The game's plot is told through cutscenes, featuring voice talent from the latest Ninja Turtles cartoon series.
The one nice thing about TMNT, however, is that it does feature a multiplayer component. You and a friend can pair up against Shredder's forces in the game's story mode, similar to how you could in past TMNT games. Playing the game in two-player is definitely more entertaining than playing alone, but there are some quirks. Periodically, the game's camera can get hung up in certain spots if the two controlled Turtles get too far away from one another, and this can cause some visual problems. Additionally, gameplay becomes much, much easier with a duo, due to the fact that the game doesn't make up for the increased handicap by throwing more enemies at you or anything. Finally, and most depressing of all, the game absolutely screams for four-player capability, considering how much the game is geared as a throwback to previous Turtle titles and the fact that there are four turtle characters.
Aside from the story mode, there are also a couple of other gameplay modes in TMNT. Versus mode is as close as you'll get in this console generation to the 16-bit classic TMNT: Tournament Fighters. In versus mode, you can choose from any of the four Turtles (as well as a number of characters you can unlock in the story mode) and go one-on-one in a straight-up brawl. While this is a nice feature, the game's fighting mechanics don't lend themselves terribly well to a fighting game-styled match, and, generally, the fight is over pretty quickly. There's also an unlockable challenge mode, where your goal is to run through a selected level as fast as you can. Challenge is also a nice addition, but it's not terribly interesting after a few plays through.
TMNT's strongest features definitely lie in the graphics department. The game features a fully cel-shaded look--and a great one at that. The models for the Turtles, side characters, and even generic enemies are great, and they include a nice level of detail and vibrant colors. Everything in the game animates very smoothly, and, no matter how many character models are onscreen, the action almost never slows down, save for a few instances when massive explosions go off in the background. The only real down point to the game's visuals is the level environments, which are pretty lacking in any manner of detail and just don't look anywhere near as polished as the character models. There are some other minor quirks here and there, like how enemies will simply spawn out of thin air without anything done to cover this up and like how the effects used to accentuate hits with the big "SMASH!" and "POW!" icons can obscure certain parts of the action, but these little types of problems don't take away from the fact that the game looks pretty great overall.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' graphical style is a vibrant, colorful, cel-shaded look, and it works well with the subject matter.
Less impressive is the game's sound quality, which, despite the roster of voice actors from the TV show, falters in pretty much every other category. During the game, the Turtles will spout off a limited array of catchphrases as they pummel their foes; unfortunately, they also spout the aforementioned catchphrases ridiculously often, meaning you'll be hearing such phrases as "Talk to the feet!" and "Slice and dice!" at a practically constant rate. The game's scant selection of music is decent, though pretty unmemorable, and, as far as in-game effects go (like the catchphrases) there aren't a lot of them, and they repeat--and repeat often.
There are things about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that can be praised. Its graphical style is quite pleasing to look at, and the game certainly deserves points for giving you a multiplayer option (even if it would have been better served in four-player instead of two-player). Unfortunately, the gameplay, though an earnest attempt to mirror its predecessors, is too hollow on its own merits and simply lacks the charm and fun of previous titles. That is not to say the game is a total loss, by any means; younger fans of the new TV series will likely not be swayed by the game's elementary fighting mechanics and should find the storyline entertaining.