Image: Merso_X

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rescue-Palooza! has it all: Foot Soldiers, the Party Wagon, lesser known mutant antagonists Groundchuck and Dirtbag. And best of all, the fan-made PC game is free to download.

Spotted by DSO Gaming (via PC Gamer), Rescue-Palooza!, created by modder Merso_X, started out as a remake of the 1992 NES game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, then became a remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, before eventually morphing into a larger homage to the entire late 80s and early 90s era of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games, cartoons, and toys.

The game opens with Shredder taking to the airwaves yet again to interrupt the Turtles’ primetime viewing and announce he’s kidnapped all of their friends. After a quick tutorial, the Turtles head out into the world to free everyone, one level at a time. As in The Manhattan Project, characters in Rescue-Palooza! can jump, attack, jump attack, and deploy a special spinning attack using a meter that steadily fills up every few seconds.

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There are a lot of familiar faces here, at least if you’ve spent hours playing with every tangentially related character Playmate decided to turn into an action figure. A level near the party bus, for example, ends with a fight against Chrome Dome, Shredder’s robotic counterpart. After defeating him, he becomes available to play in each subsequent level. That level also unlocked Mondo Gecko, a mutanimal whose love of the skateboard knows no bounds. While he, like the rest of the roster, has slightly different stats for his attack, defense, and health attributes, he controls pretty much the same.

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The game can support up to four players if you can find some friends willing to crowd around your computer, and while I couldn’t get it to read my Bluetooth gamepad, the game does say it supports controllers in the options screen. It also features fan-made music for the game’s stages as well as fully-voiced quips torn right from the early TV series.

Overall, it’s pretty basic (and short), like the arcade games that inspired it, but it’s also a bright and wonderful Cowabunga down TNMT memory lane. Merso_X is also continuing to patch the game, so there’s always the possibility it might get more levels in the future.