Better Wheels than Heels

I’ve talked about the Ninja Turtles characters that I’d like to see realized in Freedom Force, but the characters themselves were only part of what created the Turtlemania craze that shaped (twisted?) so many young lives.  In fact, the Playmates toy line and the cartoon itself introduced a number of vehicles that were every bit as wacky and unique as the cast itself, thereby ensuring that they would make an unholy profit from the kids of the 80’s, but also creating a world of even greater depth and color.

I’ve discussed in a few different places how much I’d like to bring some of the Turtles vehicles flying, driving, or floating onto the computer screen in my mod, and today begins another countdown of my top five vehicles.  They’d all have some roll to play in my Turtles campaign, and although their integration would provide a number of challenges, they would certainly make the game itself more inclusive and exciting.

5) The Foot Knucklehead: This giant mechanical spider has boxing gloves on the ends of its metal appendages….for some reason.  I don’t know why, but the simplicity of this design and the way it so totally captures the feel of the Foot clan appeals to me.  It showed up in the cartoon, the comics, and the Playmates toy line.  I think it would be a rather nice way to up the Foot’s firepower, while still sticking to the slightly goofy nature of the Turtles’ world.  Likelihood: Fair. There exists a mechanical spider mesh, and even a skope of someone sitting on its back.  If someone is willing to slap a Foot Soldier on there and skin it, we’re in business.

4) Cudley the Cowlick: Remember the disembodied, time and space transcending cow head that I mentioned the other day?  Well, believe it or not (and really, when we’re talking about marketing the Ninja Turtles, what ISN’T believable), he was once planned as a vehicle/playset for a proposed Mutanimals spin-off.  I suppose it’s just a love of the divine wackiness that pervaded the original cartoon and plenty of the Archie run, but aside from my nostalgic soft-spot for this character/conveyance, he would just be so…unique for a video game incarnation of the Turtles.  No other game that I know of includes giant, space-worthy bovine brain buckets.  Likelihood: Almost Impossible. Not only can I not really imagine anyone wanting to do this one, I’m not even sure HOW it could be done without a custom mesh…and let’s face it, that ain’t happening.

The Runners Up

Well, you’ve seen my top fifteen (’cause I couldn’t bring myself do to do just a top ten), but believe it or not, there were several that didn’t make the  cut.  There were a few characters that I really agonized over, and the final choices were pretty tough.  If I had infinite time and resources, all of these guys would find their way into Freedom Force, but unfortunately such is not the case.  Prepare to meet, in no particular order, the also-rans:

Wrestling Turtles: Another story arc from the Archie comics had the fab four whisked away to an intergalactic wrestling show by a giant, disembodied, floating cow head (I’m really not kidding).  The story itself was so over the top and unapologetically bizarre that it was charming.  The idea of the Turtles having to compete in some strange, alien contest of skill and courage is hardly a unique one.  I believe it shows up in just about all of their incarnations, but I liked the way that the Archie series really embraced the tropes of the wrestling shows that they were parodying.  The Turtles got strange new costumes, battled bizarre, gimmicky foes, and generally were very similar to your average episode of your average wrestling show.  Perhaps its just the guilty pleasure of watching those things during one of their goofiest stages, but something about this adventure appealed to me.  I think it would have been great fun to try to put together a set of missions where you have to engage in wrestling matches with various foes, though it would have taken a lot of work on my part.

Sarnath and Quark: This pair of aliens, one blind, one a big, spikey, dog-like-thing, were another neat feature of the Archie comics.  In the cartoon, the Turtles had come across an alien artifact of great power called the “Eye of Sarnath.”  This object was left on Earth by an alien, but the eponymous “Sarnath” was never seen.  In the Archie series, he shows up, and he’s pissed.  It turns out that the eye is an actual eye, of sorts, for the cybernetic Sarnath.  We have the usual heroic misunderstanding, but then an interesting and tragic story is kicked off.  I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the issues in question, but I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘ol Sarnath and his spikey seeing-eye dog.

Hothead: An ancient dragon spirit empowering a modern firefighter, this character was not only very cool as a toy, but also hot stuff (I couldn’t resist the pun.  I’m so, so sorry…) in the comics.  His apperances in the Archie comics were part of a pretty good series of story arcs which took the Turtles all across the world.  His role in the series culminated with an awesome showdown with an eastern demon.  His size changing would make him an interesting opponent for Krang on the city-crushing scale, but he’d really be too powerful to be recruitable.

Alright folks, that’s it for those that coulda’ been a contender, but tomorrow we’ll have something new, but still TMNT related.

Dream Team Part V


Turtles and Frogs and Ducks, oh my!  We’ve reached the top three, and these guys are all characters that I hope to see in Freedom Force sooner or later.  They’ve all been Playmate-ized as toys, and they were, in my opinion, some of the best. They certainly loom large in my childhood memories. As a matter of fact, our first subject owes his popularity almost entirely to his toy incarnation:

3) Ace Duck: Perhaps the number one favorite toy from the days of my Turtlemania, this fighter pilot turned mutant duck just looked too cool to pass up.  He shows up in the comics in a completely different form, but the grimacing, bomber jacket wearing fellow from the toy line will always be the real Ace Duck to me.  He’s another option for the winged air support that I’d like to give the Turtles, and I think he’d be great from a gameplay standpoint. He probably wouldn’t be too much good at fisticuffs, but with grenades, a pistol, and the ability to take to the skies, he’d certainly change things up.   Likelihood:  Good. A mostly completed skope exists, though it is in limbo at the moment.

2) Rat King: Definitely my top villain from both the cartoon and the toy line, this master of all rodentia has just always interested me.  Part of that probably has to do with the more sympathetic portrayal he received in the Archie comics, but I also loved his look as a kid.  As a matter of fact, I liked his figure so much that I couldn’t bear to have him be a villain.  In my games the Rat King would have a sudden, dramatic change of heart and join the Turtles against the evil Foot!  Don’t ask me why.  He’s just about a must for me, and he has the potential to figure heavily into dozens and dozens of possible missions.  He’d make a great villain, gameplay-wise.  A combination of mind control, grenades, and acid attacks would add some nice variety, and he has a perfectly plausible source of minions.  Likelihood:  Very Good. He should be a very easy skope and relatively easy skin.  The real challenge is how to put together his legion of rats.

1) The Punk Frogs: Genghis Frog, Attila the Frog, Napoleon Bonafrog, and Rasputin the Mad Frog showed up in only two episodes of the original cartoon, but they left a lasting impression on my young mind.  These amphibian counterparts to the Turtles seemed like a great idea to me then, and they still do today.  I’ve always been a Southern sympathizer, and these four green good-old-boys seemed alright by me.  In terms of gameplay, they would add some nice variety to the player’s roster, but they would also be great for a few fun missions drawn from their cartoon appearances.  They add four new weapons along with four new characters, a bow, an axe, a bullwhip, and a mace.  That has potential!  Likelihood:  Fair. While I think their skopes would be relatively complicated, the Frogs do have a bit of a following.  Here’s hoping it proves to be enough!

Well, I hope that has been interesting to some of you.  Now you know my top picks.  What are some of your favorite characters?  Who would you most like to play as/against in a Turtles game?  As always, feel free to leave comments!  This series is over…almost.  I’ve got one last bit of commentary planned for tomorrow.  I hope you’ll all join me again!

Dream Team Part IV

Hello again dear readers, and welcome to another installment of my TMNT character countdown!  We’re almost to the very top of the list, and these guys are the cream of the crop.  Starting us off today is one of the creepiest of Turtles villains, and the star of a not insignificant number of children’s nightmares.  He’s one of only a few characters on my list that were never part of the Playmates toyline, everyone’s favorite maurading killing machine:

6) Armaggon: This mutant shark is undoubtedly one of the most visually striking of all the Turtles’ villains.  He just looks so darn evil and scary!  He, of course, hails from the aforementioned “Future Shark Trilogy,” and I would love a chance to pit him against the Green Machine.  It would be a dream come true to get, not only Armaggon himself, but also his warmachine.  However, that would almost be overkill, as the ghastly gray one is a walking arsenal as is.  If you look at the image above, you’ll notice those weird lumps on either side of his face.  Yep, those are rocket launchers in his SKIN.  While this may seem almost Liefield-like, I thought it was pretty neat as a kid, and I have to say that he’d make one heck of a foe in FF.  Likelihood: Almost Impossible. This would be an extremely difficult skope, if it would be possible at all, and I doubt Armaggon is popular enough to elicit that kind of effort.

5) Wingnut and Screwloose: A deranged bat-like alien and his overgrown mosquito sidekick, these two anti-heroes would make for a really great addition to the Turtles’ allies, as well as providing a fun mission or two.  Wingnut was another of my favorite Turtles toys once upon a time, though at the time I didn’t get the joke of a paranoid mutant bat in a blue and gray outfit, complete with utility belt.  I have quite a good idea about how to build them into the game, and I think the addition of a flying character would give the players some nice options.  Given Wingnut’s…issues…he’d certainly have to have the “Mad” attribute, and these guys would definitely need “Charged Pair.”  I suppose I’d create Screwloose as a sidekick that always came along with Wingnut.  It would make them pretty unique, which is something I’m going for in my designs.  Likelihood: Very Slim. While I think Wingnut would be possible to skope, it would be pretty complicated, and Screwloose would be tough as well, though he could probably use parts of Gren’s Beetle.

4) Leatherhead: This mutated alligator is an enemy of the Turtles in the cartoon and an ally in the comics.  I’ve always loved him a s a villain, and the dynamic between him and the Punk Frogs is great fun.  How can you not like the idea of a back swamp trapper turned real life leatherhead?  As part of the Mutanimals he kind of gets lost in the shuffle.  As a good guy he’s just not as interesting as Mondo Gecko, Man Ray, or Wingnut, at least not to me.  He’s another one I’ve already given some thought to in terms of FF build.  What with an alligator’s physical power, and a variety of traps and weapons, I think he’d make a nice opponent, especially in some missions dealing with the Frogs.  Likelihood:  Fair. I don’t think he’d be too hard to skope, and Leatherhead is a pretty popular character.

Well, thanks for reading folks.  Come back tomorrow as we reach number one!