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With the new movie out on Friday, we take a look at five games involving the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that are must plays. The turtles have been in some classics back in the late 80s and early 90s, but not so much in recent years. I had great childhood memories with some of these games, even the Game Boy ones. Newer games have tried to bring back the nostalgia of the games I’ll mention in a bit, but it is just better to play the classics themselves. Keep in mind most of these games here are on classic consoles and arcades with a rare way to play them on newer systems due to licensing issues, which is very unfortunate and recurring problem with the franchise that keeps switching publishers.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)
Starting off with the one of the most difficult games of all-time, the first Turtles game on the NES has been notorious for certain sections, more notably the infamous swimming section. You switch up between Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo at any point during the game to the point keeping your turtles alive with health management is a big priority. That was a big deal especially with the numerous obstacles and enemy placements. The first NES game also had open world element as you can drive the truck around various areas as it wasn’t your standard platfomer. Despite the challenge, it was still a successful game that began the franchise under Konami’s development. This game was out on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2007, but was later de-listed in 2012 due to licensing issues with Ubisoft at the time (The TMNT IP is now with Activision).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)
Ah the granddaddy of Konami’s arcade beat-em-ups that established a perfect formula for the time. The 1989 classic was an arcade owner’s dream since the game wanted you to spend quarters like crazy dealing with the cheap bosses and other enemies. Four player cabs were a rarity at the game, but with that novelty and the turtles’ popularity at the time, it was a big win not only for arcades resurging, but Konami themselves who went on to continue the formula with The Simpsons and X-Men in the early 90s. A great arcade port was released on the Xbox 360 (pictured above) back in 2007, but just like the NES game on the Wii’s Virtual Console, it was later de-listed due to licensing issues. If you were to still have the game on 360 before not being available to buy anymore, it is still a blast to play through especially locally and online with friends.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade/SNES)
Turtles in Time is still arguably Konami’s beat arcade beat-em-up with this gameplay formula. A perfect blend of simple combat with more moves than the 1989 original, memorable levels to go through going back in time, and more. Even the Super Nintendo version, despite only being two players, was a competent version of the game with exclusive levels that the arcade cabinet didn’t have. Out of the TMNT beat-em-ups, Donatello is usually the go-to due to his reach, but you can’t go wrong using the other turtles in these games, especially Raphael in speed runs of this game on the SNES.
Yes, there is that Re-Shelled remake that came out on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but don’t get me started with that. One of the most disappointing HD remakes I played through because the new visuals purely lacked soul. That was also delisted due to Ubisoft not having the franchise, but to this day, Konami and Ubisoft did something right re-releasing the 1989 original in its arcade glory and unfortunately turned Turtles in Time into something else.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES)
Tournament Fighters was released on multiple platforms as different games, but the one everyone will remember is the SNES version. Ever wanted the turtles to be in a Street Fighter game? Well that is Tournament Fighters in a nutshell, but this ain’t a straight up Street Fighter ripoff. It was actually a pretty good fighting game with not only a fun cast of characters to mess around with but also a competent fighting system that is better than Street Fighter II in certain areas. Yeah things get cheap and broken when playing at a high level, as seen here, but Tournament Fighters is still one of the best fighting games of the 16-bit era. Unfortunately no re-releases of this game happened yet, but it will be always be in the wishlists of many that want to see this game come back in a new way.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up (PS2/Wii)
Another turtles fighting game here and not as good as Tournament Fighters but still worth checking out based on the concept alone. If the title was any clue, Smash-Up for the Wii is basically TMNT + Super Smash Bros. Not a bad idea for a game considering how successful Smash is for Nintendo. Just like Smash, you can knock opponents off the stage or deplete their health bars, similar to a standard fighting game by using characters’ certain moves and items. There is not many Smash-style games around with this and Sony’s Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, but more games like Smash are not a bad thing whether if they are good or not.
There are actually new TMNT games out alongside the movie by Activision for handhelds and a free Kinect game on the 360, but it is just better to play these games if you’re fiending for some turtle power. Other than Smash-Up being out on recent consoles, it is unfortunate that the classic beat-em-ups are not out in some way on these systems anymore due to the license shuffling around. It is not bad of an idea to dust up that NES and SNES to give most of these games a shot if you still have them. I can only imagine that Rocksteady rumor a while back about them working on a TMNT game came true because that would’ve been the comeback the turtles needed in the gaming world.
Any fond memories of the Turtles games here and any others not mentioned? Chime in your thoughts on the comments below.