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Image Source: Turtlepedia

The Best TMNT Games of All Time

These are top 10 best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games of all time on multiple platforms.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a history in video games that spans decades since the 90s. A true pop culture phenomenon of the 80s and 90s, it was no surprise there were numerous video games made that were based on the turtles. Of all the TMNT games made up to this point, here are the 10 best you need to play, whether you’re a fan of the original cartoon, beat-em-ups, or retro games in general.

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TMNT Arcade

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Image Source: arronmunroe

When the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game first hit arcades, beat ‘em ups reached a whole new level. Kids and teens happily gathered around this machine wherever it was found. Being able to play with a total of four friends simultaneously made this the ultimate coop experience. It also became one of the best ways to collect quarters from players.

The story perfectly brings all the elements of the Ninja Turtle franchise into one fast-paced, action-packed adventure. The cartoon graphics and cutscenes make the players feel like they’re the Ninja Turtles taking part in a TMNT episode. And there’s plenty of martial arts ninja fighting with multiple foot soldiers. All of these elements add up to a shell-shocking time.

TMNT NES

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Image Source: NintendoComplete

The first Ninja Turtle video game to hit home consoles was on the NES and this adventure platformer is notorious for its difficulty. In this iteration, each of the turtles has its own unique strengths based on its trademark weapons.

As you progress through different areas on the map, you’ll get to choose the best turtle to help you complete the level. Some levels are locked to a specific turtle, but overall, you’ll have the freedom to switch turtles. This game is great for anyone looking for a retro challenge.

TMNT 2: The Arcade Game

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Image Source: NintendoComplete

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 The Arcade Game is the sequel to the first NES game but was not made as a direct successor. Instead, the arcade game was ported over to the best degree possible and did not disappoint. It not only captures the same fun as the arcade version, but it also adds its own charm.

Due to the limited power of the NES, key features had to be cut which resulted in the lack of simultaneous 4-player action, toned-down graphics, and the voice clips were removed. But even after all of these drawbacks, original additions helped make up for the port.

Two brand new exclusive stages were added with new enemies as well as two new bosses: Shogun in the Shogun’s Hideout stage and Tora in the Snowy Central Park stage. The gameplay lacked the full string of combos from the arcade, but once you mastered your key moves, you could focus on beating the game with consistent skills. This game is highly recommended to play with a best friend, or taking turns with a group of 4 doesn’t hurt either.

TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project

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Image Source: NintendoComplete

Image Source: NintendoComplete
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 completes the trilogy of beat-em-ups on the NES and capitalizes on the simple, yet fun formula from its predecessors. Not many people remember this game because it came out at the end of the NES life cycle as the SNES was taking off. The main contribution of this game to the series was adding more of everything: enemies, levels, bosses, and moves.

Each of the turtles was given unique special moves that further differentiated them. Leonardo has a tornado spinning attack, Raphael has a head-first flying drill attack, Donatello has a flipping Bo bash, and Michelangelo has a high-flying backward jump kick. A universal throw was added, by simultaneously pressing down on the d-pad and the attack button, which would throw an enemy foot soldier and eliminate them in a single attack. Sprite animation along with improved details and an enjoyable soundtrack helped to serve as one of the final testaments of what the NES was capable of.

TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist

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Image Source: NintendoComplete

The Hyperstone Heist was a Sega Genesis exclusive made in response to the Turtles in Time port for the SNES. Finally, SEGA players could enjoy the 2-player coop TMNT games with the exact same gameplay that had been successful on the NES and SNES. However, the turtles could no longer throw foot soldiers toward the screen. Graphically, the game retained the look of the other TMNT games, but Hyperstone Heist looked darker both in terms of color and style. Another noticeable flaw is how most of the voices were either removed or sounded lackluster.

Even with an unfavorable comparison to Turtles in Time, Hyperstone Heist still has a lot going for it. An added mix of new enemy types and bosses enhances this game’s exclusivity. This game also made history by including a boss battle in a dojo against Tatsu from the live-action TMNT movie. While Turtles in Time has 10 levels, Hyperstone Heist has 5 levels with 3 stages for each. Hyperstone Heist still belongs in the legacy of TMNT games because it finally gave Genesis players a chance to experience the fun of TMNT games and kept the fun of the arcade games and beat-em-up ports alive.

Gameboy TMNT 2: Back From The Sewers

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Image Source: NintendoComplete

When the TMNT hit the portable consoles, Fall of the Foot Clan proved to be a respectable game, but the sequel, Back From The Sewers, is what made the handheld series shine. The graphics drastically improved resulting in the turtles looking like black and white versions of their colorful cartoon counterparts. Now players were treated to side-scrolling action with varied stages with a more 3D freedom of movement.

Although it’s only a single-player game, you have the option to switch to any turtle you want to play as between each stage, and if you’re knocked out, that turtle is captured and you must choose a new turtle to complete the stage. If all four turtles are captured, you lose the game and have to start over, but when you complete a stage, you can engage in a mini-game to rescue the captured turtle and bring him back into your team. This game serves as a great way to experience retro monochrome handheld action with your favorite ninja turtles.

Gameboy TMNT 3: Radical Rescue

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Image Source: World of Longplays

Radical Rescue is proof that the TMNT franchise enjoyed enough success on the Game Boy to foster a third sequel. This time around, the gameplay shifted to a more explorative Metroidvania style rather than a linear level-by-level progression, where you have the freedom to make your way around and explore the large map. Upon starting the game, players will be surprised to find that for the first time (and possibly the only time ever) the only character you can play is Michelangelo. Prompted by Shredder to rescue your brothers, you must head to the abandoned mine on the edge of town. The presentation was innovative, requiring you to play through the prologue with Mikey in the traditional side-scrolling style. Once you reach the abandoned mine, the game expands into a pseudo-open world. You’ll have to find and rescue Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael to unlock them for gameplay as you complete the story.

Having all four brothers is paramount since you’ll need to switch between them and use their special abilities to progress farther into the game. Cooperation is key as you figure out when to use Raph’s ability to hide inside his shell to move through tight spaces, Donnie can climb walls, Leo can drill through certain objects, and Mikey flies for a limited time by twirling his nunchakus. Bosses proved to be very challenging and as soon as one of the turtles was KO’ed, the game was over. This formula was a hit and deserves accolades as a fresh and unique addition to the TMNT legacy of video games.

TMNT Tournament Fighters SNES

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Image Source: TheInnocentSinful

TMNT Tournament Fighters allowed you to enact detailed and technical martial arts battles between the ninja turtles and their enemies in a different genre: fighting games. The NES had a respectable version, but the SNES was able to fully realize the mechanics needed to capture the essence of 2D fighting games that exploded in the 90s with games like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat. With the additional hardware power granted by the SNES, fantastic voices and sound effects were added along with a drastically improved sprite graphic style.

The cast of Tournament Fighters was diverse and each of the characters possessed unique and thematic special moves along with fun character bios. Along with the Ninja Turtles, fans were treated to playable characters such as Cyber Shredder, Armaggon the shark, Wingnut, Rat King, Chrome Dome, Aska the human female ninja, and an alien named War. Complete with funky music and attractive battle stages, this game is perfect for experiencing head-to-head battles with the ninja turtle crew.

TMNT: Turtles in Time

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Image Source: Archive.org

Turtles in Time was Konami’s crowning achievement both for the TMNT franchise and the beat-em-up genre. Originally, it was the long-awaited sequel to the first arcade game, then later ported to the SNES. And it looked closer to being identical to its arcade counterpart than ever before. Certain things still had to be removed for the port, but more bosses were added.

Turtles in Time brought together some of the era’s best cartoon graphics, memorable voices and quotes, and fun levels that helped make this one of the best couch coop games on the SNES. As you progressed through the game, you were taken through different historic periods thanks to Shredder sending the turtles through a time warp. The game had a variety of moves for the turtles to perform and more enemies to encounter than ever. Playing and enjoying this retro game today proves it stood the test of time.

TMNT Shredder’s Revenge

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Image Source: Dotemu

The entire legacy of TMNT beat-em-ups culminates into this masterpiece. Shredder’s revenge takes all the fun from all previous TMNT games, adds the best graphics and sound, and finally has 4-player coop. This game look absolutely fantastic and thankfully captures the spirit of the original cartoon instead of the newer remakes. The modern music also brings back the nostalgis of the 80’s and 90’s era in a fresh new way. And with the addition of Casey Jones and more villains than before, it’s sure to be a lasting classic.

Most of all the plots revolved around the Ninja Turtles having to save April from the clutches of Shredder and saving the world from Krang. But hey, that just comes with the territory of being a Ninja Turtle. The most important thing about all of these games is the ability to play as your favorite turtles and go on awesome adventures with your family and friends.


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Author
Dennis Limmer
Dennis is a freelance writer for Twinfinite covering all things video games and anime since August 2023. A storyteller and artist who enjoys partaking in the art created by others and promoting culture.