stick with me here, but I think it would be fitting to see the co-creator of the TMNT be able to punch his creations in the face. While I don’t know him personally, I get the feeling that Mr. Eastman would find the humor in seeing himself play a part of a Turtles fighting game. Given his role of creator, he could pull a Deadpool and use the health bars as weapons or throw sketchbooks and typewriters at his opponent’s. While it does seem very corny to include a properties creator in said property, it also is the kind of wacky and tongue-in-cheek humor that the Turtles are known for and would live up to the grand tradition of creator cameos.

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