Donatello’s video game appearances (most of them anyways), ranked

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news in the world of TMNT. If you haven’t, move on.

Go away.

Go read something by Tom Hall. His piece on Star Wars games on the N64 is awesome. Or go listen to my podcast.

OK, you’ve been warned.

Donatello, the beloved member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, died. Rocksteady split open his shell and everything. Tragic.



But then in issue 45, he’s still alive. It’s comic books, the art form where Death is at her weakest, so who knows that his future holds.

So this Easter, while you hold a candlelight vigil for Donatello’s health, I’m going to do what I always do around here when someone of great importance dies: Rank their video game appearances!

This list strictly looks at Donatello and his role in the games, not necessarily the quality of the game he appears in.

7. TMNT: Tournament Fighters: I hated this game. I refuse to rank it any higher.


One of the worst rentals I ever did. The fighting is uninspired and lacks the polish that Street Fighter, Eternal Champions, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown, World Heroes and Mortal Kombat had.

6. TMNT: The Arcade Game (and nearly every turtles game that appeared on Game Boy, handheld, etc): Who is your favorite turtle?? It doesn’t matter, because they’re all the same! Same reach, same speed, same strength.


Great game…but character sprites are the only difference between the turtles.

5. TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project: At least the turtles are differentiated somewhat in their special attacks, although Donatello’s is the weakest of the bunch. He does this Sonic the Hedgehog looking spinball while holding out his staff and hitting enemies. The other turtles special moves are much more effective, especially Leonardo, who basically rips off Mike Haggar by standing in one place and spinning around with his swords sticking out.


My 9th birthday present!

4. TMNT IV: Turtles in Time: Donatellos’ special attack has the most reach (hold on, we’re getting to that soon). I personally like the original arcade version better, but Donatello is more useful in this game than the previous game. Still, while each turtle has their own special attack, they are mostly identical, which is a bummer considering the comics and tv show did so much to give them their own unique personality.


I’m not in love with this game the way others. I personally think Hyperstone and Manhattan Project are better games.


3. TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist: It’s nearly the same game as Turtles in Time, but better! Donatello’s importance is the same as Turtles IV, but I like Hyperstone Heist’s dedicated run button and increased difficulty.


Still can’t figure out why Shredder wanted that stone.


2. TMNT (GBA): This might be the best retro turtles brawler conceived. What’s great about this game is that each of the turtles are given their own stages, which gives them a more unique feel than the cookie-cutter characters that appeared in previous games. Plus, Donatello gets his own hang-gliding mission. That’s the coolest thing in any turtles video game.


Flying Donatello. Easily the best game in this list.


1. TMNT (NES). I made the joke that IDW was gonna have to reset their NES when Donatello died. You cannot win this game without Donatello. His attacks have the most reach of any of the turtles, and while Leonardo’s sword slice is a better all-around attack (destroys enemies above you instead of just in front), you won’t be defeating Shredder and the technodrome without Donatello. Oddly, while this is the worst NES turtles game, it somehow has the most playability and holds up better than half the NES library. I think this is because the arcade versions of the beat-em-up games are available, turning the NES beat-em-ups into Curio pieces.  Despite other games on this list being much better than this one, Donatello’s importance to completing the game puts this at number one easily.

(TMNT) Rocksteady

You could just sit here and attack Rocksteady. Super easy fight.