It’s Time For A Good TMNT Video Game

Confession time: I’m a bit of a Ninja Turtles fangirl. I own several boxed sets of DVDs, t-shirts, comics, figurines, and may or may not have won an official TMNT fan art contest at one point in my life (give me a break, I was 14).

But despite all the films, television show adaptations, and various gear and collectibles for nerds like myself to spend money on, I’m struck time and time again at the severe lack of presence the Turtles have in the video game space.

Nearly every platform, both mobile and console-based, has seen a Ninja Turtles game at some point. But not since Turtles in Time has there been a widely-acclaimed great game featuring the green heroes. And since we’ve come a long, long way in video game development since the 1980’s, I’m making the claim that it’s about time we saw the turtles make a comeback to the medium in a big way.

The current generation of consoles has seen multiple Ninja Turtles games, including a TMNT movie tie-in done by Ubisoft, a re-done version of Turtles in Time, and other a brawler-type games looking to capitalize on the Turtle’s beat-em-up arcade-style roots. But the last game released on our current generation consoles was in 2009. It’s 2012 now, people, and I want a good TMNT game before the world ends.

Now, the real question of course, is what would it take to make a great Ninja Turtles game? Multiple games on the downloadable space have proven that it’s difficult to capture the same magic of arcade-style brawlers in this modern day. Games like Castle Crashers or Scott Pilgrim of course, are the obvious exception, but so many others looking to capitalize on this style of gameplay struggle to rise above mediocrity.

I don’t think the Turtles need to return to a brawler-style game. In fact, I don’t want them to return to that genre if they can help it. We’ve played this way time an time again, and the Turtles are no one-trick pony.

So what could they be? No more movie tie ins, please. Especially if they’re planning to attach it to that travesty film Michael Bay is getting his greasy hands on (aliens? Seriously!?). No, movie tie-ins are a danger zone for games, and one that should be avoided if we are to see a strong return of the Turtles.

As much as I don’t want to sound like I’m praising it all the time, the Batman: Arkham series is a fantastic place to borrow elements from. It’s a standalone Batman story with great presentation and smooth gameplay, making it an important high point of the superhero game genre.

Now obviously, the Turtles are not quite as serious or gritty as Batman. Quite the opposite, really. They’re over-the-top, quirky, and more fun than the Dark Knight tries to be. So why not try to capture the best of both worlds here? Give me an open-world New York City where I can be Michaelangelo skating through the sewers, Donatello cruising around and trying out new inventions, Leonardo training and leading the pack, or Raphael hitting the town to bust some bad guy skull with Casey Jones. With the diverse personalities of each turtle, there’s a wide-open range of personalized side quests or missions that could not only vary the gameplay significantly, but also appeal to multiple play styles and gamers the world over.

There are a ton of possibilities for story as well. The turtles have an extensive history in both comics and television that could be drawn from. We could fight the Foot and Shredder, trying to foil whatever plot he’s come up with; deal with Baxter Stockman and his evil inventions; fight Krang and his alien hordes; hell, I wouldn’t even mind a return of Rocksteady and Bebop if it’s handled in the right way. Just keep it lighthearted and fun, returning to the personality of the Turtles that we all fell in love with during the 90’s and 00’s all while delivering some awesome gameplay mechanics.

All I’m saying is this; the Turtles are one of the most beloved franchises that have persisted in popularity for years. It’s time I had the chance to jump into their universe and enjoy it again in the way only a great game lets you. Seriously. We’re way overdue.