'It's impossible.' 'That water level haunted me for many years.' 'The controls are terrible.'
Ask anyone who drudged through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nintendo and those are the common responses. When I was 7 years old, watching my brother and dad play, tirelessly try to get past that fated death hallway and fail. I watch them seemingly endlessly fall into the riptides of Area 3's sewers, fighting through pesky jumping idiots who throw banana boomerangs over spike beds, avoiding those zombified foot soldiers who multiply into thousands and finally, inside the belly of the beast known as The Technodrome.For many, many years, I gave up hope ever succeeding in it myself. Until that day in June 2013.
It took me nearly 20 years to beat the game. I was sitting on my bed, playing the now defunct Virtual Console release, heart-pounding in coats of cold sweat, my buddy on the floor half-paying attention to a milestone of my life. I worked the game over enough to make it through what I call the "death hallway" of the final area inside the Technodrome. With all of my Turtles mostly depleted from outrunning lasers of the randomly spawned groups of highly-lethal, jet-packed soldiers of Shredder's lair, I was only seconds from the big bad Shredder without The Genie.
The "Laser Soldier" must be one of the underexposed, most unrelenting, masochistic bastards in all of video game history.
For those who've never made it far enough to see these guys, they plague the final stage of the game exclusively and stand in the way of game completion like no other enemy in the game. These oddly-grey-and-blue shaded menaces will slowly hover onto the screen, too often with just enough altitude to clip your head and inflict a block and a half of damage. Even if you duck under them, they'll fire a sluggishly dooming laser your way.
Their behavior and appearance within the stage is almost unpredictably frightening. Sometimes, they'll come at you, surrounding in numbers. Sometimes, if you duck, they'll back off the screen and fall victim to getting eaten up by those often pesky ram limitations games had back then.
If you jump at them firing weapons, sometimes they react and go away. Since they usually come at you in pairs, they aren't afraid to follow you. Before you know it, you've got four of them on screen, flanking your every exit until they swallow all your vitality and beat you hard. You don't know unfair until you've encountered them.
Still complaining about that puny water level? HA HA HA.
So how're you supposed to kill these guys? I've now beaten the game a good ten times, and not all the time can it be done because of these vicious foes. Basically, you need a good arsenal of weaponry for each Turtle and manipulate the game best you can. Been collecting mounds of scrolls throughout the game? Well, they won't really help you here too much like they've been before. If you did scour the under realms of Area 5 and stock heavy on boomerangs, you might have a chance, if not a better one.
Once you reach the part of the narrowing of this longest hallway in the game, you're practically home free. The game will have you rinse and repeat a methodical, almost robotic repetition for your own survival. Since the hall is just tall enough to walk through, the soldiers won't be able to hover over you, so all the action is right in front of you. Like magic, if you simply duck and keep on the attacks, the soldiers will simply back off as if you've slipped them a swift Jedi mind trick.
Whether or not this is what you're supposed to do, I know of no other way to get through this madness.
When it's all over you're pitted against the big, bad Shredder. That's right, the spiked-gauntlet, and samurai-masked man responsible for all this rushing around, kidnapping and trashing your Turtle lair!
And what you're greeted with is the easiest damn boss fight in any game ever made.
If you've got boomerangs or Don, simply stand on the edge of the lower raised platform and attack. Don't even move. Just stand there. Shredder will bounce back after a Bo attack and won't be able to repel a flurry of boomerangs before corroding into a flaming pile. Even if he fires his one-hit death anti-mutation gun, it'll fly over your head like the bad joke this fight is.
Maybe this is the final kiss off for a brutal gaming experience, most specifically that hallway. I'll take it!