Arcade1Up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet Review

Turtle Power!

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The people at Arcade1Up are not just creating “retro cabinets” oh no! They are creating TIME MACHINES!!! (Read my Arcade1Up PAC-MAN story). Standing in front of these beautiful machines will transport you back in time, a time where the game you are about to play wasn’t a ROM file or a game you could play on a home console. Hell, even when that was possible they were always missing features and never felt right.

In my opinion, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet is the best Arcade1Up has produced thus far. Like the original cabinet which was released in the glorious year of 1989 (Tim Burton’s Batman in theaters, Nintendo’s Gameboy released) you can play all four turtles at the same time via the four joystick setup. This was an amazing feature and offered an immersive arcade experience. I remember my 13-year-old self running with a pocket full of quarters to the only vacant joystick (Donatello). I dropped my quarter in the slot, gave a quick nod to the guys standing on opposite sides of me and began kicking some shell!

Arcade1Up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet takes me back to that exact time but now swaps out the randos with my wife and kids. The cabinet includes two games:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 

Turtles in Time

The cabinet is wrapped with the original arcade artwork including the beautiful green trimming. This trimming really stands out since none of the prior cabinets included such features and is something the community has really been asking for. Another new addition is the stereo speakers. These 2 speakers are installed in the underboard of the marquee. The volume switch has been replaced with the much needed and requested volume slider. Now we can find that sweet spot instead of the off, loud & LOUDER! Options.

Sadly the only highly requested feature missing is a backlit marquee. However, I did see a micro USB port on the PCB when assembling so maybe this could be used for a future backlit marquee release. Regardless, it’s not a deal-breaker and if you really want this feature there are a few 3rd party outlets selling them. This cabinet is being sold exclusively from Walmart here in the states and is bundled with a TMNT themed riser.

For those familiar with my work here at the Koalition also know that I’m a panelist on the Throwdown Podcast and can be seen with a couple of Arcade1Up cabinets behind me. I mention this because I was never a fan of the risers, therefore, those cabinets are standing on their own 45.8″ H. I enjoy the convenience of swiveling my chair around and playing one of them without having to stand up. This also works out great for a 2nd player sitting on a stool/chair.

However, if I wanted the full experience of playing this cabinet and needed 3 other players, there was no way we would all fit comfortably on stools/chairs while playing. So I gave in and assembled the riser. I think the folks at Aracde1Up were aware of this which explains why only a cabinet + riser bundle was released. The riser boosts the cabinet to 57.8″ H and we had a blast. I’m now officially a fan of the cabinet riser setup, so much so that in the latest episode of Throwdown you can see I have placed my Street Fighter 2 champions edition cabinet on a riser.

Both games look, feel and play like their original counterparts. There is one noticeable difference that some may have an issue with and that’s with the TMNT theme song. It is not the original from the arcade or the cartoon series and has been re-recorded. I’m assuming this was done due to licensing issues but again the version on this cabinet is fine. Plus this game does have the original recording of PIZZA POWER” for Turtles in Time. This awesome track was not included in the SNES port.

The 17’ inch LCD screen appears to be well calibrated for each title. During my four-player gaming session with both titles, I did not experience any slowdowns or other performance issues. I was also pleased to see there were no viewing issues when playing as Leo & Rafael who are on opposite ends of this wide control deck. The joysticks are color-coded to match the respective turtle. Of course, this does not apply for Michelangelo whose joystick + buttons are yellow, not orange. This was also the case in the original arcade cabinet. There were many rumors on why he had yellow, not orange and I’ll just go with the consensus which is the creators of the cabinet thought that over time Rafael’s red buttons would fade and look orange which could confuse the players.

Arcade1Up also included a few new features that are not widely known unless you read the manual. 

  1. Holding Leonardo’s start button for 5 seconds will return you to the games select menu.
  2. Holding Michelangelo’s start button for 5 seconds  will reset the game you are playing
  3. Holding Donatello’s start button for 5 seconds will restart the level you are currently playing
  4. Holding Rafael’s start button for 5 seconds will skip forward to the next level

When Arcade1Up announced this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet, I had no doubt this would be a must-have for both retro gamers and TMNT enthusiasts. The cabinet is well crafted and a thing of beauty. I’m sure I speak for a large majority when saying I never thought I would one day own a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet. The people at Arcade1Up get it. They are one of us and like us, they want to relive the experience of playing some of the best arcade games in their original cabinet form.

This review was based on Arcade1Up’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet which I purchased at Walmart.

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Adam Vale Contributor
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