Green machines

Game Boy Advance, Ubisoft

For the most part, the face of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games hasn’t changed over the past two decades. Always predominantly button mashers, the four heroes have continually battled Shredder and his gang of ninjas to their demise. While the tried and true is appreciated, the children who grew up with the original games have grown to expect more. A more advanced game play and an increased level of difficulty don’t exactly lend themselves to a side-scroller with simple controls. This is why TMNT for the Game Boy Advance excels beyond other current titles featuring the green machines. At the core, this game remains a button masher, but the ability to purchase items, level characters and create combo-style attacks brings some flare. The story gives a “behind the scenes” look at the events featured in the new Turtles movie, which may account for why the game can be easily played through in a few hours. Trophies awarded for completing certain tasks and a set of mini games give the title some added replay value. Unlike the next-gen versions, there is enough old-school fighting to please fans of the franchise. Ubisoft hasn’t re-invented the wheel, but the shiny rims are a welcome change.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Arcade (1989)
Xbox 360 - Live Arcade, Konami

The original Turtles arcade game, which first gobbled up allowances in 1989, has made its way to the Xbox Live Arcade. Adults won’t find the waves of Foot Soldiers challenging. In fact the game can be completed in 20 minutes. You’ve played the game so many times you know where each enemy will appear. But the adventure with the heroes in a half shell is fun for the same reason it was back in 1989: The simple button masher allows a group of friends to waste time and have a few laughs. For only five dollars, how can nostalgia go wrong?

Xbox 360, Ubisoft

Evidently, the most important thing a ninja can do is jump. And jump. And jump some more. Unfortunately, in the first next-gen Ninja Turtles game, your time is spent jumping and not fighting. It’s a shame because when you do get the chance to throw down, the enemies are piled on in a Dynasty Warriors fashion, and it’s really a joy to beat them down with each of the unique fighting styles that the Turtles bring. The graphics match the TMNT movie nicely, but the frustration of constantly falling to your doom because of bad camera angles is unforgivable.