I don't get this game sometimes. I just played through stage 1 perfectly and the first part of stage 2 - then I couldn't make the jump. Not once, but at least a half dozen times. I have don it plenty of times but this run, no dice. I tried the usual 'knacks' but nope, not happening so I switched it off.
If any games was in need of an improvement hack, it's this game. I love the graphics, the sound effects and the gameplay but it riddled with inexcusable flaws. Considering Contra is so finely polished, I don't understand how this game ended up like this.
One reason I'm bothering playing it all are the graphics and sound. They're just wonderful, and the overall feel of the game is, I think, totally appropriate for Ninja Turtles. It's just got that all-too-common flaw of many NES games of the difficulty being at a level where it's hard, but it's hard because it's designed poorly, rather than the challenge being designed tightly. When you lose you feel cheated. If I don't get to the end of Contra I feel that I didn't because I wasn't good enough, not because the game was stacked against me.
But yeah without knowing too much about Konami's team from those days, I wonder how many designers they shared between games. So many of the Konami games have similar feel between each other. The nice thing is that it makes even the crappier ones (like TMNT) fun to play even in the face of many flaws.