The many incarnations of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael are well known to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans of all ages partially thanks to the team's many video game titles. Starting with a Nintendo Entertainment System game released by Konami alter-ego Ultra Games and spanning all the way to a Wii title developed by Ubisoft, the turtles have enjoyed a long and varyingly successful video gaming career. Hardcore Gaming 101 has a massive article that explores each game in the franchise from the popular arcade games to the obscure Game Boy sequels to the modern revitalization of the property for today's consoles. It's fascinating stuff even if you're not a fan.
In October of 1989 across all arcades in North America and Europe, the game that would solidify Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles's place in gaming and set the standard for the beat-em-up genre going forward was released. The apt titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles allowed players to take control of the four mutant teenagers at the same time, leading to awesome mayhem and lifelong memories. It was released several months later in Japan, and was the first TMNT affiliated product to actually bear its original name there.
The big selling point of this game is precisely what it should be, the ability to play as all four brothers at the same time. With three friends, there was guaranteed melee to be found in the game with non stop action and interactive environments. Numerous elements were put into the game to make usefulness of the cooperative nature of the game, uniting the players together in their cause. Enemies now consist exclusively of foot soldiers and other Dimension X beings recognizable from the cartoon series, and they are a clever bunch themselves. The Foot soldiers act together, often sneaking up behind the turtle to hold him down while another Foot scores some free strikes to the beak. This calls for the other players to come to the rescue, helping out their "brother" in need and have their backs at all times. Players are free to join in at any time into the game by inserting coins to the machine.
I didn't really follow the turtles when I was a kid, but I wound up playing some of the games in the series thanks to friends excited about picking up a copy of the home version of the aforementioned arcade game or the home version of the arcade sequel, Turtles In Time. I honestly had no idea that so many Turtles games had been produced. We talk a lot about annual sequels come hell or high water, but Konami and the other companies that licensed the property over the years must have been the first to raise that practice to a true art form. After reading this article, I understand how the market suffers from turtle fatigue every few years.