Fun Fact: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles won Nintendo Power's “Game of the Year” award in 1989.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was developed during the heyday of the cartoon by the same name, but didn't have the same playful vibe to it. TMNT the game gave players a lot to chew on. World exploration took place from a top-down camera view as the player controlled one of the four titular Turtles, and when they entered a building or sewer grate, the game changed to a side-scroller.
There were six stages in TMNT, which taken together told the usual story of the turtles fighting the evil ninja Shredder and his Foot Clan. On-foot missions were mixed with vehicle segments, most notably in the Turtles' “Party Van,” and if one of the Turtles ran out of health he was not dead, but captured. Players then took control of another Turtle to continue the mission and later could attempt a rescue.