Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a long-beloved franchise in pop culture history. Those four pizza-chomping ninjas are always ready to throw down against the Shredder no matter where he shows his ugly face and it has made for some fantastic games and compilations. In light of the release of the TMNT: Cowabunga Collection by Konami and Digital Eclipse, we looked at our favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle video games from across the decades. Check out our picks!
Question: What’s your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Pizza Eater
I've played a lot of Turtles over the past few weeks after reviewing The Cowabunga Collection (That review is up now. You should read it.). I've had some opinions on certain games shift with age, but my love for Turtles in Time on Super Nintendo remains.
This distinction is important. The Super Nintendo version of Turtles in Time is the one that still has my affection to this day. It's more than a faithful translation of the arcade version. It added several villains, features some new stages, and has one of the most inventive boss fights I've seen out of the beat 'em up genre with the first Shredder fight. The art style, music, and crisp gameplay still hold up all these years later, reminding me again why the Ubisoft remake from 15 years ago was so… soulless. The 16-bit console version is the peak of Turtle brawlers and remains the king.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge - TJ Denzer, Party dude
I don’t hate the early Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, but one thing that always bothered me about them was that the turtles felt way too samey for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed playing them with friends and I know all of the words to Turtles In Time’s Pizza Power by heart, but they were never my favorite. What makes Shredder’s Revenge such a big deal for me is that it addresses pretty much all the things I didn’t like about the originals. I love that each character plays drastically different, I love the lush and lengthy level design, and I absolutely adore the soundtrack.
It's not just the contributions from folks like Mega Ran and Wu-Tang Clan that put the Shredder’s Revenge soundtrack over the top. Tee Lopes’ original compositions are also incredibly catchy and good. I haven’t stopped humming the tunes when I’m not listening to them since the game came out.
And as a cherry on top, you can play as Master Splinter, April O’Neil and Casey Jones, and you can play up to 6 players online and local. This game checks all the marks in an incredibly fun way and every other arcade gaming remake should look to it as a standard.
TMNT: The Arcade Game - Blake Morse, Loves being a turtle
This one was tough for me. I have loved the NInja Turtles for most of my life. I own a massive amount of their comics, figures. I've seen just about all their shows (including the painfully bad live-action Saban series), and read a ton of TMNT comics, so I consider myself a bit of a fan. That’s why I have to go with the original arcade game.
For starters, you can’t really recreate what it was like to walk into an arcade back in the ancient late 80s/early 90s and see something like that massive 4-player cabinet for the first time. It’s not like these things would have hype trains around their releases. You’d simply walk into an arcade and BAM! There’s Mortal Kombat, or NFL Blitz and you’re seeing it for the first time.
I was in awe of the TMNT arcade the first time I saw it, and the gameplay, art, and music were so good. Everything about it is peak arcade beat’em-up. Konami really knew what they were doing with licensed IP back in the day. As much as I feel like Shredder’s Revenge is a masterpiece, it can’t replace that feeling I had as a kid playing in the arcades. Even so, I’m glad things like Dotemu’s brilliant game and the Cowabunga Collection can help share my love of all teenage, mutant, and ninja with a whole new generation.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Xbox) - Sam Chandler, Button Masher
The original Xbox will always hold a special place in my heart. While I had other consoles growing up, it was this one that really solidified my position as a gamer. It was during the OG Xbox days that TMNT fans were blessed with a bevy of TMNT games including a series of titles aptly named “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. The original, though a bit of a button masher’s dream, was full of fun, including two player story modes, versus mode, and a challenge mode. Might be time to whip out the ol’ Xbox and give it a bash.
Turtles in Time - Bill Lavoy, Taipan Fan
This is the only TMNT game I have ever played, although I will be digging into Shredder’s Revenge with colleagues one of these nights. By default, I have no choice but to go with Turtles in Time. Even if I’d played and beaten Shredder’s Revenge, though, there’s a 50/50 chance my answer would have stayed the same.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge - Morgan Shaver, Master Splinter main
I picked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge both because it’s fresh in my mind having played it very recently, and because it’s without a doubt one of the smoothest, most enjoyable Turtles games I’ve ever played. Whether it’s working towards the wild achievements you can get in the game like throwing objects at the camera, to the wealth of modes and options and challenges on offer, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is nothing short of phenomenal. If you haven’t played it yet and you’re a fan of TMNT, Shredder’s Revenge is a must-play.
TMNT: Turtles in Time (SNES) - Asif Khan, Cool but rude
While I probably have more hours played in the NES TMNT game, Turtles in Time for SNES is still my favorite TMNT game. Shredder’s Revenge is excellent, but the soundtrack of Turtles in Time is embedded in my brain cells for eternity. Fun times were had in the 1990s with my turtle buddies. If only we could travel back in time to capture the TMNT: Turtles in Time lightning in a bottle one more time.
Turtles in Time Arcade Version - Dennis White, Community Manager
I put in a ton of hours on The Manhattan Project with my cousins and siblings as a kid, but Turtles in Time was a force during my childhood. There was an arcade cabinet on the 2nd floor of the movie theater that I went to as a kid and when we would go catch a movie, if it was early enough, I knew we had an opportunity to take a crack at the game with my friends. We poured in so many quarters between that game, X-Men, and The Simpsons. I would always go with Mikey or Donatello. I loved how vivid and colorful the game was and the music still brings back a ton of nostalgia.
TMNT IV: Turtles in Time - Steve Tyminski, Stevetendo show host, Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!
What is my favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game? I’m going to have to think about this, as this could be one of the tougher Shack Chat answers we’ve had in quite some time. That being said, my answer comes down to three choices: TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project, TMNT 4: Turtles in Time, and Shredder’s Revenge. These are three of my favorite games, but I have to go with Turtles in Time as my number one favorite TMNT game. I love playing this game and have done so a few times on the Stevetendo show.
I have such great memories growing up, playing Turtles in Time. If it wasn’t the arcade game I played, it was me playing the SNES version at my friend’s house. Turtles in Time is one of the few games that I will beat on normal and then go right back and beat on hard mode for the “real ending.” I don’t usually do that in one sitting for most games but Turtles in Time is an exception. I don’t want to slight Shredder’s Revenge as that game is fantastic as well, but Turtles in Time gets the edge for me. Gameplay, memories, and that b****in’ soundtrack puts Turtles in Time over the top as my favorite TMNT game!
And there we are. Those are our picks, but what about yours, Shackers? Share your Turtles fandom and let us know which one is your favorite in the Chatty comment section below!