Please support Game Informer. Print magazine subscriptions are less than $2 per issue


Six TMNT Games Worth Playing And Two You Should Totally Avoid

by Brian Shea on May 24, 2016 at 12:15 PM

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has a long history with gaming. From our earliest memories of avoiding electrified seaweed and cheesing Donatello’s bō during boss fights to our more recent unfortunate journeys through games that accompanied the TV shows and films, these heroes in a half shell have been ever-present within the gaming landscape.

Over the course of the multitude of titles that have released under the TMNT moniker, we’ve seen some truly fantastic titles. Unfortunately, for every awesome TMNT game, there have been multiple mediocre or awful releases. If you’re looking to sink your teeth into the TMNT games on offer, here are the ones you should stick to.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist (Genesis)

Hyperstone Heist is often forgotten when it comes to lists of the most beloved games starring the Turtles, thanks in large part to how close to Turtles in Time on SNES its release fell. Not only was it visually similar to Turtles in Time, but it even takes full sections of that game. Still, the gameplay is sound, and Hyperstone Heist served as a strong Turtles in Time alternative for those who only owned a Genesis.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES)

Tournament Fighters was a strange addition to the TMNT library when it released between 1993 and 1994 across the NES, SNES, and Genesis, but it proved to be a fun fighting game that borrowed some key elements from the Street Fighter franchise. The NES version is markedly worse than either the SNES or Genesis versions, but each version was unique. The SNES edition is widely considered to be the best, however, as it combined better graphics with a stronger and more balanced character roster, as well as better controls thanks to the four face-button layout of the SNES controller. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Game Boy)

Taking the Turtles on the go via Nintendo’s first handheld, Fall of the Foot Clan was full of smart level design and brought with it an A-list cast of adversaries. From Bebop and Rocksteady to Krang and Shredder, fighting through the biggest and baddest foes the Turtles know as any of the four brothers is a lot of fun, especially when you consider the technical limitations of the Game Boy the game overcame. Though it hasn’t aged as well as the other games on this list thanks to the platform it’s on, it’s worth a look for players who are truly looking to dig into the best the TMNT game franchise has to offer.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NES)

The Manhattan Project brought NES players some of the best two-player co-op to ever appear on the platform. In addition to that, it was a great side-scrolling beat-‘em-up for those who hadn’t yet upgraded to the SNES. With great tie-ins to the film that had just released, The Secret of the Ooze, The Manhattan Project struck a strong balance between great gameplay and fan service.

On the next page, we look at our two favorite Ninja Turtle games, as well as the ones you should avoid at all costs.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)

Chasing after Shredder as he flees with April O’Neil and Splinter has never been so much fun. Side-scrolling action at its best, TMNT ranked among Konami’s other games like X-Men and The Simpsons as the main attractions of the arcade in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. With each turtle having a unique skill set and attacks, you never felt better equipped to take on the huge cast of bosses. The game is so beloved that it received a brief revival in 2007 when Ubisoft rereleased the title on Xbox Live Arcade. Unfortunately, it was delisted when the TMNT license changed hands from Ubisoft to Activision. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade/SNES)

When Turtles in Time released in arcades in 1991, it quickly took the place of its predecessor as one of the go-to co-op games for friends with pockets full of quarters. The game took nearly everything the TMNT arcade game from 1989 did to the next level by injecting better graphics, more distinct movesets, bigger boss fights, and an outstanding soundtrack. Even better, the home release on SNES a year later didn’t feel too neutered and was still enjoyable for fans of the arcade version. In fact, to make up for some visual and audio changes, the home console version adds new enemies and bosses. The game was the subject of a remake in 2009 with Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, but due to some design decisions, including the lack of jump-in/jump-out multiplayer, it was not popular among fans or critics.


The games haven’t always been great, however. Following its strong run in the ‘90s, the TMNT franchise has turned out a series of middling action games. While you’d be alright playing most of those games, two stuck out as games that you should avoid at all costs.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare (DS)

Full of tedious combat, boring level design, and bland touchscreen minigames, Mutant Nightmare on DS was far from the action game fans desired. Mutant Nightmare also released on consoles, but that version didn’t fare much better. Konami showed that the Ninja Turtles series of games was far from its glory days when the publisher first took over in the ‘80s. It’s unfortunate that this was the publisher’s final game with the license; it would have been nice to have the publisher behind all of the great TMNT games to go out on top with the license.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (PS3, 360, PC)

When it comes to TMNT games (or even games in general), you can’t do much worse than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. In our review, former editor Dan Ryckert called it, “terrible in every way,” and he’s not exaggerating. There might be a redeemable game somewhere beneath the issues, but the laundry list of experience-destroying glitches makes that impossible to find. Invisible walls pop out of nowhere, enemies you need to defeat to progress fail to spawn, characters have different conversations at the same time, and objects clip through the world to make it an awe-inspiring technical disaster that should have probably never released in the first place.


Which TMNT games do you look back on fondly? Which ones did you find disappointing? Let us know in the comments section!