The game begins with all four Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael, who can be rotated through at any time during gameplay. The turtles are practically identical except for their weapons, which differ in attack speed, range, and damage (e.g. Donatello's bo has the best damage and range, but the worst speed). The player travels through the first 5 levels using an overview map to enter various sewers, warehouses, and other areas which lead to the goal of each level.
Al ..moreong the way the player fights various enemies which range from Foot Soldiers and Rat Kings to bomb dropping-blimps and chainsaw-wielding baddies. In a unique gameplay feature, all of the enemies (excluding mini-boss Bebop and all end-of-level bosses) come in their own unique enemy groups which can change randomly during gameplay. Mini-boss fights occur regularly which consist of the player having to defeat a common enemy to progress through the rest of the stage. In most scenerios, a stronger enemy is involved in the mini-boss fight, however, occasionally a weak enemy may pop up from time to time. Excluding the second stage, every stage concludes with a major boss battle.
Each turtle serves as a life, and there are only 2 continues. Later in the game, the player is given several opportunities to rescue those who have been captured after falling in combat.