25 years ago, two men created one of the greatest series ever. That series is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles if you live in Europe. Spawning multiple cartoons and tons of merchandise, the series is still big today as children are introduced to what many grew up with, thanks to newer versions of the cartoon as well as the old toon being made available on DVD. The most important thing that spawned from the series though are some kickass games!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really became a hit when the cartoon started airing. While the comic was serious and dark in tone, the cartoon was lighthearted and full of jokes. So with all these kids in on it, it seems only natural that a videogame had to be made! This game let you play as all 4 turtles with your buddies as you teamed up to rescue April O'Neil and then Splinter from Shredder and Krang. Bebop and Rocksteady were also there but they're dumbasses so let's ignore them.
This game was a beat em up game and so that meant of course that it was a quarter eater. If you expected to beat this game without stealing at least $5 in quarters from your mom, you were in for a surprise. It really didn't matter though as long as you got to play as your favorite turtle.
TMNT arcade is currently available as an arcade cabinet but for those who can't spend $500 on one of those you can also purchase it on XBLA! It even has Live play so you can go online and die to Shredder's instant death beam attacks while crying to your momma. Oh, it's also available as an unlockable on one of the crappy newer games. Don't buy that game though. It sucks.
Edit: The game can currently be bought over amazon for $3! Errr, $5 now, it used to be $3 though, I swear! Click here to purchase!
After TMNT arcade the series moved to the home console market. It may have also been on the consoles first, I'm not really sure. Both this game and the arcade game were released in the same year. Anyway, the first real game that everyone remembers being on a console is this nefarious game. Simply called TMNT, this game moved from being a brawler to being an action title. A really, really, really hard action title. Your goals include rescuing April, stopping a dam from exploding, rescuing Splinter, and destroying the Technodrome. Many people got stuck at the dam for its punishing time limit and electric seaweed but the game only became really difficult afterward. The punishment really lied in the fact that while you could switch between the turtles at will, losing one meant you had to rescue them later. Losing Donatello meant you lost the game. Also, Shredder has an instant death attack.
TMNT is available for NES and the Virtual Console! You should consider purchasing this game for the music if nothing else. The music in this game is incredible and I hate anyone who says otherwise.
After the river of children's tears flooded the offices of Konami due to TMNT, Konami decided to port the arcade game to the NES. Sadly, I am not much help for this title as I have not played it in years but according to LBD-Nytetrayn, "They added two original stages with two original bosses to it. Plus, Bebop and Rocksteady together were replaced by Baxter the Fly." I'm pretty sure that only 2 turtles can be played at once as well due to sprite limitations of the NES. This also means less enemies on screen. I'm also fairly sure that Shredder has an instant death attack.
I'm pretty sure this game is only available on NES. Sorry folks.
TMNT3: The Manhattan Project is another brawler game, like the arcade version. Unlike the arcade game though this game was actually brand spankin new. It was an all new adventure and it involved stopping Shredder from stealing Manhattan as he lifts the entire city into the sky.
You could play as 2 turtles in this game and not all stages were just brawlers, although this is also true for both home ports of the two arcade games. There's a surfing stage at one point to get onto a submarine battleship thing. This game also included a wide variety of villains including Tokka, Rahzer, and Slash. This game also had Super Shredder who has an instant death attack.
The Manhattan Project is only available on NES. Sorry. Also despite what the box suggests, there are no Triceratons in the game.
This game right here is renowned as being one of the best beat em up games ever created. Its name? TMNT IV: Turtles in Time. Released for the arcade and SNES, you travel through different time periods as you stop Shredder and other villains from.... screwing with time I guess. The statue of liberty is also stolen at some point. Villains include pirate Bebop and Rocksteady, Krang, Metalhead, and even Slash because Slash doesn't appreciate not being in a game. There is also Super Shredder again who is a total fucking badass and has an instant death attack.
While the arcade version allowed 4 turtles at once, had better music, had more character animations, and included many more enemies on screen at once, many people prefer the SNES counterpart. Reasons for this include the addition of extra stages like the sewers and the Technodrome and also because a home console version was way easier to just play on a whim. Certain things were also changed around, such as Slash being a boss instead of Clayman or whatever the hell he is and Bebop and Rocksteady being where Tokka and Rhazer are. I imagine the biggest reason people prefer the home version however was because hearing the music at home is easier than in the arcade and the music in this game kicks copious amounts of ass. Alleycat Blues and Neon Night-Riders are tunes that nearly anyone who has played the game can remember.
Turtles in Time is available as an arcade cabinet and on the SNES. The game is also available as an unlockable in Mutant Mayhem (?) but that game sucks incredible dicks that put even PA to shame. It's not worth the pain of that game to unlock this one.
The following description was brought to you by Kor!
Hyperstone Heist was something of a messed up port of Turtles in Time, to the Sega Genesis. It only had 5 levels. Each level was much longer than the TiT levels, but thats only because they were mashups of the TiT levels. For example, one level would start of in the sewer from the first arcade game, then move to the street (alleycat blues level) and then to a random cave (which was just the cave portion of Prehistoric Turtlesaurus). Because of the lengthened levels, there were very few bosses in this game.
The bosses that were chosen were very peculiar as well.
Level 1 had Leatherhead
Level 2 had Rocksteady (Bebop was not in this game)
Level 3 had Tatsu - yeah, that guy from the first movie. WTF happened there
Level 4 had Baxter Stockman from the first arcade game
Level 5 was Super Shredder.
A cheap copout was that level 4 wasn't actually a level It was a boss gauntlet. With reskins of the first 3 bosses fought in order, followed by Baxter Stockman.
There are many more games out there and if anyone can contribute, it would be greatly appreciated. I am unfamiliar with Hyperstone Heist or any of the Tournament Fighter games so I can't write anything about them. To those who have ignored the games recently due to the 3D ones being awful, TMNT on GBA is highly recommended. It's a licensed game but it plays like a classic brawler and is great fun.
So let us celebrate the 25th anniversary of a beloved series. This kind of event only happens once folks so hook up your systems and play a game, be it the NES, SNES, Genesis, 360, anything. For those of you living in New York, be sure to check out the Empire State Building this thursday. Try to stop by the Tribeca Film Festival as well. Remember, there's never a bad time for Turtles.