Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade game)

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989 arcade game).jpg
Promotional poster
Image Works (home computers)
Ubisoft (Xbox Live Arcade)
Composer(s)Mutsuhiko Izumi (arcade)
Miki Higashino (arcade)
Kozo Nakamura (arcade, NES)
Yasuhiko Manno (NES)
SeriesTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Genre(s)Beat 'em up
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
DisplayHorizontal, raster, standard resolution

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Konami as an arcade game in 1989.[2] It is based on the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series which began airing in late 1987. Home versions of the game were released for various platforms.[3]


The player chooses from one of the four Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. Depending on the version of the game, the characters are either chosen at the start of the game or assigned by control panel. After Shredder kidnaps the Turtles' friend April O'Neil and their mentor Splinter, they must give chase, save their comrades, and defeat the evil Shredder. Up to four players (two in some versions) can take control of any of the Turtles. Donatello has slower attacks but a longer range, Michelangelo and Raphael have faster attacks but a shorter range, and Leonardo is a well-rounded Turtle with average range and speed.

The eight-way joystick controls the movements of the Turtle, the jump button makes them jump and the attack button makes them hit in front of them using their weapon. In addition to this, some combinations are possible. The Turtles can throw Foot soldiers overhead, and by pressing the jump and attack buttons, a special attack is performed. Raphael rolls along the ground and finishes with a kick, while the other Turtles do a sweeping jump attack with their weapons. Turtles can also spring off the wall in certain areas. Enemies can be defeated more quickly by slamming them into walls or solid objects. Many objects such as traffic cones, parking meters, fire hydrants and exploding oil drums can be hit or damaged with attacks in order to help defeat nearby enemies. In the attract mode, the game showed the first part of the cartoon opening, along with a portion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song.

Most of the enemies the Turtles face are the Foot Soldiers, all color-coded to indicate their attack patterns and weapon of choices. Some enemies, such as the standard purple-clad Foot Soldiers and Roadkill Rodney robots, have the ability to restrain the Turtles' mobility and drain their health, leaving the player open to attack for other enemies. The bosses in the game include Rocksteady and Bebop (individually at first in that order, and later the two of them together), Baxter Stockman, Granitor, General Traag, Krang, and Shredder himself.



A printed circuit board of the game.

The arcade game was distributed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in North America and Oceania, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in Europe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Super Kame Ninja[a] in Japan. The game was released primarily as a dedicated four-player cabinet in all regions except Japan, where it was sold as a 2-player conversion kit. 2-player conversion kits of the game were released in other regions, serving as less expensive alternatives to 4-player cabinets.

Nintendo Entertainment System[edit]

Cover artwork of the NES version, which was retitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game.

The game was ported to the NES in 1990. This conversion was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game in order to avoid confusion with the previous NES game based on the franchise.[4] The Japanese Famicom version was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, without a number nor a subtitle, due to the fact that first NES game was localized in Japan under a different title.

The Snowfield level added to the NES port, with the boss character shown here.

This version includes two new levels (the first part of Scene 3 and all of Scene 6), which feature new enemy characters, including two new bosses: Tora (a dog-like "blizzard beast") and Shogun (a robotic samurai), both characters created for the game. Most of the original stages from the arcade version were extended as well and the second half of Scene 3, the parking garage stage, replaces the arcade version's end battle with Bebop and Rocksteady with a battle against the mutated fly form of Baxter Stockman. The NES version of the game was once slated for release on the Wii Virtual Console, but was canceled. The NES port appeared in Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 arcade system.

The NES version featured notable product placement advertising: Pizza Hut logos. The rear cover of the instruction manual provided a coupon for the restaurant, with an expiration date of December 31, 1991.[5]

Home computers[edit]

The computer ports of the arcade game were released by Image Works and ported by Probe Software in 1991 for the ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, PC and Commodore 64. The title was changed to Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: The Coin Op in the European versions.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus[edit]

The arcade version of Ninja Turtles is included as a hidden bonus game in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, but with altered music and most of the voice clips edited out. The game is unlocked by finding an antique in Stage 9-1; the antique turns out to be the original arcade machine.[6]

Xbox Live Arcade[edit]

An Xbox Live Arcade version of the game was released under the name TMNT 1989 Classic Arcade on March 14, 2007, published by Ubisoft and ported by Digital Eclipse.[7] The game was priced at 400 Microsoft Points.[7] Like other classic arcade games on the Xbox 360 platform, portions of the original arcade game were emulated with network code and other new features added. Players could earn achievements as well as play 2-4 player co-op (both online and offline). Unlike the unlockable in Battle Nexus, this rerelease retains the music and voices of the 1989 arcade game.

Arcade1up reissue[edit]

In 2019, the game was rereleased as a replica arcade cabinet for home use by manufacturer Arcade1up.[8] The reissue is nearly identical to the original, however there are a few changes; the opening is performed by a different artist, you do not need to insert quarters to play, and Konami's name on the arcade marquee is replaced by Nickelodeon's.[8]


Review scores
Famitsu26/40 (NES)[9]
GamePro23/25 (NES)[10]

In Japan, Game Machine listed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on their September 1, 1990 issue as being the fourth most-successful table arcade unit of the year.[11]

Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave the Famicom (NES) version of the game a 26 out of 40 score.[9]

British gaming magazine The One reviewed the home computer versions (Amiga, Atari ST, DOS) of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles under the British title, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, calling it "a pretty poor interpretation of a pretty poor yet popular subject. Every one of the levels is too easy to guarantee more than a week's interest, particularly because the opponents' intelligence is so predictable and your own moves so limited." The One criticises Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles scrolling, stating that the "Music and sound effects are jolly enough, but the cartoon-style graphics are let down by slow and jerky scrolling." The One concludes by stating that the game "lacks depth and imagination".[12]

Zzap! reported on the game after it appeared at Amusement Trades Exhibition International, calling it a "great coin-op which is best in four player mode."[13] Time's Jared Newman named to his list of "14 Important Arcade Games Not Available for iPhone or iPad", citing the game's pioneering 4-player simultaneous play.[14]

GamesRadar ranked it the 25th best NES game made. The staff attributed the Ninja Turtles' continued success to the game and praised its visuals, audio, and combat system.[15]

The Xbox Live Arcade digital version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sold 984,271 units on the Xbox 360 console, as of 2011.[16]


  1. ^ Japanese: ティーンエイジ・ミュータント・ニンジャ・タートルズ 〜スーパー亀忍者〜 Hepburn: Tīneiji Myūtanto Ninja Tātoruzu: Sūpā Kame Ninja


  1. ^ "Around the Route". Cash Box. December 23, 1989.
  2. ^ http://ca.ign.com/blogs/ledjar/2014/01/13/every-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtle-game-by-konami-1989-2005-review-dubious-gaming
  3. ^ "Hardcore Gaming 101: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". www.hardcoregaming101.net. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  4. ^ "Retro Game of the Day! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game". Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  5. ^ Beckerman, Marty. "A COMPLETE HISTORY OF TMNT PIZZA PRODUCT PLACEMENT". MTV.com. MTV.com. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus Cheats". www.gamesradar.com. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  7. ^ a b Sinclair, Brendan (2007-03-06). "Ninja Turtles headed to Live Arcade". GameSpot. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  8. ^ a b https://ign.com/articles/2019/12/16/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtle-arcade1up-cabinet-review
  9. ^ a b "T.M.N.T. ミュータント ニンジャ タートルズ [ファミコン] / ファミ通.com". www.famitsu.com. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  10. ^ Arcade, Johnny (December 1990). "Nintendo ProView: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game" (PDF). GamePro. pp. 106–108.
  11. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 387. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 September 1990. p. 21.
  12. ^ Houghton, Gordon; Hamza, Kati (February 1991). "Green Grosser". The One. No. 29. emap Images. p. 23.
  13. ^ "ATEI Show Report." ZZAP! March 1990. p.39.
  14. ^ Newman, Jared (February 24, 2012). "14 Important Arcade Games Not Available for iPhone or iPad". Time. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
  15. ^ "Best NES Games of all time". GamesRadar. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  16. ^ Langley, Ryan (January 20, 2012). "Xbox Live Arcade by the numbers - the 2011 year in review". Gamasutra. UBM Technology Group. Retrieved 29 April 2020.

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