Ever since Activision released the new game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows, I’ve been comparing and contrasting it to the best games in the TMNT library. There have been so many excellent Ninja Turtles titles over the years, but only a few are memorable enough to be the first that come to mind when we think of our heroes in a half shell in video games. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Top 5 TMNT video games!
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989, NES)
Sure, this game probably wasn’t what we were all expecting, but it was still pretty fun. Even though the music wasn’t based on the much loved ’87 animated series, it was definitely memorable. As for the gameplay, it wasn’t perfect, but it definitely felt like the Ninja Turtles. This is probably one of the most difficult titles in the bunch – for all the wrong reasons, no less – but it’s still one of the best out there.
4. TMNT (2007, Xbox 360/PS2/Gamecube)
Even though it was based on one of the least appreciated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, this was actually a very enjoyable title. With fairly decent platforming that hadn’t really been seen in many Ninja Turtles titles before, this game was definitely a breath of fresh air. Combined with the kind of action we all expect, TMNT became an excellent example of how the turtles could play on a modern gaming system.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game (1990, NES)
Featuring gameplay from the well known arcade game that became the basis for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for years to come, Turtles 2 brought true beat ’em up action to home consoles for the first time. Sure it wasn’t exactly the same game, but it inspired so many other TMNT games that it would be foolish to neglect it on this list. Due to the limitations of the Nintendo Entertainment System, only two players could play the game together, but it was still a blast. Whereas the first NES game had plenty of issues, this one was almost a perfect port of the arcade game and it really gave the fans what they wanted.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles In Time (1992, SNES)
No, it wasn’t based on the third movie in the series – this game was it’s own magnificent beast. Featuring unforgettable music and gameplay, this title quickly became the favorite of many fans. Whereas Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 wasn’t quite the same game that we got in the arcades, Turtles in Time was so similar to its arcade counterpart that it was close to being a perfect port. Needless to say, where Turtles 2 got it wrong, Turtles in Time got it right. The music was dead on and the gameplay was solid, making it one of the best TMNT games of all time.
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game (1989)
I waffled a bit on this one, but ultimately I had to choose it for number one. After all, this is the game that literally inspired TMNT side scrolling beat ’em up action for several years to come. In fact, there’s a game mode in the new game Out of the Shadows which allows you to play the title as a sidescroller. Why? Because this is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that everyone grew up with. We all pumped enough quarters into this machine to feed roughly a dozen starving children in China. Unlike the NES port, here you could get four friends to play all four turtles together and have a blast trying to beat a few levels. A few titles have come close, but none were ever quite as good as the original TMNT: Arcade game!
What do you think? Did I get it wrong or am I on the ball? If you think another title deserves a spot on this list, tell me about it in the comments below. After all, these are just my opinions and I’d love to hear the thoughts of my fellow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. Cowabunga!