My Top 100: #68 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

1990 – Ultra and Konami (Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Arcade, Commodore 64, NES, PC, ZX Spectrum, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)


My childhood was defined by four things; video games, baseball, ocean liners, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

I could get pretty obsessive about whatever really struck me as fascinating.  Games were obviously fun to learn about because I had so much fun playing them, and baseball was cool because I played it, had a few stats books and tried to learn everything about every MLB player and team.  As for ocean liners, seeing those black and white images of the floating architectural marvels, and reading up on the various stories they all had, was quite haunting to me at the time.

I was still just a kid, however.  I needed that link to other kids in the playground, something I could actually talk about, or to play along with friends.  I couldn’t play with other kids and say “I’LL BE THE EMPRESS OF IRELAND, YOU CAN BE THE LUSITANIA!!!  BOOOOOMMMM!  CRASSHHHH!”

Enter TMNT.  I never missed an episode, I had a ton of action figures, and so many recesses were spent pretending to be Raphael…  everyone wanted to be Leonardo, but I always wanted to be Raphael.  I just thought he was the cooler turtle.

The Turtles had already tested the video game waters with the first TMNT released by Ultra in 1989.  My good buddy Josh had it, and though it was a pretty fun game, it wasn’t based on the show.  The mood was a bit too dark, and very few characters from the cartoon made an appearance.  I had played The Arcade Game on a ferry ride to Newfoundland, and THAT was a blast…  why couldn’t we have that one on the NES?



Finally!  The Turtles theme in glorious 8-bit form!  Don’t get me wrong; the music from the first game is classic in its own right.  Still, hearing that familiar tune coming from the game was just…  well, it was quite literally music to my ears.

Though the graphics were a bit of a downgrade from the arcade version, we were just glad to be killing actual Foot Soldiers.  Gone were the bikers with chainsaws, dudes made of fire, and purple pyjama-wearing people.  We could also both play at the same time, which definitely upped the replay value of it.

Instead of going on and on about why it’s on my list, I’ll just say that it was an incredibly fun and simple beat ’em up with great music.  Done.  The end.  That’s it!

Also, go here for a slightly more epic TMNT II story.


Me and Josh as Ninja Turtles one Halloween, with me karate chopping the Easter Bunny (Josh’s sister) out of the picture.

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