[Review] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game (Xbox emulator)


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as a franchise, eluded me. When TMNT rose to fame in the late 80s, I was of the age and headspace where pizza-eating, ninja-fighting reptiles was “kids stuff”. Since, I have paid little attention to TMNT. I am really fresh on the details surrounding the whole backstory, too.

That doesn’t mean I refuse the opportunity to pick up and play a TMNT game if it comes a-knockin’. That opportunity arrived last weekend when the hubs invited me to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game, originally available in coin-operated arcade. Lucky us, we played the game via an arcade emulator installed on the hubs’ original Xbox. Arcade emulators are great: you get to play a game as much as you want without having to drop any quarters!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the Arcade Game is a side-scrolling beat’em up with a simple premise: the four TMNTs have to save their friend, April, from their evil nemesis, Shredder, who has kidnapped her and holed her away in a burning building. You choose which Turtle you want to play (I can’t remember which I chose) and you and your cohort(s) go to town, beating up a posse of characters, mostly ninja warriors who are working for Shredder. It is a typical beat’em up, that was enjoyable at first, but ended on a frustrating note.

When I was a kid, my only real exposure to genuine cabinet arcade games was the Pac-Man arcade table at Peachy’s Pizza Parlour in Sudbury, ON in the 80s. Back then, my sis and I would beg my Mom for two precious quarters so we could play some two-player Pac-Man while waiting for delicious pizza and panzerotti to make it to our table. Of course, anyone familiar with playing cabinet arcade games knows: one quarter is never enough. As we returned to our table, begging our Mom for more quarters, she often remarked how expensive this game was. Pac-Man can be challenging, and of course that is how these games are designed: to be difficult enough so you hardly ever win, but addictive enough to make you drop another quarter and play more.

A similar experience was had with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game. There was no coin dropping here – just gameplay. But, this was once an arcade game, and it was clear that the gameplay was tied into whether you’d continue to drop your next quarter into the slot. The game was fun at first. I remember turning to the hubs and commenting that it was pretty good – I was enjoying it.

But, that feeling didn’t last for the whole game, especially in boss fights. Those were frustrating and seemingly unfair: imagine hitting an enemy repeatedly and they’d receive no damage. You get your ass handed to you, and you die a few times before finally getting a chance to beat the Boss. Doing the math, I could only imagine how many quarters it would have taken back in the day to win against the Bosses in this game. And, Holy Toledo, I’d be rich! Noah’s Arcade from Wayne’s World was onto something…

Wayne's World 2 insulting the sponsor

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game was repetitive and frustrating. I know there are better TMNT games out there.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game


  1. … man, I used to chuck coins at this sucker and then walk away cursing it. Back k again for another installment a week later, too.

    Strange that the memory has a more impressive recollection of those graphics!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s