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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time – SNES

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time – SNES

Turtles_in_Time_(SNES_cover)Platform: Super Nintendo – SNES 9X Emulator

Developer: Konami

Publisher: Konami

Release Date (NA): August 1992

Genre: Beat ’em up

Nerd Rating: 8 out of 10

The side scrolling 2D beat ’em up can probably be considered a lost art these days. The revolution in tournament fighting that was Street Fighter II, and then the glut of competitive fighters that followed, helped phase out the genre during the mid – 90’s. I will freely admit that I’m one of those gamers that prefers the competitive fighter over the beat ’em up, but one game that stands out in my rose colored nostalgic memories of my youth was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. Maybe it was the carefree hours spent playing through with my best bud combined with my childhood love of the Turtles, but man, I thought this game was pretty awesome at the time.

You can throw baddies at the screen in a cool display of mode 7 effects

You can throw baddies at the screen in a cool display of mode 7 effects

So, with my feeble aging memories, and a trusty emulator, I decided to once more take the trip through time to find out if Turtles in Time was as much fun as I thought it was 22 years ago, or if my fondness of the title was nothing more than an aging gamer grasping at the innocence of youth.

The game starts off with the Turtles arch-nemesis Shredder stealing the Statue of Liberty on live television. The Turtles, swept up in a wave of patriotic emotion, decide to take it back. They pursue the ninja warlord through a few levels until they are lured into a time-rift where Shredder hopes they will remain trapped for…well, all of time. Our heroes have to fight their way back from pre-history, all the way into the future in order to stop Shredder, and get back lady Liberty.  It really isn’t much of a plot, and the story that is there only serves as an excuse for the time travel theme of the level design.

Luckily the gameplay makes up for it.



You’re able to select which one of the iconic heroes you want to use, each one having their own strengths and weaknesses.

Leonardo is your average all around character.

Raphael is the fastest, but has the most limited range.

Michaelangelo hits the hardest, but is also the slowest.

Donatello has the most range with that bo staff, but he’s a little bit weaker than Leo.

The game isn’t very complex in its design. You have your attack button and a jump button. Jumping while hitting attack will execute a dive kick. Holding down a direction will allow you to run, and hitting attack at that point will execute a slide move. You can also throw some enemies into the screen, which was a cool way to showcase the SNES’s mode 7 scaling effects. Each Turtle also has a special move that is performed by pressing jump and attack at the same time, the caveat being that using your special move will drain a bit of your life bar. I found it detrimental to helping you get out of a jam and avoided using it throughout my play through.

As is the case in every beat ’em up, the main objective is to go through each of the 9 levels and kick the crap out of everything that gets in your way.teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-4-turtles-in-time-05

It’s a pretty simple game from a simpler time, but it still has a certain charm to it, and quite frankly, it’s still a really fun game.

I liked the little animations that the Turtles have when something happens to them, like getting shocked by a beam of electricity, or getting flattened by a dinosaur in the pre-historic level. The artwork is really expressive and does a great job of conveying the eccentric nature of the Turtles universe. It may not have ended up as the best looking game in the SNES repertoire, but overall, the game has aged very well and still looks nice today.

While the single player experience is fine on its own, Turtles in Time shines brightest when playing through with a friend in co-op mode.  There is a certain intangible quality to sharing the experience with a friend. Perhaps it’s because we think of the Turtles as a collective, instead of just four individuals who happen to fight together. Perhaps that group dynamic triggers a subconscious desire in the player to be a part of a unit as well.

There are a few downsides to the game. For one, it’s a bit short. Only nine levels, plus the final fight with Shredder at the end. You can probably run through the game in less than thirty minutes on the easier difficulty. I’d also like to have seen a bit more variety in enemy types. Let’s just say that you will be fighting a LOT of Foot Soldiers. I also thought that they could have done a bit more with the time traveling theme of the game. Even something as simple as dressing a couple of those Foot Soldiers in cowboy hats or space helmets could have enhanced the concept of time travel a bit.

Also, and this is me being a bit nit-picky, I know the plot doesn’t really matter in this game, but it’s never really explained why Shredder stole the Statue of Liberty. Was he trying to add to his personal collection of pilfered artwork? Was it some misguided act of terrorism carried out not in order to achieve a political objective, but to just create fear and chaos among the general public? Or was he just being a jerk? Ultimately an arcade port is not expected to be Shakespeare. However the plot hole is there, and it’s gaping.

These are very forgivable shortcomings though, especially considering the era in which it was developed as well as the limited memory of those early SNES carts.

"You're walking the plank, shell brains." Wait, I said the game wasn't Shakespeare?

“You’re walking the plank, shell brains.” Wait, I said the game wasn’t Shakespeare?

It’s always a joyous occasion when you can revisit a classic from your childhood, and realize that it’s the fond memories you have for it are not just being seen through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, ironically, stands the test of time. It’s still the fun co-op experience that I remember from my youth, as well as a fine example of the glory days of the beat ’em up genre.

It’s worth having in any SNES collection.

Nerd Rating:  8 out of 10

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman

The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
He’s also an actor, a reporter, a pro wrestling connoisseur, and some say he’s a cat whisperer.
If you have any questions or just want to drop me a line, hit me up at
Or follow me on Twitter @DavetheWatchman
You can also game with me!
Look me up on Xbox Live @ DJKhadoken
Or on PlayStation Network @ Eaglevision_dl


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