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Retro Thursdays: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Games

Jan 02, 2014

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT), while not as popular today, were absolutely everywhere in the 90's. You couldn't go outside withought seeing the half-shelled heroes. Created in the 80's in graphic novel form by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird the ninja turtles shot to uber-fame thanks to the animated cartoon show, which aired from 1987-1996.

TMNT: RetrospectTMNT: RetrospectCourtesy of Konami

With that new found mainstream popularity, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were featured on lunch boxes, received awesome live-action and animated film adaptations, and of course graced our home consoles and handhelds with epic video games. Enjoy a blast from the past as Kidzworld looks back on five of the best TMNT games from the 8-bit and 16-bit era.

#5) TMNT: Tournament Fighters - 1993

Originally released on: Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis

TMNT: Tournament Fighters - Snes version picturedTMNT: Tournament Fighters - Snes version picturedCourtesy of Konami

Like a lot of the games of the time. TMNT: Tournament Fighters was a different experience depending on the console. The Super Nintendo version is regarded as the best and most liked. It featured bigger and brighter character sprites compared to other versions and also utilized an additional "super" meter that once filled up, is used for a devastating attack, unlike the Sega Genesis counterpart. The NES version was popular but the least impressive overall.

Inspired by Street Fighter, TMNT: Tournament Fighters is a straight up, 2D brawler. Pitting Leo, Mikey, Ralph and Donny not only against their biggest foes but face to face with each other as well.

#4) TMNT: The Hyper Stone Heist - 1992

Originally released on: Sega Genesis

TMNT: The Hyper Stone Heist - Sega GenesisTMNT: The Hyper Stone Heist - Sega GenesisCourtesy of Konami

I have fond memories of playing TMNT: The Hyper Stone Heist. It was the first TMNT game released on the Sega Genesis and it was fast paced and tough as nails. I didn't realize it at the time, but the reason I enjoyed this game so much was because I had played it before. The Hyper Stone Heist was an all new original story crafted for the Genesis but it was put together using assets from TMNT: Turtles In Time.

It featured half the stages as Turtles In Time, as they had to remove all the time traveling segments, so stages are basically recycled with color swaps for the most part. To compensate for this, each stage was much longer than before to make up for the lack of environments. The graphics were actually a little better in the Genesis version as well depending on your tastes. You don't get the Mode-7 effects of the Snes game, but you get sharper character sprites and more background layers. The game also played faster and had tougher AI than ever before.

#3) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - 1989

Originally released on: Nintendo

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - NESTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - NESCourtesy of Konami

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the first TMNT game released for home consoles and one of my favorite NES games of all time. Yes, it includes some notoriously cheap/tough segments -cough- Underwater Bombs. But it also had rad graphics for the time and some of the best music. While feeling a little sluggish to jump around it was still a blast to pop in this cartridge when I wanted to challenge myself.

If you still play on an NES and missed out this first installment, check it out.

#2) TMNT 2: The Arcade Game - 1990

Originally released on: Arcade/Nintendo

TMNT 2: The Arcade Game - Arcade/NESTMNT 2: The Arcade Game - Arcade/NESCourtesy of Konami

TMNT 2: The Arcade Game was the Ninja Turtle brawler that set the standard for every other game in the series to come. Featuring an isometric 2D view, 4-players could now play all at the same time, cooperatively kicking Foot Clan butt all over the place.

It was originally released in the arcades but when it hit the NES and was playable in the living room with your friends, as you all try to take down Shredder and save April all while never needing to pump quarters into the machine...it was a "goodbye, sunlight" moment.

#1) TMNT 4: Turtles In Time - 1992

Originally released on: Arcade/Super Nintendo

TMNT 4: Turtles In Time - SnesTMNT 4: Turtles In Time - SnesCourtesy of Konami

TMNT 4: Turtles In Time for the Super Nintendo is the cream of the crop. Hands down the best TMNT action game produced and widely considered to be the best beat-em-up game ever.

Turtles In Time, as the title suggests, saw our cherished turtles travel through the ages, fighting Shredder's masses in the past and in the future after he throws the turtles into a time-warp. The Snes version saw a lot of changes from its arcade brother, making it an even better game than before. Featuring additional stages and 5 new bosses.

TMNT 4: TTMNT 4: Turtles In Time - Arcade/Super Nintendourtles In TimeTMNT 4: Turtles In Time - Arcade/Super NintendoCourtesy of Konami

The graphics are great, featuring some nice Mode-7 scaling effects on Snes and the audio is no slouch either (though some samples are missing on the Snes version) with music coming from Mutsuhiko Izumi, a TMNT verteran. If I was stuck on an island with only one TMNT video game -- but hopefully a few buddies -- it would be TMNT 4: Turtles In Time.

If you play Snes games but haven't played Turtles In Time yet, do it...do it now.

TMNT: Turtles In Time/The Hyper Stone Heist - 1992 Commercial

If you missed them, here's our past two Retro Thursdays, NES Game Music and Retro Game Commercials!

Have Your Say!

Are you a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan? Do you play retro games? Let us know in the comments below!