April O’Neil, the reporter friend of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is kidnapped by the villainous Shredder and his two goons, Bebop and Rocksteady. The four ninja turtles: Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo fight their way through hordes of Foot Soldiers in order to rescue April. They battle familiar foes such as the mad scientist Baxter Stockman, General Traag from Dimension X and the evil alien brain Krang, up to the final showdown with Shredder himself.
Depending on the version of the game, up to two, three or four players can take part in the action. The game plays like a simplified Double Dragon. While most of the standard Foot Soldier enemies are easily dispatched, some attack with knives or ray guns and are thus more dangerous. At the end of each level, players encounter a boss (or in certain cases two bosses working in tandem, such as Bebop and Rocksteady).
The NES version of the game, renamed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game in the West, features additional content not present in other versions of the game: two new levels (Snowy Central Park and The Dojo), new bosses (including Tora, Shogun and Baxter Stockman as a fly), additional music tracks as well as more variations of Foot Soldiers.