Turtles was an old arcade game released by Konami way back in 1981 (but licensed to Stern). You may also know this title as either "600" or "Turpin".

The story

This is a fun early arcade game about a turtle and his adventures in a warehouse. This title is similar in concept to Frogger, but closely resembles the much later Super Pac-Man in gameplay. Konami originally wrote this game (which they mysteriously titled "600"), but it was licensed to Stern for US and European distribution, and only a limited number of games were made bearing the "600" name. Konami also licensed this title to Sega as well, which they released under the name "Turpin".

The game

Turtles is your standard maze game (one of dozens released in the wake of Pac-Man), with a few twists.

The game begins by showing your turtle entering a building (a very early "cut scene"), you are then presented with the first maze. Each maze has several boxes (with question marks on them), scattered around. You most open these boxes one at a time by walking on to them. Each box contains either an enemy bug (who will pursue you), or a "KidTurtle". The "KidTurtles" are what you are looking for here. When you find one it will climb onto your back, and take it back to the turtle house which will be located in one of the corners. After you rescue a few turtles the game becomes more difficult because of the amount of baddies that you will have released, but luckily a star will appear in the center of the screen to help you out. Grab this star to gain land mines. You can drop these in the path of a baddie, and cause him to freeze temporarily (you can safely walk over frozen baddies). A new game screen starts after you rescue all the "KidTurtles" After 8 levels you get to watch a small ending sequence, and then the game starts over with increased difficulty.

The Machine

Turtles came in an upright cabinet (I am unsure if any cocktail units were made, let me know if you ever spot one). This game used the standard "Stern cabinet that most Stern titles used, sideart was often just a painted "Stern" logo on these.

The marquee, monitor bezel, and control panel overlay all feature delightful cartoon turtle graphics in a very distinct style that I recognize, but I cannot recall the artist's name. The actual "Turtles" logo was blatantly copied by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or Hero turtles) comic book a few years later (at least they look very similar to me).

The control panel has a single ball-top 4-Way joystick mounted in the center, with bomb buttons way off to each side.

On the tech side of things this title used 2 Z80 processors and used the "Konami Classic" wiring harness (which makes it compatible with a variety of early games). You can convert this title to "Turpin" or "600" by swapping a single ROM chip (or convert either of those titles to "Turtles"), which my be useful information if you are putting a machine together and cannot find the correct PCB).

Where to play

This title was ported to the Magnovox Odyssey 2 console (although I doubt you have one of those). You can also play this game with three different emulators, MAME, Vantage, or Sparcade. When using an emulator you will need a real 4-Way joystick to properly control the game, as a normal gamepad will not work correctly (the diagonal signals confuse the game), or you can just use the keyboard.

This is a pretty good title to add to your arcade game collection. Because maze games are usually fun, and this particular title is a lot cheaper than Ms. Pac-Man. As an added bonus a lot of old Konami game boards will plug right into this cabinet and work properly (giving you more for your money).

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