In the late 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were reaching the height of their popularity. The edgy comic book characters took on a new life as it was turned into a massively popular kid friendly cartoon TV series. This naturally led to an extensive merchandising frenzy that unsurprisingly included video games. The one we’re focusing on today is the first TMNT arcade release, simply known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game.This beautifully animated beat ’em up was released by Konami in 1989, who had been dabbling in the genre for a few years by this point. TMNT fans were thrilled, and arcade-goers were floored by the fluid gameplay and stunning visual represenation of the popular cartoon. You play as one of four turtles, each wielding their respective weapons, as they make their way through five levels in a campaign to save their reporter friend, April O’Neil from the evil Shredder. The cabinet supports up to four simultaneous players, an impressive feat for its time. Controls are simple but effective, comprised of only two buttons per player: jump and attack. You’ll encounter plenty of foot soldiers with varying attacks, conveniently color coded so you know what to expect. And plenty of familiar foes show up in the form of boss fights, including Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, and of course Shredder. Pressing both simultaenously results in a more powerful attack. A healthy amount of level variety places players in urban settings, underground sewers, and even a moving skateboard level.The following year, Konami released a version for the NES known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. This highly successful port featured two extra levels not seen in arcades. While gameplay between the versions is not 1:1, it was welcome change of pace from the first TMNT game on the NES – a game known for its brutal difficulty. Naturally, when Digital Eclipse released 2022’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, both the arcade game and its NES port are included in the list of games.