Top 10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Games [Best Recommendations]

Since May of 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have long been a part of pop culture. However, it didn’t make its true breakout until its toy line and first animated series made its debut in 1987. And from there, it became one of America’s biggest phenomenon. As society saw it, it was only inevitable that the franchise would expand into video games with arcades and the NES dominating the markets upon its popularity. So throughout the history of the Ninja Turtles, what are some of their best games? Read our list to find out!

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • System: NES
  • Publisher: Ultra
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: June 1989

For those who grew up with the original Ninja Turtles series from Fred Wolf, this NES release was probably their first exposure to Ninja Turtles as a game. It came out not only during the prime of the original series but the original NES. During that period, side-scrolling platform games such as Mario and Megaman were all the rage so TMNT’s first foray into video games is more or less the same. In addition to playing as a standard action side-scroller, when you explore the outdoors, it has an over the top map view like in the old school Zelda games. In this mode, you can even use the Turtle Van!

Though the game is single player, you can switch between all four Turtles on the pause screen. Each Turtle’s weapon based on their range has their own distinct uses for certain situations. If you want long-range, use Donatello and his staff. If you want short range, use Raph and his sais. While this is remembered as most fans’ gateway to playing Ninja Turtles as a video game, it does share some notoriety beyond its notorious difficulty (most notably trying to get across two platforms in level 3 in the sewers).

While it does have some familiar villains such as the Foot Soldiers, Rocksteady, and Bebop, it introduces some original enemies that fans still question to this day such as a man on fire, eyeballs with bat wings, and Jason Vorhees. Another point of controversy is its cover where all turtles are wearing red masks. The origin of this cover is that it comes from the cover of issue 4 to the original Mirage comic where in that version, all turtles wear red masks. Though the original Turtles theme song is nowhere to be found, its soundtrack has an up-tempo that brings you into the intense moments of the levels. Other than that, this is what fans got to enjoy before the following games on this list came up.

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Manhattan Missions

  • System: MS-DOS
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: 1991

For number 9, we would like to introduce a rare gem, Manhattan Missions for the MS-DOS. If you have played the old Spider-Man Vs. The Kingpin game for the Genesis, Manhattan Missions is presentably the same game in both gameplay and story. The Shredder announces on national TV that within 48 hours, he will take over the city. Not willing to take it lying down, the Turtles go out to stop his plans once and for all (or maybe not) before the time limit. The graphics and animation also share a lot of resemblance to Prince of Persia, so if you love those type of old school platform games, this might be for you. The game also has some RPG elements where you can level up and adjust speed and power.

Artistically, it shares more in common with the original Eastman and Laird comic book with its edgier designs, and the portrayal of the Shredder in this game is based on the comic version. Just like in your other TMNT games, you do go across the sewers and rooftops of Manhattan but you face the mousers, mobsters, foot soldiers, triceraton, and the Shredder. For those unfamiliar with old-school PC games in general, the controls will take time to get used to and has a weaker soundtrack compared to other games on this list. So if you want to try Ninja Turtles in an authentic original style artistically, Manhattan Missions might be for you.

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)

  • System: Game Boy Advance
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: Oct 31, 2003

This release for the Game Boy Advance is based on the 2003 series, the first ever animated reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The graphics perfectly capture the nature of the series and its story largely follows it. While it plays like your standard beat ‘em up/platform, it has its share of novelty levels for diversity. There are instances where you can skateboard through the sewers while scrolling forward like it’s mode 7 on the SNES. In addition, you can take control of the Battle Shell and compete in a motorcycle race against Casey Jones.

While all 4 turtles are available, each character has their own unique storyline giving you more incentive to try out all of them. The music is intense but will never live up to the older games. In the end, this is a must-have for fans of the 2003 series.

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue

  • System: Game Boy
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: Nov 1993

As the title suggests, Radical Rescue is the third game in a series of Ninja Turtles games but for the original Game Boy. While it’s a Game Boy game, the music and sound are notably impressive. When you start the game, it even manages to capture the melody to the lyrics of heroes in a half shell of the 1987 theme song, which is iconic to longtime fans. It plays like your old school platform game but each Turtle has their distinct abilities. With Michelangelo, as you are coming down from high places, he can use his nunchucks like a helicopter to slow down his descent. Or with Leonardo, he can use his swords to twirl underground like the Tasmanian Devil.

While you fight against your standard foot soldiers, you also combat Groundchuck (a mutated squirrel), a weird dragon-like creature, and the Shredder. Like in Manhattan Missions, the design of the Shredder in this game takes more from the original comic making him much scarier looking and his abilities will have you shaking your head but offers a unique challenge. So if you want something old school, unique and yet within the realm of the Ninja Turtles, Radical Rescue is a game to play to make you look retro.

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Mutant Nightmare

  • System: GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: Nov 1, 2005

This game is based on the 2003 animated series and follows the storyline when a government agent named Bishop creates a mutant army. The game plays like a 3D/new school beat ‘em up with an overhead presentation. Though it does offer 4-player action, if you wish to play by yourself, the rest of the three remaining turtles can fight with you while being computer controlled. In addition, you do get some novelty levels like in the 2003 GBA game. One level is where you and the rest of the Ninja Turtles stand in a stationary position in a third person behind the view mode and throw shurikens at incoming enemies. And there is another level where you enter a mainframe, take over a laser-shooting turret and it plays like a rails shooter.

The cel-shaded graphics perfectly capture the style of the 2003 series and uses scenes from the cartoon for a small percentage of its cutscenes. In addition, the voice cast from the series is back to reprise their roles and the soundtrack works excellently well with this game. As a bonus, you can unlock the original arcade edition to Turtles in Time (SPOILER: it made the list). So if you enjoy beat ‘em ups and the 2003 series, check this out.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project

  • System: NES
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: Feb 1992

For the original Nintendo, the Manhattan Project is the third installment of Konami’s releases for the TMNT franchise. It serves as a sequel to the NES port of the arcade game and it is presentably the same but with some new enemies and stages for fans to enjoy. You start from the sandy beaches of Florida to surfing along the Atlantic coast, to the sewers, subways, and rooftops, and finally the Technodrome. While villains like Shredder, Rocksteady, and Bebop come back, as usual, you also must face Leatherhead, who was famous in the old animated series, as well as Tokka and Rahzar from the 1991 live action film. And speaking of that film, you also get to face the Super Shredder from that movie.

It plays like your typical old school beat ‘em up and it’s a perfect fit for the original Ninja Turtles series. In addition to your typical attacks, each character has their own gimmick attack but if you use it, it will lower your character’s life bar, which was common in some beat ‘em ups at the time. Considering the simple nature of the original source material, the 8-bit graphics do a great job of capturing the characters for players to recognize and forgiving each turtles fighting style that suits their weapons. The music is addicting and upbeat as you enjoy playing this relic from the past.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

  • System: Genesis
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: Dec 21, 1992

In the height of the 1990s consoles war between the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis, both consoles got a slice of that Ninja Turtles pizza pie. One of those games that the Genesis got was the Hyperstone Heist, which is more or less a port of Turtles in Time, but with some notable differences to make it its own unique game despite using the same engine

Though the basic storyline of the Shredder and Krang stealing the Statue of Liberty remain intact, the circumstances are different. As opposed to Krang showing up and physically taking it like in Turtles in Time, the Shredder uses the titular Hyperstone to shrink it along with Manhattan, and it is up to the Turtles to save New York once again! In addition, the game introduces some stages and bosses distinct from Turtles in Time. For example, you face Tatsu, Shredder’s right-hand man in the first two 1990s movies midway into the game as a boss.

While some tracks from Turtles in Time are also carried over to Hyperstone Heist, the unique hardware of the Genesis in relation to sound just gives it a fresh funk to it as you enjoy the game. The graphics come across as a bit rougher but has more of an authentic comic book feel with its darker coloring as opposed to looking more like a cartoon with the brighter coloring in Turtles in Time. So if you love old school beat ‘em ups and the Turtles franchise, Hyperstone Heist is one of those games you’re certainly looking for!

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters

  • System: NES, Super Nintendo, Genesis
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: Dec 1993

The period of the early 1990s was also the dawn of the arcade fighting game and considering the martial arts nature of the Ninja Turtles saga, it was only inevitable it would get a fighting game -Tournament Fighters. Most consoles at the time each got their own version, and that would include not only the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, but also the OG Nintendo itself. While they were released on these consoles, they were naturally distinct in more ways you can think of beyond, let's say, the differences between Mortal Kombat for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

Each version has their own distinct story, graphics, gameplay, and a cast of characters to the point that we recommend all versions. While the NES’ prime had passed by the time-fighting games became a household genre, the NES version of Tournament Fighters can give players a taste of how they can function on an old 8-bit console. It’s easy to pick up but has a weak character selection limited to the four Turtles (and their evil clones), Casey Jones, and Hothead from a comic series and the Shredder.

The Genesis version uses on the 3-button layout and is also easy to pick up. Graphically, it strongly resembles Streets of Rage 2 with its heavy emphasis on shadowing. As for its playable roster, in addition to the Turtles and Casey Jones, this is one of the very few games you can play as April (and dresses up as if she came out of The Warriors). While it has a cast that should be familiar to the 1987 animated series, it also includes characters from other comic series such as Ray Fillet, and an original character named Sisyphus. And from the original Mirage comic, you can play against a Triceraton and Karai as bosses (though they would be introduced in later animated versions).

The Super Nintendo version is probably the closest thing you can get to the level of Street Fighter and Fatal Fury. It unarguably has the best graphical presentation and control if you wanted a true fighting game experience. It also has some distinctions with its roster by including other franchise characters such as War and Wingnut from the Archie comic, and an original character named Aska. In the end, each game does a great job of showcasing the full capabilities of the consoles they were released on and being true to the spirit of the Turtles franchise for comic, animated, and game fans alike.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game

  • System: Arcade, NES
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: 1989

Around the early-90s when the original Ninja Turtles series reached its popularity, the games released on the NES and MS-DOS didn’t allow 4-player action due to technological limitations of that respective hardware. However, arcade technology at the time was the best you could get to offer a true Ninja Turtles game and even after nearly 30 years, its arcade release is still loved by its dedicated fanbase.

Considering it was also the period of the rise of beat ‘em ups after Final Fight, the genre was a perfect representation of the Turtles franchise. While you could play the game by yourself, its overwhelming difficulty will not allow you to beat the game and like the Turtles, you need to get 3 others to get through New York and the Technodrome as you save April and Splinter. In addition to Foot Soldiers, you also have to face Rocksteady, Bebop, Krang and an army of Shredders.

As for its NES release, though it’s naturally limited to 2-players, it adds original levels and bosses for a fresh take on the game (and advertisements and coupons for Pizza Hut). In one instance, you guide the Turtles through a traditional Japanese temple and have to face a cybernetic samurai. So if you want to experience a true Ninja Turtles game like a kid in those times, this is one of our top picks!

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

  • System: Arcade, Super Nintendo
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: 1991

If there is one game that a large majority of dedicated Ninja Turtles fans can agree is probably the best game of all time, it would certainly have to be Turtles in Time. Although it was labeled as the fourth game for its Super Nintendo release (following the Manhattan Project), it was the second game in the arcades. It is officially a sequel to the first arcade game but better in every way fans can think of on both the arcade and Super Nintendo releases. While it is still a beat ‘em up, it introduces new distinct novelties in conjunction with its time travel gimmick that is in-tune with the Ninja Turtles franchise.

Like in other previous games, you do fight Foot Soldiers, (pirate versions of) Rocksteady and Bebop, and the Shredder, but it just never gets old. As long as the game provides you a new motivation, such as trying to get back to the year 1991 and retrieving the Statue of Liberty, you’ll find new reasons to enjoy it. Like the original arcade game, its 4-player feature just allows more fun and a sense of completeness as you and your playmates take the roles of the Ninja Turtles.

As for its Super Nintendo release, thanks to the mode 7 technology the game allows you to grab enemy Foot Soldiers and through them towards the direction of the screen where they can scale up as if they’re going to pop out of it. This feature is heavily used in a battle against the first fight against the Shredder where you see him from behind as he pilots a mech. In addition, the mode 7 is also in the Neon Night Riders level where they ride hoverboards and ride upwards on a futuristic highway as you fight other Foot Soldiers and Krang. Last, we promise you’ll get a kick of its awesome soundtrack, most notably Pizza Power, which made its debut in a concert but made popular on this game.

Final Thoughts

With a new Ninja Turtles animated series confirmed upon the uploading of this list, it is safe to assume that the franchise is going to be around for a very long time. As long as new Turtles media is being produced, we can also anticipate that new games are also inevitable. Will these upcoming games live up to some of the older games such as Turtles in Time? That will be hard to top, but only time will tell. So if any of you fans think we looked over any other game from the Ninja Turtles franchise, give us your favorite in the comments. Until then, COWABUNGA!

Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-IV-Turtles-in-Time-game-689x500 Top 10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Games [Best Recommendations]


Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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