Yes, they’re turtles in a half-shell. And yes, they’re filled with turtle power. They are the ever popular and lovable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they have spurned more than their fair share of video games…
Lately, it seems as if these combative turtles have been getting a resurgence in the wide and wonderful world of animated geekdom. The new Nickelodeon cartoon is surprisingly awesome and the foursome’s designs for their upcoming film fill us with anticipation (and worry). Over the years, the TMNT crew have allowed gamers to take control and take part in their Foot Clan busting ways.
These six Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video games represent the best titles that offer a tried and true insight into how fun kicking shell is. These are the finest TMNT video games…ever.
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project
It seemed like the home of turtles back in the late 80s and early 90s was Nintendo’s Famicon/NES. The third installment in Konami’s side-scrolling beat ‘em up games featured a pretty humorous plot (the gang was just trying to chill in Florida, but Shredder was up to his old tricks again) and that same solid Foot Clan beatdown gameplay. Out of all the TMNT games that landed on the NES, this one was the best. Each of the eight levels look great in their 8-bit digitized form, and it’s just too fun when you get to smash the same villains you used to watch on the cartoon. And hey, Super Shredder as the final boss gets this game even more brownie points from us!
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES)
Back in the early 90′s, the fighting game craze took over the arcades and living rooms of gamers everywhere. That’s all thanks to Capcom’s mega hit, the all-powerful Street Fighter. After Ryu and his crew of world warriors became a massive success, plenty of other fighting games that “borrowed” the SF formula started pouring out. One of the more decent SF-like releases that saw the light of day is this pretty slept-on TMNT fighter. The overall mechanics of this 16-bit fighter on the SNES was miles better than the Sega Genesis version. Not only did this edition of the game feature faster and more fluid fighting, the character roster here was all types of awesome if you were a super hardcore TMNT fan. There’s War, Aska, Wing Nut and even the Rat King! For comic book heads and fans of the cartoon, there’s a whole lot to enjoy here.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
Before Turtles in Time, there was TMNT: The Arcade Game. We’re sure your eyes widened with excitement and awe once you saw how much better this game looked than it’s NES counterparts. The first stage is instantly recognizable for every diehard and even non-hardcore TMNT fan. As soon as you enter that burning building and try to retrieve a helpless April O’Neil, the fun begins. We always got a good kick out of the voice-overs from the boss characters and just how awesome each turtle looked in action. Sure, this game kicked our butts and took tons of quarters from us, but getting the chance to join up with three of your buds and go ham on the Foot Clan made all of that acceptable.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up
You’d be forgiven for not even knowing that this game exists. But now that you do know it’s a real thing, you should give it the love and attention it deserves. It’s overall play style owes it’s origins to the Super Smash Bros. series, which is a good thing. Getting the chance to knock random Foot Ninjas, Fugitoid and and a hardcore version of April O’ Neil off the game’s expansive stages is pretty darn fun. Smash-Up is a mindless yet hard to put down multiplayer brawler. Dust off your Wii if you still have one and bring the crew together for this one. We’re sure they’ll get a kick out 4-player turtle brawls.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
Those Sega Genesis fanboys needed some Turtle Power, too! Konami threw them a bone (or slice of pizza, more fittingly) with this altered version of the SNES’ Turtles in Time. The graphics are a tad bit darker and the audio is a bit louder in comparison, but the fun factor of both games are on equal ground. TMNT beat em’ up’s are the stuff of legend, which is why folks still download console emulators just so they can play this game. This tougher and grittier edition of Turtles in Time still stand on it’s own, so it’s still worth the two-player playthrough with a buddy. You’re gonna need a buddy to take down Leatherhead, anyway…
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
No surprise here, right? Turtles in Time is not only the greatest TMNT game ever made, it still holds the honor of being one of the best beat ‘em up’s ever made. Anyone who was an SNES kid or arcade devotee knows just how incredible this release was and still is. The graphics are more vibrant, there’s more stages to run around in, the time traveling theme is cool and the music is infectious. Sometimes if you were lucky, you entered your local movie theater with a few friends and saw the holy grail of arcade gaming – a 4-player cabinet of this game. Turtles in Time will always find a place in our hearts as the best opportunity to kick some shell.
Images: Playmates, Konami, Ubisoft