Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Arcade Game

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Arcade Game

Retro Coin Op Synopsis

“Heroes in a half-shell,
Turtle Power!”

Back in 1989, Konami could have released a game about stick figures playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," called it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the kids would have stampeded each other to play it. To their undying credit, and to the delight of arcade-goers and turtlemaniacs everywhere, the company released a fresh, fun and funny side-scrolling fighter, and in the process created one of the biggest arcade hits in years.

All the familiar turtles were here—katana master Leonardo, sai-wielding Raphael, nunchaku expert Michaelangelo, and Donatello, who fought with a bo staff—but more importantly, all four could play at once. Four joysticks and four sets of jump and attack buttons surrounded the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles screen, and extra turtles could join the game at any time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles played like a game of Final Fight, but with sillier graphics and more room to move around. The half-shelled heroes moved through several side-scrolling stages, trying to rescue news reporter pal April O’Neil, who was kidnapped by evil master ninja Shredder at the beginning of the game.

True to the fighting genre, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles featured battles with big bosses at the end of each stage, from Bebop and Rocksteady to Krang and Shredder himself. Foot Soldiers were the most common enemies, attacking with their fists or with a variety of deadly weapons. Some of these could be snatched by the turtle dudes for a little satisfying payback. In fact, many of the game’s objects could be used as weapons by our heroes: fire hydrants, manhole covers, etc.

Starting on the city streets, the game progressed both above and below the ground toward an ultimate showdown inside the huge Technodrome—Shredder and Krang’s home base. Certain stages had Leo, Raph, Mike and Don hopping on vehicles, like rocket-powered skateboards and the armored Party Van, but most were of the “walk and pummel” variety.

With its true-to-the-cartoon graphics and easy play controls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sent turtle fans to ninja nirvana. Even with four sets of controls available, many kids had to wait in line for a chance to take charge of their favorite pizza-loving heroes. Konami brought the game to most home systems of the day, then released an arcade sequel in 1991. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was a very similar side-scrolling fighter, but this time Shredder sent the boys to different eras of the Earth’s history—a prehistoric dinosaur era, the age of pirates, the Old West and to the future.

An entertaining game and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles name made many happy returns for Konami, so the company decided to expand on the idea. In addition to the time-traveling sequel, the company released similar games based on other characters—TV’s The Simpsons and Marvel Comics’ X-Men. All were solid hits, giving further proof that the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles formula was one of the great ones.


Arcade Machine Release History

1989 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1991 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

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