Arcade USA – Turtles! by Stern Electronics!



Developed by Konami and released by Stern, Turtles features the player taking the role of a mama turtle trying to rescue her babies in a 8 story building.

The game features four different mazes that change every 2 levels(floors) in the building.   The play field has eight mystery boxes scattered about the maze that the mama turtle must open.   six of the eight boxes contain a baby turtle, while the remaining  two contain additional enemies!  As the mama turtle opens the boxes, if a baby turtle is inside it will climb up on mama’s back.  At that time a home graphic will appear in the maze, this is the safe area to drop the baby turtle off.

Enemies in the maze are beetles that will change color depending on how long it is taking to complete the maze.  Beetles start of a light tan color and just randomly wander the maze, then they will turn into a brown color and will pursue the mama turtle if they catch sight of her, finally the beetles will turn blue and will actively pursue the mama turtle.   However the mama turtle is not defenseless, she has bug bombs she can drop that will stun the beetles.  Only one bug bomb can be on the screen at once and additional ones can be obtained from the center of the maze.  A good strategy is to stockpile bug bombs early in the game.

There were some limited ports of this game to the home consoles as well!

Turtles! – Odyssey 2 – Very good home port of the arcade game.  has only six mystery boxes but all the gameplay elements from the arcade are represented.   If you have “The Voice” module attached to your Odyssey 2 you can enjoy some neat music while you play the game. this music changes as you progress through the levels as well.

Turtles! – Emerson Arcadia 2001 – interesting port of the arcade game, does have all eight mystery boxes however the enemies are now delivery trucks.  This is from another arcade game called Turpin or 600, but the gameplay is still the same.   This version also allows you to drop multiple bombs in the maze and there is no bomb pickup like the arcade version.  The intro screen looks like the arcade version with what sounds like Morse code playing as the mama turtle enters the building.   Once a maze is complete a door will open at the edge of the maze for the player to pass through.

Turtles! – Entex VFD game – This is a very good VFD (Vacuum Florescent Display) version of the arcade game.  The gameplay and maze are represented quite well from the arcade game.  This version of the game is what first made me aware of the actual arcade game!  A neat twist this version of the game has is its two player feature, one player controls the mama turtle while the other controls a beetle!

Turtles! – Entex Adventurevision – A very well done version of Turtles for this obscure LED (Light Emitting Diode) tabletop game system.   the maze is compressed vertically, but all the elements of the arcade game are there.  Has all eight mystery boxes, the bug bomb pickup in the middle and numerous enemies (that look like centipedes instead of beetles in this version).  I was able to play this game at CGE (Classic Gaming Expo) in 2014 and really fell in love with it and the system.

So how would I rank these ports?

  1. Adventurevision
  2. Odyssey 2
  3. VFD Handheld
  4. Emerson Arcadia 2001

My high score for the Arcade Game 11,490 points.   If you ever see the arcade game or use Mame, give it a try and post your high score below!

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